to believe or not to believe
Once again, Gary Miller, who appears to be campaigning for Meridian's guardian of fundamentalist doctrinal orthodoxy, has appeared like the proverbial bad penny (BW, Mail, "Atheism is a religion," April 13, 2005).
Sorry, Miller, but nowhere does the secular U.S. Constitution say that one must be a Christian to be an American.
What is amusing is that the worst sin Miller can accuse atheism and secular humanism of is being a religion. Miller must really be desperate if the term "religion" is the worst invective he can hurl against freethinkers.
Actually, it's Miller's beliefs that have no basis in fact. His religion has had 2,000 years in which to produce some scientifically peer-reviewed evidence and it has failed to do so. If Miller would look up the origin of the word "atheist," he would discover that it is an absence of belief. That doesn't require any proof. For example, I don't believe in the tooth fairy. If Miller does, it's up to him to prove that the tooth fairy exists-it's not up to me to prove that the tooth fairy doesn't exist.
Miller at least realizes that science has nothing to say about the supernatural because, by definition, the "supernatural" (if it exists) is beyond "natural." One hopes then that Miller will join me in keeping religious views (e.g., creationism) out of the science classrooms.
Miller's reference to Stalin works against him. Stalin, like Hitler, was raised and educated as a Christian. No doubt both learned their terror tactics from reading the bible and the 2,000-year history of Christianity which has consisted mostly of wars, heresy trials, witch-hunts, crusades and pogroms. Western civilization's advances have been made in spite of religion. For example, nowhere does the bible advocate a democratically elected constitutional republic-but our godless Constitution does.
-Gary L. Bennett,
In response to the letter of Dan Oliver, (BW, Mail, "Peaceniks," April 13, 2005) I would like to illuminate some of the major reasons that I support the peace movement. For starters, all four of the world's major religions advocate peace within the individual and within society. Islam is another name for peace. In Christianity, the Ten Commandments state: "Thou shalt not kill." In the Gospels, Jesus states: "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God." He also greets his disciples with the words "My peace be with you." In Buddhism, one of the 10 non-virtuous actions (very similar to the Ten Commandments) is killing. Likewise in Hinduism, one of the 10 codes of conduct (yamas and niyamas; very similar to the Ten Commandments) is nonviolence.
Already the invasion of Iraq has resulted in about 20,000 deaths, countless injuries, and untold human suffering. The U.S. taxpayers have paid about $185 billion for this disaster. Iraqis have been organizing massive street protests demanding that we withdraw from the country. But President Bush continues to assert they we will remain there "until the Iraqis can defend themselves." If the coalition forces can't prevent car bombings, what makes him think we can train the Iraqi troops to defend against them? Democracy is a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people." It is time to bring our troops home and let Iraqis rule Iraq.
-Baxter Pharr, Boise
Culture of life
Regarding the "culture of life" issues, I appreciated Bill Cope's article (BW, Bill Cope, "Bill's Will," March 30, 2005).
Tom DeLay displays some rational thinking on the issue by evaluating how a patient "responded in some minimal way to use of stimulus" to determine action. But to seek out "political, financial, spiritual, or publicity gain" is inexcusable.
Similarly, I appreciated Bill Cope's subjective opinion that "exhibit(ing) an unresponsive condition which I freely admit could be mistaken for some sort of cerebral flatlinery is not grounds for pulling the plug" and Mr. Cope would resuscitate himself with a cup of coffee. However, I disagree with the notion that exhibiting conservative tendencies is cause for life cessation. It is not a valid reason for self interested life sustaining but doubt it warrants termination. I also was interested in how the right wing government benefits from this position. Finally, I would have appreciated some real and discretionary thinking on what entails a life "deader-than-a-doornail," not just countering whatever "the right to a totally useless life champion" says.
In the process of discrediting a wrong response to an issue, Cope's defiant opposition also disregarded some aspects of the issue. It is becoming more common and more dangerous with bloggers alienating the counter culture movement along with the "little Eichmann" piece that issues get overlooked for partisan grudges. Effective politics should be based on the issue and not spite.
Thankfully, some honorable legislation occurred and sound bill-writing followed up a volatile issue. I hope for the same over the war, capital punishment and family planning issues (as Rebecca Poedy of Planned Parenthood admirably encouraged in the April 13 Boise Weekly). Even in context of an outrageously misrepresented "culture of life," lets take deep breaths and come to some level-headed resolution.
-Wyatt Jarsky, Boise
Dirty Rotten Bike Thief
Spring is here and usually it is a happy time for me because I love hitting the bike trails. But this year I won't be exploring my new town's single tracks. My bike was stolen March 8 right off my front porch on 19th and Idaho. I am surprised because I spend two years in the Los Angeles area and it was safe. I moved to Boise and, WHAM, it's gone.
I remember learning to ride when I was six-years-old. It took only a couple of hours without training wheels and I was hooked. I loved biking so much I learned how to be a mechanic and even ran a bike rental business for a short time. I saved a long time to buy the bike I wanted, a Specialized Stumpjumper M2. It is mango in color and a 13.5 in., the smallest frame they make. I had good clipless pedals, grip shifts and bar ends on it. I also had a nice wireless speedometer, new last spring. It was my main form of transportation.
I wonder who took my bike and if you are happy with it, because it really made my life harder and it hurt a lot when you took it. Everyday I look and everyday I am disappointed that it's gone. I can't afford a new bike, even a cheap one.
I hope that you feel bad, maybe even enough to leave it somewhere and let the police collect it. Or I hope someone sees this letter and turns you in for stealing it. What you did was wrong and you don't deserve to reap any benefits from taking what does not belong to you.
Mail of the week: We encourage all our readers to send in mail...we haven't had any we felt were worthy of a prize this past few weeks. Come on people! Keep 'em short & sweet.