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A friend indeed? (reader forum).

I do not share your optimism concerning John Ashcroft's proposed enforcement of hate-crimes laws in the case of the murders of Laura Winans and Julianne Williams in Shenandoah National Park [At Issue, May 14].

Ashcroft is again using a convenient minority as a hostage shield in order to deflect the severe criticism directed at him as he shreds the Constitution and Bill of Rights and allows the remnants to be used as wipes for the hands of the FBI as uncharged detainees are interrogated incommunicado in secret locations without benefit of legal counsel. Does it sound like sincere reverence for the Constitution when you consider that this leading member of the Assemblies of God cult, at his Senate confirmation, pledged to uphold all laws of the United States, even those with which he disagrees--yet during his elected-office period in Missouri, he repeatedly used his position to decry homosexuality as a sin and voted against any pro-gay bill? When interviewing men as potential employees, he would ask them if they had sexual relations in the "normal way." Does this sound like a man who is sincerely interested in equality for all U.S. citizens, either gay people or people of Middle Eastern backgrounds?

Why is his Jekyll-Hyde switch now being lauded by you as a plus for gay equality under the law? Ashcroft puts his personal interpretation of religious law before any civil law. Is the gay movement in this country so cowed by the appointed Bush junta that it must grovel before this despicable religious tyrant who is the Aaron to Bush's Moses?

James Nimmo, Oklahoma City, Okla.
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Author:Nimmo, James
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Date:Jun 11, 2002
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