Magazine | August 19, 2013, Issue


Sins and Commandments in Language

I was thinking that I was the only one bothered by the all-encompassing use of “inappropriate” to avoid an honest confession of sin. Even my pastor, a straight-talking preacher, succumbed to referring to a particular sinful action as an “inappropriate” one. Kevin D. Williamson wrote just about everything that I had been thinking with excellent examples (“The Inappropriate ‘Inappropriate,’” July 15).  Part of this misuse is prompted by the modern humanist view that there is no such thing as sin — wickedness, evil words or actions prohibited by the Ten Commandments. But the Ten Commandments have themselves become inappropriate, and this is one reason for our moral decline.

Theodore Siek

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Grand Old Anabaptists

I was taken aback when I came across your description of Anabaptists as “tolerated oddball fanatics” (The Week, August 5). Although a Jew myself, and therefore not up to date on intra-Christian animosities, I live in a part of the world heavily populated by Mennonites, and I can assure you that they are for the most part decent, hardworking citizens, and almost exclusively conservative Republicans.

Don Feldman

Lancaster, Pa.

Seven (7) Chin-ups

(In re “Sensitive SEALs,” August 5) In 1977, I attended parachute school at Fort Benning, Ga. The most serious challenge at jump school — aside from stepping out of a perfectly good airplane at an 1,100-feet altitude — was the upper-body-strength requirement, including the ability to do seven chin-ups and masses of push-ups. The ostensible reason was that steering a WWII T-10 parachute requires you to pull hard on the risers; the real reason was to ensure that Airborne are an elite. Men were routinely washed out of jump school for not being able to do the chin-ups. By the third week, so many male officers had washed out that, although I was a junior captain, I was the senior Army officer remaining and had become the class commander. The Army had just opened parachute training to women, and my class included about 13 enlisted women and four or five female officers. Since women could not meet the upper-body-strength requirement, instead of chin-ups, the women “chinned” lying on an inclined board, and none of the Black Hats (cadre) bothered them much about push-ups. Nevertheless, all of the enlisted women had voluntarily dropped out during the first week, and all but one officer voluntarily quit by the end of the second week. After the fifth and last jump I stood on the drop zone, watching our female officer drift off the drop zone and into the trees: She was too light and not strong enough to steer the parachute. She was also designated the Class Officer Honor Graduate.

Terence Zuber

Major, Infantry (Retired)

Akron, Ohio

NR Staff — Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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