Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:
Congratulations to Melinda Roth for her cover story on Tim Dreste ("The Conviction of Tim Dreste," RFT, May 12). While Dreste was fined millions by an Oregon jury for threatening to murder local doctors, local news media has given very little coverage to this story.

I would like to focus attention on an area that Roth's article briefly mentioned, and that is Dreste's relationship with the Missouri Republican Party. Dreste was chosen by Republican leaders to sit on the State Central Committee, the highest body of the state Republican Party. In other words, Dreste is not some small-time player with the Republicans -- he is in the top leadership.

Dreste is merely one example of Republican Party ties with violent extremist groups in Missouri. Last year, student activists at Washington University asked for the Republican Party to remove neo-Nazi leader Dennis Nix as committeeman in Johnson County. Nix illustrated the first edition of The Turner Diaries, the book whose call for igniting a race war through bombing a federal building is widely seen as the inspiration for the Oklahoma City bombing.

In March 1995, three Republican state legislators (David Klarich, Rich Chrismer and Bill Alter) spoke to a meeting of the First Missouri Volunteers. This group is an extralegal paramilitary organization with ties to John Trochmann and other white-supremacist leaders.

The Republican Party has a pattern of cultivating ties with violent extremist groups. Dreste is only the latest example. I encourage anyone who identifies as a Republican to send a copy of the RFT article to the most prominent Republican leader they know and demand that they remove Dreste from the State Central Committee and cut all Republican Party ties with violent extremist groups. After Roth's article, Republicans in Missouri cannot say that they don't know what is happening in their own party.

John Hickey
Missouri Citizen Education Fund

To the Editor:
Melinda Roth states that Tim Dreste's reputation is "domestic terrorist, religious fanatic, paramilitary right-wing nut."

Roth accompanied Dreste to his church, the Apostolic Christian Church in Hazelwood, but she unfortunately slept through the sermon. She came away from church having only learned that his church was small and that a good percentage of the church members were related to Tim. Roth did not report one important fact: Dreste's church is officially pacifist.

The Doctrinal Standpoints of the Apostolic Christian Church, Statement of Faith No. 12, says, "We believe that government is ordained by God to enforce law and order, and to prevent evil works. Government should therefore be supported and obeyed. Laws and ordinances -- local, state, and national -- are to be respected and conscientiously obeyed, except when to do so violates the commandment of God (emphasis mine). The call to military service likewise is to be respected and obeyed, but with the Biblical limitation to noncombatant service as taught by Jesus Christ: 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.'"

Although I am not a member of Dreste's church, it is well known among knowledgeable Christians that the Apostolic Christian denomination, along with the closely related denominations of the Amish and Mennonite churches, share at least three distinctives: (1) their German roots, (2) their belief in living simply and (3) their pacifism. The historical roots of these churches are in what is now Germany and Switzerland. These Christians were persecuted by their governments in the 18th and 19th centuries because the young men refused to serve as combatants, so many of these Christians emigrated to the United States.

Why were your readers not informed of the doctrines of Dreste's church? Perhaps because they contradict Dreste's dangerous "reputation," as manufactured by the abortion industry. Or perhaps these subtleties are too much for The Riverfront Times' mind, which quickly tosses such Christians into the "anti-government" category. Throughout history, Christians have stood against governments when a particular government was promoting evil and not restraining it. Be assured that God's government will outlast any government that protects the killing of babies.

Kurt Prenzler


To the Editor:
Thanks for your "Commentary" on the situation brewing at TWA ("TWA: One Strike and You're Out," RFT, May 12). Unfortunately, I don't think you fully understand the gravity of the situation. As a member of the Machinists Union and an employee of TWA for the past 15 years, I can say that we are fully prepared to strike. This is not a bluffing game for us.

For the past 14 years, we have given the company wage and benefit reductions, as well as other givebacks, to keep this company afloat. The last one was in 1994, when we were told that with that package, the company would be able to become competitive. We agreed on the premise that it would be made up to us on the next contract.

Here we are in 1999, still with no substantial increase in pay. On top of that, our pension plan is frozen. An employee hired in the 1980s can expect a pension at retirement of about $120 per month.

Ray, we are fully aware of the financial situation of this airline. But we can no longer afford to mortgage our future with a company that clearly has no clue how to turn a profit. We have given back too much, and asked our families to sacrifice for too long, for us to further risk our futures without some sort of security.

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