Letters to the editor

Published April 1, 2002

DiscriminationDear editor,

It is probably safe to assume that most people would agree that a person who holds no religious beliefs can be a complete citizen of Canada. Most people would then also agree that the phrase “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God ?” might be meaningless and offensive to a Canadian citizen who holds no religious beliefs. The religious phrase appears in the first line of the preamble to our Constitution and to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As well, in 1982, the phrase “God keep our land glorious and free” was inserted into our national anthem, thereby making it a prayer. A patriotic Canadian who happened to be an atheist, would be, to say the least, uncomfortable with singing a religious prayer if asked to participate in the singing of the Anthem. The inclusion of religious references into the Charter and the anthem is completely unnecessary and, in fact, renders the constitutional document and the anthem discriminatory. It is no less than institutionalized discrimination against millions of Canadian citizens who are without religion. We would not discriminate against any other minority in this country. Why do we discriminate against atheists? Ray Blessin Kamloops, B.C.

How we will be judged

Dear editor,

I would like to think we will be judged as good Samaritans on that day we face our God and Father. However I am not sure it will happen if we don’t get our priorities straightened out. If we continue to cross the road so as not to encounter our brothers and sisters in pain, if we continue to say “I’m sorry” and “have a nice day” and keep on going, we will be as the priest and the Levite, not the Good Samaritan. If we continue to spend all our resources on lawyers and court costs and not on alleviating the pain of our brothers and sisters we will surely be judged and found wanting. If we must face bankruptcy let us do it by way of helping those we have hurt, not by way of legal fees. If we must face bankruptcy let us do it by way of claiming our responsibility to these people we have hurt, not by way of figuring out our measure of responsibility to these people. If we must face bankruptcy let us do so gladly, willingly, cheerfully as we remember that all we have comes from our God and Father and He will take care of all our needs now and after bankruptcy. Let us remember we are one in Him. If anyone is hurting we are all hurting. If we help one, we help all. Let us remember He is the church; our buildings and our investments and our bank accounts are not the church. Marilyn Shannon Plaster Rock, N.B.


Dear editor,

With regard to two letters (John Jamieson and Don Robinson, Anglican Journal, March) citing discontent with the photo of the Archbishop of Canterbury with “one of the best known terrorists in the world,” I do not in any way see this as the Anglican church associating itself with terrorists and “planting a seed in the minds of Anglicans…” So this was a photo-op of the archbishop with the Palestinian leader. I am sure there are photos of Archbishop Carey with the Prime Minister of Israel – and would we cast the same stone? We should, if indeed stones should be cast, because both the Palestinian and Israeli leaders can be cast as “terrorist supporters.” This “tit-for-tat” kind of retaliation between Arabs and Jews has been going on for thousands of years (check your Old Testament!) and in my opinion this warfare will never reach a peaceful solution. Both sides raise generations to hate each other (as do the Protestants and Roman Catholics in Ireland). The hatred of all these parties is evident. Nothing will settle these disputes until a new generation emerges and clear heads prevail. And given history, I do not see this happening in our lifetime, despite the attempts of peacemakers on all sides. No one can reason with people who hate each other to the death and raise their children to do the same. Irene Taylor Oshawa, Ont.

Rev? Ms? Both?

Dear editor,

In reference to S. Bernier’s letter in February’s issue of the Anglican Journal, his or her “only gripe about [an] article is that, on a few occasions, Rev. Marguerite Rea is referred to as Ms. Rea.” The writer finds that to be “very inappropriate” and states that Rev. Ms. Rea “should be addressed as Rev. Rea.” In fact, however, it would be more appropriate to refer to Rev. Marguerite Rea as “Ms. Rea” rather than refer to her as “Rev. Rea”. It is always incorrect to address a member of the clergy as “Rev. Smith,” for example. A good dictionary will tell you that. When using the title “Reverend,” is it appropriate to write, for instance, “Rev. Marguerite Rea” or “Rev. Ms. Rea”. Therefore the answer to the title of S. Bernier’s letter, “Rev. or Ms? can be answered “Rev. and Ms.”! Andrew Nussey Halifax

Tacky journalism

Dear editor,

I have just received and read through the Anglican Journal with the Saskatchewan Anglican. There is no mention anywhere of this being the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s ascension to the throne. Queen Elizabeth II has always done her duty to us; too bad the editors couldn’t have done theirs. Very disappointing; very tacky. Christine Pike Waseca, Sask. Editor’s note: Please see Page 1 photograph, March edition.

More on Spong

Dear editor,

When I wrote my letter on the Anglican Journal’s failure to denounce John Spong, I had no idea it would merit such a response by so many people. However, I feel I must respond to some of the criticism leveled at me by your readers. Yes, I have read John Spong (contrary to what Doug Woodhams suggests) and am saddened and angered by most of his writing. Saddened because such an intelligent, obviously caring man so arrogantly dismisses orthodox Christianity as myth because to his mind it isn’t logical, doesn’t stand up to science and doesn’t meet his needs. Angered because he continues to call himself a Christian and tries to mold the church into something appealing to society’s masses. I do not leave my brains in a basket at the door of my church. And to imply that I am doing so because I believe in the miracles of the virgin birth, the incarnation and the resurrection is more arrogance. Bishop Spong often states that he knows of no biblical scholar who believes in the miracles of the New Testament. Clearly he chooses to read a minority of scholars. His own scholarship is lacking and his knowledge of scripture is at times sloppy. He claims to love the Bible, yet he has spent most of his career tearing it to shreds. He claims to love the Anglican Church, yet he constantly criticizes it and berates those who don’t think like him. Dennis Baird supports the openness of the Anglican Journal as it publishes dissident views. As I stated in my previous letter, I believe in honest debate in the light of scripture. However, Bishop Spong dismisses scripture as errant human fabrication and myth. His is not just a dissident view, it is heresy. John Spong reminds me of another famous pastor, Charles Templeton, but Templeton had the courage and integrity to leave the church that he came to doubt. If Bishop Spong doesn’t believe in the fundamentals of the Christian faith he should stop calling himself a Christian and leave the church, though I expect he would get far less press, be much less controversial, and sell far fewer books! Richard Harstone Mississauga, Ont.

Sale or lease?

Dear editor,

A story on page one of your February issue tells of the sale of the church property at 600 Jarvis St. to a developer. We had a similar situation in Montreal in the mid-eighties with land owned by the cathedral, diocese and Canadian Bible Society (the Church Group) but were able to follow a principle the cathedral had laid down more than 10 years earlier, that we would not sell church land, only lease it long-term. We were able to lease our land for 100 years and in 2085 it will revert to the Church Group. Developers tend to think in terms of 20 to 30 years for pay-back on their projects whereas the church should think over a much longer term. I would be interested in knowing if those negotiating for the church in the Jarvis St. deal tried to offer a long-term lease rather than sale outright. Duncan Shaddick Montreal


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