Letters to the editor

Published June 1, 2002

Religion is not provableDear editor,

Why do practicing Christians persist in writing letters to the editors of both religious and secular papers claiming that if one looks up a certain verse in the Bible it will prove their point?

If religions were based on provable facts we would all believe the same things. Of course, then there would be no need for faith. I was wondering, then, how there can be religion without faith?

William Bedford


Erasing Jesus?

Dear editor,

Recently on study sheets, dates were shown with the letters C.E. & B.C.E. Those letters effectively erase an acknowledgement of Jesus.

Previously the letters used were A.D. or B.C. and it was always an acknowledgement of Jesus from that place where the count of time goes forward or backward.

Making an inquiry I was told that the intent of the change is not to offend others. No one wants to give offence and I do not want to offend anyone but I will not take anything away from an acknowledgement (no matter how slight) of Jesus.

Yours in 2002 A.D.

Audrey Lee

Orillia, Ont.

Defensive actions

Dear editor,

We were very disappointed to read your description of Israel’s recent actions in the West Bank as “terrorism, Sharon vintage.” (May editorial)

We are two Christians who believe that Israel has the same right as any other democratic state to defend itself against vicious and cruel attacks on its citizens. From this perspective, such defensive actions are not terrorism. In addition, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon does not act on his own since he is the leader of a coalition government.

We believe that this government has the legitimate authority to defend Israel against unwarranted attacks. Of course, Israel must be held accountable for its actions against international standards, but these standards must be the same as are applied to all other democratic countries.

David and Dianne Peters-Woods

Orleans, Ont.

Re-writing history

Dear editor,

Re: The letter from Ray Blessin of Kamloops, B.C. in the April Journal: Many communists, atheists, and other small groups wish to re-write Canadian history to their own benefit. If Canada was “…founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God…” then that is a historical fact. We must not tolerate the efforts of special interest groups to re-write our history to their own benefit.

If this is all that Mr. Blessin has to worry about in life then he should be thankful that he lives in the richest country in all of history that was also “… founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God…”

Many Christians live and die in a state of persecution. They are not allowed to display, in public, items or behavior that represent Christianity. In parts of North America people are not allowed to worship God in a public gathering like a school classroom. As a child I prayed in school every day. As a child we had freedom of religion. Today, freedom of religion has become the freedom to keep others from practicing religion. We must not tolerate the efforts of special interest groups, like those that Mr. Blessin represents, to take away any part of our freedom of religion.

John Reid



Dear editor,

Ray Blessin of Kamloops B.C. claims to be an atheist, that (April letters.) I wonder which god he does not believe in for he certainly does, as we all do, have his gods.

The first cave men discovered there were gods, or powers over which they, as we, have little or no control. Circumstance, crime, the economy, disasters, evil, luck, to name a few, are gods which we worship, respect, fear and do our best to keep on the good side of.

Does Mr. Blessin object to lessons on the economy, or how global warming will effect us?

One of the most popular gods today is technology. More people look to technology to bring about a better world then they do their god of formal worship.

The Christian God is synonymous with truth and love. Do you really not accept, Mr. Blessin, that these two are of paramount necessity if we ever hope to make life a joyous experience rather than one of suffering? You bet you do.

Atheist, humbug!

Harold Rathlou

Mississauga, Ont.

Anglicans incognito

Dear editor,

I read with mirth the article on the lack of Anglican participation for the upcoming World Youth Day. Especially amusing was the observation that it was hard to distinguish an Anglican from a Roman Catholic at the communion rail. As an Anglican living in Prague in the Czech Republic I am frequently forced to attend mass on favourite saints days that the Anglican church here in Prague does not observe for lack of numbers or inclination.

I have never had any problem receiving, though I must admit I have never made an issue of the fact that I’m not Roman Catholic.

For the meek and mild Anglican who finds him or herself in similar situations and wishes to receive, there are a couple of things to keep in mind should you not want to be recognised as an Anglican. First, don’t sing too loudly. Pretend you’re a Canadian at a sporting event being forced to sing the national anthem. Look at the floor and mumble. Also, remember not to kneel when you get to the communion rail. As no one else is doing this you would stick out like a sore thumb. And don’t hang around for the wine. It ain’t coming. Other than that, it’s a piece of cake and you’ll walk away feeling that you have done more for RC/Anglican relations by that simple act than has been accomplished by years full of conferences and rooms full of mitres.

John McKillop



Dear editor,

Your headline article “B.C. Bishops call for referendum protest” leaves the impression that the bishops dreamed up their pastoral letter to all B.C. Anglican congregations over a late afternoon glass of sherry, and over their objections of most B.C. Anglicans. The full story is both more interesting and more reassuring – even for those opposed to what the bishops did.

The Anglican church of B.C. and the Yukon develops policies through its Executive Council. This council seeks input from a social concerns committee, which I chair.

In September, 2001, a motion was passed by the committee asking the Executive Council to consider expressing its objections to the pending referendum on B.C. native treaty negotiations. The council passed a motion to express its strong opposition to the holding of a provincial referendum.

In order to decide what to do about this referendum, the archbishop sought the advice of a special task force set up by the diocese of New Westminster. I was also on this task force- which included retired B.C. judge and hereditary chief Alfred Scow, three retired bishops who have spent much of their lives dealing with the spiritual needs of B.C. natives and other B.C. Anglicans, native and non-native.

