Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 24, 2004

Christians right to combat evil when it attacks

After reading Emmanuel De Veirman's column "Does God belong in politics?" (Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 18), I want to take issue with him on three points in particular.

First, Mr. De Veirman seems to be disturbed that President Bush "often mentions his faith in public. ... and sometimes adds a religious flavor to policy announcements."

While it is clear that simply invoking the name of God in no way makes one a Christian, I admire the president for refusing to compartmentalize his belief in God. It seems that many people in this country are fine with those of the Christian faith as long as we keep our beliefs private -- something that no other religious group is expected to do.

And I, for one, cannot understand what makes Mr. Bush's acknowledgment of a higher authority so unsettling to people. What are they so threatened by?

Second, Mr. De Veirman takes issue with Bush's words after the Sept. 11 atrocity. He cites the president's words as resembling a "war speech" and asks "Isn't Christianity a religion of absolute peacefulness and forgiveness?"

Yes, to a degree. Christ does teach us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek -- but this command is to individuals.

And the reality is that in a world tainted by sin, evil does exist and must be confronted and stopped -- not appeased -- when it manifests itself as it did on Sept. 11, 2001.

That is why, while no sane person wants war, the Bible teaches that there is a time for it. Nations have not only a right but an obligation to protect and defend their citizens in the face of events such as those of Sept. 11.

Finally, Mr. De Veirman asks if it is "a good thing for society" if "religion plays an important role in the political landscape." He implies that this is unbecoming of a "modern, developed society."

We Christians especially understand that while no amount of political power will make people love God, spiritual laws exist which are as binding as the law of gravity.

God has given us rules and laws not to steal our joy but to protect us.

Obedience to these laws is good for individuals, communities and nations -- and ignoring them always brings moral and cultural chaos.

John Crooks

Baltimore

God should play role in public life

The answer to the rhetorical question in the title of Emmanuel De Veirman's column "Does God belong in politics?" (Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 18) is a resounding "yes."

While Americans may not be as forward-thinking as our secular European friends, any Christian, regardless of nationality, is called to be evangelical. Jesus left instructions to spread His word.

Mr. De Veirman's assertion that "religion shouldn't be used in such an earthly manner" is absurd. If the Lord had wanted us to save religion for Heaven, what on Earth are we doing here? And why did he send His son to Earth in human form?

I am proud to have a president who is courageous enough to call evil by its name. Maybe it's time to start being offended and threatened by the forces of evil alive and well in our society rather than by those who are trying to erase them.

Give me a leader who submits to a higher power over a willful soul who thinks his way is the best any day.

Rhonda Altice-Jackson

Hunt Valley

Preaching faith but not showing it?

Emmanuel De Veirman's column reminded me of the quote I've seen attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: "Preach the Gospel constantly. Use words if necessary" ("Does God belong in politics?", Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 18).

Of course, the words are much easier than demonstrating your faith by caring for the widow and orphan, helping the poor or seeking justice.

Patricia Glasgow

Columbia

Parliament chooses leader of Singapore

The editorial "Family state" (Aug. 15) suggested that Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong assumed the office because of his association with Singapore's founder, Lee Kuan Yew.

However, under Singapore's parliamentary system of government, the prime minister is the person who commands the confidence of the majority of the members of parliament (MPs). Mr. Lee was chosen through a transparent and democratic process by his fellow ministers and MPs.

The people of Singapore will deliver their verdict on his leadership at the next general election which must, by law, take place by 2007.

Susan Sim

Washington

The writer is charge d'affaires for Singapore's Embassy to the United States.

No reason to object to redeploying troops

I was amazed to see the host of partisan criticism that has arisen over the plans to restructures our forces aboard ("Kerry tells veterans he's better on security," Aug. 19). It seems that there are people who believe any suggestion made by the other party must be opposed.

I wonder if citizens roamed through the streets shooting dogs and the current administration took actions to stop them, would the other party then decry the loss of freedoms by those who enjoy shooting animals? Scream that this tramples the Constitution?

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