- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Keep the faith

If I were a Christian, I would be more concerned about the long-term prospects for my faith after reading the Rev. Robert Norris’ column “Discrediting faith” (Commentary, May 17) than I ever would be about anything the movie producer of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” could show me. Religious convictions seriously shaken and stirred by a novel turned into a movie betoken a crisis that tells us more about the viewer than what is being viewed.

There are no proofs regarding the veracity of any faith, only witnesses. Serious and provocative challenges to the truth of Christianity have been around for a long time in the writings of people such as Michael Baigent, Robert Eisenman and Hugh Schoenfield.

However, with people increasingly disinclined to read, as indicated in “Publishers fear drop in reading” (Page 1, Saturday), Mr. Norris can safely ignore those challenges and instead focus his invective on a fiction writer who merely figured out a clever way to make a buck.

Mr. Norris may be correct in his assessment that “The Da Vinci Code” attempts to rewrite history, refashion Christianity and reinvent the truth.

However, it does not follow that the moral consequences for our society are that we will replace “truth” with a “lie.” Instead, we may seriously reconsider the kind of thinking that was occurring more than 2,000 years ago when the choice was between the “full retail” religion, my religion, Judaism, with its 613 commandments, or a whole host of other, potentially palatable alternatives and their progeny.

Kosher pastrami, anyone?

Or as the prophet Jeremiah put it with less panache: “In the end of days, ye shall see it clearly.”

BARRY ISAACS

Arlington, Va.

Frivolous complaints about Gen. Hayden

Objections to Gen. Michael Hayden as CIA director (“Repairing the CIA,” Commentary, Saturday) ignore Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s decision to return William Donovan to active service as a major general to form the Office of Strategic Services, predecessor to the CIA.

He finished service in World War I as a full colonel and earned three Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Service Cross (second-highest award for valor) and the Medal of Honor (highest award for valor), among other awards. Imitating FDR for this appointment signals determination to return an ossified bureaucracy to significance in time of war.

The Senate is acting reprehensibly by arranging election-year theater around Gen. Hayden’s confirmation and National Security Agency surveillance. Electronic surveillance is a most-secret program and should be known by only a vital few in Congress.

Our basic constitutional liberties are not endangered by interpreting administrative laws, arising from 60 years of extraordinary prosperity and remote hostilities, to protect this nation from calamitous, barbaric cruelty.

We are forfeiting an exceedingly precious and perishable opportunity, choosing to enlighten terrorists about their vulnerabilities and energize them to enhance their communication security.

The 2001 legislation “to use all necessary and appropriate force” obviously included the full spectrum of communication intelligence because it has been a precondition to, and inherent within, successful military operations at least since Sun Tzu discussed “foreknowledge” more than 2,000 years ago.

NOLAN NELSON

Eugene, Ore.

Pandering on immigration

The Senate loves to congratulate itself on being the world’s greatest deliberative body, but senators are engaged in a frenzy of approving some of the most radical and destructive legislation in the nation’s history under the guise of “reforming” immigration.

News organizations have been fixated largely on what to do with the 12 million to 25 million illegal aliens in America, while the Senate plans to admit staggering numbers of legal immigrants — at least 66 million over just 20 years — essentially eliminating the concept of illegal immigration by enacting stealth open borders (“Illogical amnesty bill,” Editorial, May 18).

Knocking down borders accomplishes another goal for Washington friends of the global economy, that of negating American sovereignty in favor of a European Union-style North American Union, which includes a shotgun marriage with Mexico.

This is no conspiracy theory; it was explained openly in last year’s Council on Foreign Relations paper “Building a North American Community.” President Bush and numerous legislators are working quietly to dismantle the nationhood that more than a million in uniform died to protect.

In earlier times in our history, the purposeful destruction of American sovereignty would have been deemed treason and handled accordingly. Today, the ruling elites see ending borders as good for business, and let the country be damned.

The survival of America as a sovereign nation depends on the moral strength of a handful of House members to stand strong against the president and Senate in the upcoming legislative showdown.

BRENDA WALKER

Berkeley, Calif.

According to history, wise and thoughtful statesmen who would not be rushed precipitously into rash action once populated the Senate. The current debate over immigration reform, however, makes it clear that is no longer true. Instead of protecting our national sovereignty and our identity as a nation, our senators pander to powerful interest groups, carefully calculating each vote so as not to jeopardize their chances at re-election (“Immigration bill’s timeline hit,” Page 1, Monday).

Watching the Senate in action should remind us that our nation could, as did the Roman Empire, fall. Early Romans honored tradition. Results and personal gain mattered to the Roman people, but they considered it more important to do things in accordance with tradition and the rule of law. Unfortunately, as their empire grew, later Romans dishonored those things. They cared more for their creature comforts and less for their obligations and responsibilities. Rome slowly came to be ruled by an avaricious and disorderly mob, a mob that allowed itself to be bought off with its own wealth by politicians.

Similarly, we Americans dishonor our traditions. Too often, we let our leaders disregard the Constitution that is supposed to restrain their lust for power. In return, our leaders buy our votes with our own money and false promises. In return for some free health care, road improvements, and educational benefits, we let our leaders ignore the rule of law. We worry too little whether the Constitution ever authorized our leaders to do what they promise.

We sacrifice tradition and the rule of law for nothing. In the long run, our leaders will not deliver on their promises. Ever since Democrats lost majority status, all they think of is regaining that power. That is why, I think, Democrats almost reflexively oppose anything Republicans propose. If they can help it, Democrats will never permit Republicans any successes. Unfortunately, it would do little good to put the Democrats in power. Republicans have and would behave much the same way.

Are we doomed to repeat mistakes of the past? Hopefully, this nation will experience a revival of interest in history. Hopefully, we will learn once more to honor tradition and the rule of law.

RICHARD T. SALMON

Gainesville, Va.


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