The Anglican Journal, after referring to the reaction to the reading of the pastoral letter as “mixed,” confines its comments to negative responses. In fact, much of the response was positive. Elsewhere, our primate comments on the situation in the Middle East and he lists responses by our church that will be interpreted by some as taking sides.

Closer to home, our interests appear to be more obviously threatened and objections to our church “getting political” can be counted upon. When our church leaders feel called upon to act, they do not act thoughtlessly and they remain painfully aware that attempting to lift spirits can involve treading on toes.

Brian Turner


Warship adoption

Dear editor,

I am moved to write in response to your featured letter of April 2002, from John-David Ashworth, in which he condemns the actions of a church adopting a warship. It does not take any great student of history to understand that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s policy of “appeasement” did not work, prior to the Second World War. I do not believe it will work now.

It does not take any deep thinker to understand that Jesus Christ, although he instructed us to “love one another,” did not tolerate bad behaviour. One is reminded of Jesus clearing the temple in Matthew: 21. Jesus’ doctrine did not include inaction, when action was required.

Mr. Ashworth’s fuzzy-headedness is evidenced by the sentence, “Even when the cause is just, there is no such thing as a just war.” What did that mean? Does Mr. Ashworth even know?

Before Mr. Ashworth wears out his knees praying for the terrorists our armed forces are fighting, ask him to say a prayer for me. I always thought I was a Christian, but Mr. Ashworth says I’m not, because I haven’t discovered ways to love terrorists.

Tell him as well, to read and meditate upon Matt 23: 27-28.

David Beattie


Support for natives

Dear editor,

The Anglican Church of Canada is in crisis over the legacy of its native residential schools. Financial compensation for wrong acts has its role. Surely our support for aboriginal culture and education should also be shown at this time.

The Anglican church has excellent schools and universities with first-rate facilities which are only used part-time during vacation periods. Our primate could ask all of these institutions to offer their use, during free periods, to promote projects for aboriginals chosen by aboriginals.

It is important that aboriginals see and feel that current Anglicans care about the present aboriginal communities and their problems. Money received through the legal system does little to heal physical and spiritual wounds. Let us show that we continue to care and to offer our support for aboriginals and their culture.

Richard Gaunt

Pointe Claire, Que.

Schism is here

Dear editor,

Re: Right Wing Condemned (April 2002): I read with some consternation the article reporting on the ECUSA Executive Council’s condemnation of the AMiA. The talk of “possible schism” is indicative of the real problem in that conflict. Schism has already happened, aided and abetted by none other than the Executive Council of ECUSA itself.

It is not, as they say, a future possibility, but a present reality. The Liberal-dominated Executive Council was warned repeatedly over the years that pursuit of its radical agenda would result in a split in the church. They were deaf to the cries for help.

And lest we are tempted to say, as Canadians, “that was them and we are different,” let me be bold enough to suggest that some form of the AMiA is just over the horizon for the Canadian scene as well.

The diocese of New Westminster has been purposefully working toward implementation of a motion on the blessing of same-sex relationship, which has driven the same wedge between its liberal and conservative clergy and parishes as has happened south of the border. In a few short weeks, at yet another synod, the motion may be once again passed and this time receive episcopal assent. If that happens, a significant portion of our diocese may find itself out of fellowship with its bishop and without pastoral oversight. Will we too be forced to consider the AMiA as our only alternative?

Barclay Mayo

Madeira Park, B.C

‘Exceptional’ Spong

Dear editor,

On April 10th in Grande Prairie, Alta., we had the opportunity to hear again Bishop John Spong. We had heard him at Sorrento Centre before, but this was special because he had come so far to be in the Peace River c.ountry.

We wondered how he could explain in two and a half hours, what had taken week-long sessions at Sorrento. We were not disappointed!

His ability to speak and to teach is exceptional, as is his memory. He spoke for the whole session without a scrap of paper. The time flew by and the crowd was very attentive and positive. In the question period that followed, he answered all questions with biblical answers, quoting chapter and verse. His knowledge and reverence for this book is evident in all he says. He never had to open his Bible while quoting answers.

Bob and Betty Little

Fairview, Alta.

Dropped from memory

Dear editor,

One is struck by the indignity of the U.S. Christian right who conveniently drop from memory tales of oppression experienced daily by their Palestinian Christian compatriots.

Why has the influential Christian right never been courageous enough to bat alongside their Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters – not in times of peace, not in war!

Thirty five years ago, one in five of the Arab inhabitants of Palestine was Christian; now it is about one in 50. Once Bethlehem was 95 per cent Christian; now Christians are a mere 15 per cent.

Why? What brought about this catastrophic decline? On the face of it the answer is obvious. Christians are leaving Palestine for the same reason that any Palestinian leaves: they see no future.

Part of the reason, it seems to me is that Christian Palestinians are treated by the West as non-people. Few outside the Middle East know they exist. Another is the persistent denial of their plight by a frighteningly influential U.S. Christian right.

Do let us know how, when or if you plan to address our outcry. When will you start lobbying for us in your Senate and Congress?

BDr. H. David Burstein



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