No Respect I

Why doesn't Laura Sessions Stepp come off it? I read her series on the Rev. George Augustus Stallings {April 29, April 30 and May 1} and was amazed to find, according to her report, that he did nothing good in more than 20 years of service. Now she calls Stallings "a maverick black priest who started his own congregation and took the title of bishop in defiance of church hierarchy" {news story, July 11}.

I am not a follower of Stallings, but I was at his consecration as bishop by the Independent Old Catholics in May. They, like other Eastern rite churches, are as legitimate as the Roman Catholic Church -- and more in tune with today's realities regarding celibacy, marriage of priests, birth control and abortion.

-- Diane M. Brown No Respect II

I strongly condemn The Post for its insensitive and disheartening article "Bush's Grecian Turn" {Style, July 13}.

After referring to the Orthodox ecumenical patriarch, Dimitrios I, as "an old bearded priest from a seedy quarter of old Istanbul," the article states that Dimitrios I happens to be the highest spiritual leader of 250 million Orthodox Christians throughout the world.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I detect a great lack of respect for a very honorable world leader. Such an irreverent description would never be placed on the pope, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. More deference is given to Bishop Stallings and Rev. Jesse Jackson, both of whom have a following that is infinitesimal in comparison. The Orthodox faith is the second largest in the world, following Roman Catholicism.

The irreverent tone of this article is shameful. This is a poor excuse for news coverage.

-- Dianne S. Katsakis Libido of K Street (Cont'd.)

I noticed a striking gender division in the July 14 Free for All responses {"Neo-Puritanism and the Libido of K Street"} to Abigail Trafford's Outlook article "Rise of the Neo-Puritans" {July 8}. In short, all the writers who praised Trafford's article were women; from male writers, there were only varying levels of vitriol.

Perhaps Trafford hit the mark in her observations -- giving those Type A Washington men one more reason to spend a few extra hours in the gym working out their (a)sexual frustrations.

-- Tula A. Connell 'Ignorant,' Not 'Blind'

Larry McMurtry's op-ed column of July 13, "Blind Criticism," was not about eyesight but about not being informed before criticizing; therefore, it should have been titled "Ignorant Criticism."

Whether one is informed has nothing to do with visual acuity. Visually impaired people can read large print, talking books or Braille at the same speed that others read regular print. In addition, audio input-output devices for personal computers let blind people access and manipulate information as well as the general population.

The real problem for people with visual and other impairments is often not the impairment itself, but the prejudices that other people have about it.

-- Rodger Knaus 'The Church Is There'

Mary McGrory {"Adoption's Lasting Anguish," Outlook, July 8} for perpetuating the myth that Cardinal John O'Connor and other Catholic bishops are only interested in punishing those who "tolerate abortion." "Obviously," McGrory wrote, "he should be offering help to women who would like to keep their babies."

Catholic charities, and the Catholic bishops, in particular, have offered to support financially, legally and emotionally, any woman in a difficult pregnancy (and have, with millions of dollars spent annually). In his remarks at the April 28 pro-life rally in Washington, O'Connor challenged the media to print his long-standing offer to assist any woman -- regardless of age, race or creed, no questions asked, whether they choose to keep their baby or give the baby up for adoption. I've never seen the media report these remarks.

McGrory should not imply that the Catholic Church is uninterested in helping women in their time of need. The church is there for any woman who wants more for her child than death.

-- Roseanna Gannon Sugar, Refined

An article on the economic summit, "Statement Aimed at Farm Subsidies Impasse" {July 12}, does an excellent job of putting forth the complexities involved with attempts to end inequities in farm subsidies.

However, in using sugar as an example of subsidies, the article makes the mistake of comparing the price of unrefined raw sugar at the world "dump" price of almost 15 cents (not 9 cents) at a Caribbean port with that of the retail price of refined sugar in a supermarket in Washington.

That's the same as comparing the cost of a ton of steel with the price of a new automobile.

-- Carolyn Cheney The writer is chairman of the American Sugar Alliance.