Letters to the editor

Published April 1, 2001

Use of military language can baffleDear editor,

One had to smile reading in the February issue about the Salvation Army in legal limbo over the Russian interpretation of the word “army” as indicating a “militarized organization bent on the violent overthrow” of their government.

Yet one has to wonder at our increasing usage of undoubtedly militaristic terms and words, to name but a few:

They made him a canon.

I fired off a letter. I bombed the test. I shot him a glance. It took an army of men.

Just as militaristic words in a Christian context seem out of place, so do Christian words in a secular context, for example:

A U.S. nuclear submarine, weapon of mass destruction, is called “Trinity,” and while listening to the live bombing tests at a military base here, I pray for the “peacemakers”.

Words have power to mould thoughts and disguise truth, so perhaps we should look at them more carefully.

Gloria Paul

Hoyt, N.B.

Changes offensive

Dear editor,

This letter is in regard to the World Day of Prayer service written this year by women in Samoa and edited by the Women’s Inter-Church Council. I have received a copy of the service that was written by the women of Samoa and excerpts from the version edited and distributed to Canadians by WICC.

I am not interested in a theological debate about the changes that the WICC made to the service. My purpose in writing is that I am offended and embarrassed that the WICC felt it was necessary to make changes before Canadian men and women could use the service. In addition, they did not acknowledge that they had edited the material.

I am offended because it seems that the WICC thinks that Canadians are not intelligent enough to use a service that is written by people in another country and culture. In my understanding, the World Day of Prayer service provides us with a tool to help us grow and learn from each other while being respectful of our different ways of doing this.

The Samoan service may not represent the spirituality of all Canadians, but it provides us with a mirror into the spirituality of people from another culture. Surely this is a good thing.

I am embarrassed because the people in Samoa were invited to write the service for this year’s World Day of Prayer and then the WICC proceeded to edit it because they felt it was not suitable for Canadians. I don’t feel that it is the place of the WICC to make those decisions on our behalf. In another time this would have been considered paternalistic – is “maternalistic” an appropriate word in this case?

Please save us from organizations that want to protect us from learning anything about or from other cultures.

Lois Hutchison


Sentence was fair

Dear editor,

I do not think Robert Latimer’s sentence should be reduced for the following reasons:

The justice system has already shown leniency toward him by charging him with second-degree murder when his crime meets the qualification for first-degree murder (premeditation.)

Latimer did not take advantage of all the options open to him for his daughter and turned down at least one.

A more lenient sentence would put other handicapped people at risk. Prison sentences are not merely to punish offenders; they are also intended to deter others from committing similar crimes.

Furthermore, I don’t think the law should be changed in order to create a category of mercy killing. Also, the present method of dividing killing into three categories, first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter, depends on the action of the perpetrator. First-degree murder includes intent and premeditation. Second-degree murder involves intent but not premeditation. Manslaughter is unintentional, but results from a reckless and avoidable action by the perpetrator.

To make a category for mercy killing would be to consider two classes of victim; those with a right to life and those without, or with an extremely diminished right. That distinction is intolerable in a civilized society, especially a Christian one.

Florence Barton

Penticton, BC


Dear editor,

I write, once again, in praise of the column Grace Notes.

How fortunate we are to have a Primate who communicates with us in such a lucid and elegantly simple way. His messages are consistently profound as he touches us all with his wisdom on a very human level.

Graham Jackson

Loretteville, Que.

‘Ethnic Anglican’

Dear editor,

Again our Anglican Journal would seem to use the sensational or shocking method of catching the readers’ attention. It does this in its profile of a prospective contributor (Ethnic Anglican says he does not believe in belief. (February 2001) Like a rattlesnake, there is a warning buzz and then a poisonous strike.

The writer has formed a gruesome oxymoron by giving Mr. Dobbs a most questionable characteristic of being an “ethnic Anglican.” The oxymoron is infinitely more sensational than a one-inch headline announcing “Travel writer scores attention in Journal.” It seems fairly obvious; the subject of the article can be “ethnic” but very unlikely ethnic and Anglican simultaneously!

The man is quoted as saying that he practically knows the Book of Common Prayer by heart while at same time he repudiates faith, our creeds, our articles of religion, particularly article six. The man needs our sympathy and prayers.

The sensationalism appears when Mr. Dobbs is quoted in terms of faith, saying, “I don’t believe in belief.” His deplorable ignorance of Christian people is revealed when he says that born-again Christians, “don’t seem to read the Bible in a sensible way. They just shake out quotations.”

Mr. Dobbs says his knowledge of the Anglican Church’s current state of affairs is “sketchy”. How does the Anglican Journal anticipate that this writer of sketchy Anglican knowledge will bolster, enhance, strengthen or contribute to the spiritual identity of our badly battered but beloved church? Will this man who, “clearly will always be a travel writer” promote the Kingdom of God to Anglicans, or propagate the cause of Christ through his Ethnic Anglicanism?

Please note my objections to space in your paper being given to this man and to any who fail to uphold the Christian faith.

George H. Willoughby

Milton, Ont.


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