- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Government, faith and Christmas

The attempts around the country to eliminate the term Christmas are being perpetrated largely in the name of political correctness — to avoid offending anyone whose beliefs would exclude them from Christmas celebrations (“Revival rescues Christmas, McCarrick says,” Page 1, Monday).

These efforts represent not secularism but the standard liberal, subjectivist philosophy of multiculturalism, which seeks to prohibit any “offensive” actions and words — and it is a philosophy that should be denounced.

Christmas can be celebrated as an entirely secular holiday, and public schools should be permitted to do so. The prohibition against the endorsement of religion by government entities, however, is a different matter: It is a constitutional issue of separation of church and state. Though public schools may celebrate Christmas, they have no right to make it into a religious observance by featuring explicitly religious themes such as the Nativity.

The essential point that needs to be emphasized in this issue is that the separation of church and state is a principle that is not synonymous with the politically correct notion of showing “sensitivity” to everyone’s beliefs.

The government may — and should — engage in actions that offend certain viewpoints, such as the viewpoints that are hostile to freedom and individual rights; government must, however — in order to preserve freedom and individual rights — refrain from supporting religion.

YARON BROOK

President

Ayn Rand Institute

Irvine, Calif.

Democracts need new ‘old’ ideas?

The Democrats’ devotion to secular rationalism has been devastating to both itself and, more important, the country (“Liberalism’s classical roots,” Op-Ed, yesterday).

Their belief in only the here and now is not a courageous way of thinking. Socrates pointed out 2,400 years ago that such a haughty belief in the power of man’s ideas and not in something superior to man is really a fear of thinking about the beyond. It is being afraid of death, which is the kind of thinking that misleads man into thinking he is wise when he is not wise.

Unfortunately, the other party is not much different. It professes a more open allegiance to a superior being, yet still believes as much as the Democrats in man’s power to control his own destiny with a sense of knowledge about the world that none of us truly possesses.

Thus, the world view of most politicians is to rely on the secular notions of democracy, freedom, economic development and market forces as if they have a consciousness that will guide our world toward a better place. We believe these wonderful ideas alone will bring us wealth and prosperity, and thus we will be good and live happily ever after.

Yet who among us would be willing to consider something else Socrates said — that wealth does not create goodness; goodness creates wealth? Man’s ideas must be subservient to our Creator’s purpose, not just our own. Ideas that are not linked to something beyond our own wants and wishes will be only fraudulent wisdom. Perhaps both our parties need to return to the real classical definition of liberalism — I know that I do not know, and thus my deliberation of ideas should always be done with a real sense of humility.

We are living in a terrible age. The threat of terrorism and the push to eliminate the very idea of a superior being are realities that will not do any of us any good. Unless we return to the roots of Western thought and to the Judeo-Christian belief in a kind and just God who has a purpose for all of mankind, we will continue to unravel within a world of our own undoing.

ANDREW MCCARTHY

Leesburg, Va.

Can we use a sports metaphor here? Imagine the Boston Red Sox selecting the pitcher who will oppose them in a playoff game with the New York Yankees. How credible is that?

Within minutes, I read Tod Lindberg ( in “Liberalism’s classical roots”) in The Washington Times and David Brooks in the New York Times extolling the merits of Peter Beinart’s New Republic essay on how Democrats ought to change basic elements of their political strategy and policy.

Imagine — two leading conservative Bush supporters whose political philosophy and written opinions are diametrically opposed to everything progressive Democrats embrace promoting Mr. Beinart’s piece. Without reading Eric Alterman’s dissection of Mr. Beinart’s proposal (The Nation, Jan. 10), Democrats need only analyze who the promoters of the scheme are — or to stay with the sports metaphor: Who’s choosing the pitcher for the big game?

JOAN SALEMI

West Springfield

The nerve of the United Nations

According to the article “U.N. official slams U.S. as ‘stingy’ over aid” (Page 1, yesterday): Jan Egeland, U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, has criticized the United States for sending insufficient funds to Southeast Asia to aid victims of the recent earthquake and resultant flooding. This undersecretary also has suggested that this country can come up with more funds by increasing taxes.

Gee whiz. Where was this international genius during the scam of fraudulent skimming of funds in the Iraqi oil-for-food fiasco? Most of us would suggest that the United Nations stop dragging its feet and speed up the investigation into that serious affront to mankind.

When the perpetrators of that crime against the poor Iraqi people can be located, there should be more than sufficient funds in those bulging bank accounts to cover any aid that Southeast Asia might need — and, in addition, to supply enough cash to get a potentially free Iraq back on its financial feet.

This is much of the problem with that nonsensical organization, the United Nations. Its officials have titles that take longer to express than the work they perform.

TIM J. DAVIS

Flower Mound, Texas

Although it doesn’t surprise me to hear the United Nations whine about the amount of disaster relief the United States has sent to tsunami victims, someone should tell Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland that if people want to donate more to disaster relief, there is no law preventing them from doing so.

Before suggesting that countries increase taxes to fund disaster relief because their people “want to give more,” Mr. Egeland should have opened an English dictionary and looked up the definition of “give.”

As someone who is forced to “give” to fund such a corrupt organization as the United Nations, I can assure you that I don’t want to give another cent.

RICK NERWIN

Washington

Canada, Spain, Germany, Ireland and Belgium have pledged $1 million each to aid victims of this week’s devastating tsunami, while Australia has pledged $10 million. The United States has pledged the largest single amount thus far, $15 million. Nevertheless, U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland told reporters we were being “stingy” with our financial aid and suggested that if we would just raise taxes on our citizens, we could give more.

I have a better idea: Let’s take every last dime that the United States gives to fund the United Nations and redirect that money to relief efforts. It’s the only humanitarian thing to do.

CHUCK MUTH

President

Citizen Outreach

Washington

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide