Along the Tracks

Friday, August 08, 2003

Blade’s window closed

Well, I gave them a week, but The Blade has apparently decided my letter in response to this Eileen Foley column was not up to its high standards of intelligence and penmanship - this after we even got a call at home asking about the letter! My own standards, however, are quite low enough to allow me to post my thoughts almost daily. So in the spirit of mediocrity, here is my letter:

Dear Editor:
In Friday’s column, “Not for God’s sake, please,” by Eileen Foley, a litany of horrible crimes done the name of one or more deities are rightly condemned. However, Foley also castigates legitimate religious opinions expressed without any malice or calls to violence, while ignoring heinous acts by “rational” people without religious motive.
How can Franklin Graham’s statement that “Allah is a different God” possibly be compared to shooting abortion doctors or flying planes into buildings? Do people of faith have no freedom of opinion or speech in Foley’s ideology?
Secular tyrants like Hitler and Saddam managed to justify exterminating Jews and gassing Kurds without any claims to divine directive. Were their “rationalizations” of mass murder somehow more acceptable?
From Stalin’s purging of 20 million landowners to China’s present crackdown on Falun Gong, atheists have managed to maim and murder in the name of “rationality” and “progress” just as easily - and just as illegitimately - as religious fanatics.
Foley’s conclusion states religious excuses are “always so scary, so crazy and so wrong,” regardless of the act in question, good or bad. Using Foley’s logic, excuses invoking rationality - even in defense of completely benign actions - also must be universally “so scary, so crazy, and so wrong” based on their past abuse.
Interestingly, the anti-war campaigners had no qualms appealing to religious arguments against the Iraq war.
Paul A. Miller
15300 Road I
Bryan, Ohio
419-485-3113 (work)
419-636-9142 (home)

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