- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2002

New bishop bodes ill for Episcopal Church

Your report on the election of the Very Rev. John B. Chane as the new Episcopal bishop of the Washington Diocese cited concern about his appointment because he previously had invited controversial Bishop John Spong to speak in his church ("San Diegan is new bishop," Jan. 26). This concern was based upon reports that Bishop Spong "denies the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection and many other biblical texts" and that he also supports the ordination of non-celibate homosexual ministers and endorses same-sex "marriages." The Episcopal Church supposedly is devoted to worshipping Christ as the true incarnation of God and to promoting His standards of morality. Inviting the extremist liberal Bishop Spong to speak from the pulpit would seem to be the equivalent of suggesting that Jesus should have given equal time to Satan at His Sermon on the Mount.

Your Jan. 9 story "Six vie for D.C. bishop" revealed, "The diocese requires all its [bishop] candidates to advocate homosexual ordination." It appears that Bishop-elect Chane is, unfortunately, a perfect replacement for the current misguided liberal leadership in the Washington Diocese. They have not only lost their moral compass, but also taken leave of their common sense.

Is it any wonder the Episcopal Church is losing membership, attendance and financial support?


DEFOREST RATHBONE

Great Falls

Government-based charity an oxymoron

Suzanne Fields' discussion of "the heart of our definition of charity" was long overdue ("Money and mourning at Ground Zero," Jan. 28). Though she did well in citing a definition of charity from St. Paul's first letter to the Christians at Corinth, there is a much better one in Paul's second letter to the Corinthians.

In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul writes: "Every man according as he purposes in his own heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver."

The first point is one Mrs. Fields also made: Charity is when you decide where your money goes, not when the government or anyone else decides for you.

Second, it is not charity when you give because you feel you have to (e.g., because of a guilt trip) or when someone forces you to (e.g., through government taxation or union-imposed dues).

Also, "cheerful" isn't determined by how much of a tax write-off you get. Charity existed long before the 16th Amendment.

This correct definition of charity points out a major difference between the Republicans and Democrats. Democrats are firm believers in the oxymoron of government-based charity. That is one of the reasons that I, as a Christian, don't vote Democratic.


LARRY BICKFORD

San Jose, Calif.

Praise for Malaysia

In his Jan. 24 Embassy Row column, James Morrison described U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia Marie T. Huhtala as "frustrated" by Malaysia's comparison of its Internal Security Act to the anti-terrorist measures put in place by the United States since September 11. According to Mr. Morrison, she finds it inappropriate "to compare laws used against political opponents to U.S. measures against terrorism."

While it is true that Ambassador Huhtala said "there are very few similarities" between Malaysian and U.S. anti-terrorist laws, she also said that "the critical thing" about Malaysia's recent arrest of 15 suspected terrorists under its anti-terrorist law is that "they are bona fide terrorists who are planning violent activities. We absolutely want your government to arrest them and we are delighted that they did so."

In the same interview, Ambassador Huhtala praised Malaysia's cooperation with the United States in the war on terrorism:

"Malaysia has done an outstanding job on cooperating with us on counter-terrorism. I have been extremely satisfied with the cooperation from the very beginning."

"We have had excellent cooperation on locating and freezing any assets that might be in your banks that belong to terrorists, and particularly with your police forces in tracking down terrorists. This is just invaluable. Malaysia has done a fantastic job."

Thus, far from expressing frustration, Ambassador Huhtala lavished well-deserved praise on Malaysia for its arrests of suspected terrorists (thought to be linked to al Qaeda), and for its overall cooperation with the United States in the war on terrorism.


ALIMA JONED

Malaysia-U.S. Friendship Council

Washington

Persecution of Christians in Turkey no laughing matter

I doubt very much that the Greek Orthodox ecumenical patriarch who resides in Istanbul would "have a belly laugh being told that it is impossible to set up a Christian church in Istanbul," as letter writer Ali Sevin contends ("Buchanan, Sowell need to brush up on Turkey" Jan. 25).

It's not easy being a Christian in Turkey. Rather than chastise Pat Buchanan and Thomas Sowell for their excellent perception of the status of Christians in Turkey today, Mr. Sevin would do well to "brush up on Turkey" himself. He fails to mention that the Greek Orthodox ecumenical patriarch must first gain permission from the Turkish government to make even the most rudimentary repairs, such as fixing a toilet or steps to church facilities. His All-Holiness' quarters have been bombed not once, but many times. I'm sure the Greek patriarch isn't having "a belly laugh" over that. The magnificent Orthodox Christian cathedral, Agia Sofia, once known as the eighth wonder of the world, is today a museum, her beautiful Byzantine icons whitewashed and covered with sayings of Mohammed. Before that, the cathedral was turned into a mosque a desecration of the Orthodox Christian faith under the Ottoman Empire.

Istanbul, once known as Constantinople to the Christian world, once had a population of more than 250,000 Greek Orthodox Christians. Today there are fewer than 2,000, and their number is dwindling because of persecution. Our young tour guide in Ankara hid her Greek ethnicity. She told us that if she did not take a Turkish name, she would not be able to get a job or housing. If this isn't ethnic cleansing, I don't know what is.

Perhaps it is possible to set up a Christian church in Istanbul, as the author of the letter writes, but with impossible demands by the Muslim government.


STELLA L. JATRAS

Sterling, Va.

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