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Letters from alums about Bill Frist ’74

July 14, 2004

Today, July 14, Senator Frist continued to tarnish the reputation of Princeton in the Nation's Service.  Senator Frist is leading the effort to enshrine discrimination in the US Constitution by supporting passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment.  While that amendment, which would deny rights to one group of citizens for the first time ever, was successfully defeated in the United States Senate today, Senator Frist's intolerant and discriminatory views are an embarrassment to our great University and a disservice to this great country.

Alex Beal '89
Boston, Mass,

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March 27, 2004

Senator Frist has chosen to threaten Richard Clarke with a charge of perjury for coming before the 9/11 Commission and telling the truth about 9/11 and the war in Iraq. In Senator Frist’s Orwellian world to tell the truth is to lie. It would have been more appropriate for Senator Frist to charge Richard Clarke with insanity because anyone who goes before a government commission to tell the truth has got to be out of his mind.

James Shankman ‘74

Chappaqua, N.Y.

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July 1, 2003

Dear Senator Frist,

Having read your biography in a recent issue of PAW, I am quite impressed with your achievements as a scholar, physician, and politician.

Personally, I trust your moral fortitude; firstly, as a Christian, and secondly, as a Jew, I too believe that marriage is a sacrament reserved only for the union of a man to a woman.

However, as an Eagle Scout, and a strong proponent of the values that make the U.S. one of the freest lands on Earth, I firmly support the separation of church and state, and, in turn, respect the homosexuality of my fellow citizens — to the point that if they feel that marriage is more about exclusivity than gender, amen.

The Boy Scouts of America is a private organization, and thus has the right to exclude homosexuals from its ranks. Princeton University is a private school, and thus has the right to prohibit gay marriage in its chapel (though it forgoes this right to an extent and offers "holy unions").

But I did not grow up in a theocracy, and I hold that no religion has a right to impose its values on the citizens of the U.S. Yes, law begins to lose any authority without an absolute mandate, though I do not believe that gay marriage is the slippery slope over which the foundations of America will eventually slide into ruin (recently, I lived in the Netherlands for almost a year, and I found it the freest land on earth, with no shortage of safety and order); I have faith in my Supreme Court that it made the right decision last Thursday, and it saddens me that you do not.

Furthermore, I'm disappointed you feel that "sodomy should be addressed by the state legislatures." Remember, many opponents of civil rights in the 1960s felt that those laws were safe with the states too.

Unfortunately, "In God we trust," is still written on our money. I have faith, yet do all Americans, and, if not, what place do reverent maxims have on our federal tender? What I'm more worried about than the slippery slope of irreligion is that other slippery slope, which sees zealots imposing their values on others, consequently trying to convert via coercion. Those tactics don't belong to my Jesus. In God I trust; I want to let the Holy Spirit intervene where I don't believe America has the right, or even the power.

Finally, let me amend Voltaire, "I may not agree with what you [do], but to your death I will defend your right to [do] it." This re-tailored quote sums up my America, and I don't know why nations like Canada and the Netherlands are more consistent with freedoms and ideals I was taught are best espoused and upheld by my native flag.

David Abram Milanaik '98
Riverhead, N.Y.

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May 14, 2003

Here’s another hint of the character of Senator Bill Frist ’74. It comes from the Boston Globe Magazine of October 27, 2002.

“Frist is an animal lover...But Frist now found himself forced to kill animals during medical research. And his new dilemma was finding enough animals to kill. Soon, he began lying to obtain more animals. He went to animal shelters around Boston and promised he would care for the cats as pets. Then he killed them during experiments. ‘It was a heinous and dishonest thing to do,’ Frist wrote. ‘I was going a little crazy.’”

Now he’s busy helping provide even more tax cuts for the wealthy, sending America’s youth off to fight an illogical war, and trying his best to jam the Constitution into the toilet with the PATRIOT Act.

Years from now I’m sure he’ll express remorse again saying he went “a little crazy.”

Stephen Babcock ‘’61
Roslindale, Mass.

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April 4, 2003

Vast wealth and a transplant surgeon's resume may qualify a man for many things, including leadership in the Senate and the family name on what used to be Palmer Physics Lab.

There was everything but a corporate crest adorning the blazer as Bill Frist stepped to the microphone on Alumni Day, talked down to his fellow alums, and gave us a rehashed political pile of hokum.

I do not have a diploma from Frist U. We are not a corporate entity. We still own ourselves, regardless of what Senator Doctor Frist may feel to be the case.

Mike Parish ’65
New York, N.Y.

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April 3, 2003

Argelio Dumenigo's hagiographic biography of Bill Frist '74, the Senate's new majority leader (March 26), omits a crucial aspect of Frist's record: his firm and unreasoned opposition to abortion.

To appease far-right members of his constituency, Frist has voted to deny access to abortions for women in the military, to cut aid to international family planning programs, to block access to emergency contraception, and to oppose fetal tissue and cloning research. He has also supported worthless "abstinence-only" sex education programs.

Frist represents the front line of a new and disturbing trend: Princeton in the nation's cervix.

Jeffrey Shallit '79
Kitchener, Ontario

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