Ask Dr. Salvo
November 9, 1993
Here is a piece of irate instruction to the ignorant that deserves to see the light of day. It recently surfaced on your desk only a month or so post arrival, and I picked it up along with some choice biscuits left by a thoughtful boss. I don't often volunteer my opinion, but I think this old friend of yours holds some views that Harbinger readers would like to share with the general public. Herewith a sound thrashing from Charlie H. to The American Family Association Journal.
The American Family Association Journal
P.O. Drawer 2440
Tupelo, MS 38803
I seldom write letters but feel I must let you know that there are Christians that do not see evil in most TV shows and publications as you do. I resent your publication trying to impose your narrow minded beliefs on others. The suggestions that we boycott many of America's corporations because they do not subscribe to your narrow beliefs and opinion are ridiculous. What gives you the right to tell others what they should watch and read? I personally enjoy many of the programs you say are evil and worse and I resent your trying to take them off the air.
Your interpretations of the Bible to fit your extreme view border on dishonesty. If the TV shows are so bad why don't you simply not watch them or not allow your children to watch them. You will not be able to shield your children from reality all their lives.
There are many Christians that believe that a woman's right to choose to have an abortion is no one's business except hers. She should not have to ask you, the state, the police or anyone else what to do with her own body. If you don't want to have an abortion don't have one but do not continue to try to force others to believe as you do. What makes America great is that we have freedom to believe or not believe, have abortions or not have them, travel where we want to without restrictions plus many other freedoms that we enjoy. Believe what you want but don't force your beliefs on others.
I know this letter will have little effect on your belief but I just want you to know that all Christians do not share your beliefs. Please try to be tolerant of others' desires and beliefs.
P.S. Remember in our history over-zealous Christians killed many innocent people because they didn't subscribe to their beliefs. Look how many thousands were killed by the Spanish in the name of the Church in Mexico. Many of your kind of Christians are justifying murder of doctors who perform abortions and are slyly saying it is all right because it saved babies. Who knows what would happen if your kind were put in charge of the government? We possibly would have a repeat of the Spanish Inquisition.
Of course I am in total agreement with everything you say in your justly indignant letter. For years I have observed you and enjoyed your witty performance as the devout right wing Republican you seemed to be, while I tried to defend the liberal views you found so silly.
However, as the Nixon-Reagan years wore on, then the Bush years with perhaps a more erosive and anesthetic effect -- your position became more difficult to defend. Your pro-Nixon-Reagan-Bush speeches became more ambiguous, humorous, and tentative. I thought I could spy a crypto-liberal hiding behind that elephant. Only pride and shame kept that fellow from crossing the line and joining up with us liberals quite openly.
Take this smoldering epistle of yours, for example: In the first paragraph you come down hard on the side of Article One of the Bill of Rights. "Article One: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
The men who wrote this were concerned that the new government not behave like the old ones, and not interfere in the areas of people's lives that were precious and sacred to them. They could contemplate the European and British despotisms they had fled from, and also the tyrannical theocracies of New England. (For instance the Puritans, who believed fiercely in religious freedom, but only for Puritans!) The framers of this Constitution would have little in common with the righteous citizens of today who want to intrude upon public education with daily prayers of their own persuasion. Nor would the founding fathers show any sympathy toward a similar cohort of yahoos and chuckleheads who wish to abolish Halloween festivities in the belief that they are all manifestation of satanism and are all dedicated to the Devil. Here is a last effort to instruct the roundheads and Know Nothings: Halloween means "Holy Evening," a feast dedicated to the memories of all the loved ones we have lost, and to prayers for the repose of their souls. "Ogni Santi," All Saints in Italian, means the same festival, and is celebrated in some churches by all the families having a picnic in the graveyard where their dear ones are buried -- to reminisce and give thanks for the good years together; to let the hovering spirits know they are still loved, admired, and remembered. So far, no sign of Satan. Ignorance is no disgrace but the promulgation of it by people who wish to remain uninformed is to be deplored. Still, we must let the anti-satanists have their say -- but their say does not include allowing them to abolish Halloween at school or church. It is an ancient holyday (holiday) and should be respected and enjoyed. (There is no good reason at this point to examine the minor pagan intrusions such as jack o' lantern's, skellingtons, skulls, etc. They do not detract and I'm sure the spirits get a laugh from them!)
In your third paragraph you take up the cudgels in defense of Article Four: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized."
Your statement of the case puts it quite clearly: "Hands off -- it is her body, and she can treat it or deal with it as she will." That is, "She must be allowed to be secure in her person, her house, the gynecology clinic, or whatever."
Finally, your letter adumbrates the spirit of Article Nine: "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." In other words the Constitution need not address the issue of abortion and the issue of choice. The woman has those rights by virtue of her citizenship, and she can assume she does until proven otherwise in the Court.
Charlie, I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to publish some of your immortal prose and air your civilized views -- but also to suggest that all unbeknownst to yourself you have become a Libertarian. You are now part of the 3rd largest political party, with names on the ballots in 50 states. Welcome abroad! P.S. I will also welcome letters pro and contra the Libertarians.
November 9, 1993