From a sermon June 7 by Dr. A. Knighton Stanley, minister of Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington:

In our community we have seen leadership, those at the top, victimized by what I call "the pornography of acrimony, innuendo and allegation." I find it extremely distasteful to deal with allegations. . . .

It is painfully and dangerously lonely at Washington's top, where cloak- and-dagger forces lurk in dark corners to assassinate your character and beat up on you night and day. How can I tell my children to aspire to Washington's political top when it is so dangerous and painful and destructive for anyone to be there? Our future as a city is in question, unless someone counsels against the "pornography of acrimony, innuendo and allegations." It offends the sensibilities of the best of us in a city as promising as this. Selling papers and increasing listeners and viewers is not our most important product. Don't play us cheap.

Recently, at a high school graduation, I sat by the wife of a local politician, who has been the constant victim of "allegations" generously leaked to the press. . . . Great tears came to her eyes. My heart was touched by her pain, and I cried too. Between the tears, I managed to say to her, "I'm getting old, I cry at graduations," hoping to relieve her embarrassment. But most of our tears had nothing to do with graduation and age. They had to do with human suffering and grief. While I cried with her, both of us knew she cried alone. Her cry came from a deeper level of pain.

Success is lonely. When one reaches the top, one stands desperately alone. . . .