Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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June 03, 2009 - MidWeek
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Misinterpreted

Although I tend to agree with Jerry Coffee’s column regarding the issue that the state should not sponsor days celebrating religions, his review of an interpretation of the Quran was ill-informed.

Christians and Jews also have alarming scripture from the Old Testament (about women, war, sin, slavery) and a variety of interpretations in the New Testament, as does Islam. There is the “letter of the law” and the “spirit of the law.” I am certain that we could find 10 rules that oppress and insult women in both the Old and New Testaments.

The bulk of his column and his conclusion that the scripture he cited “is the system that so enamored the ladies of our Legislature” only serve to feed the stereotypes of our Muslim brothers and sisters. What is true is that there are liberal Muslims and there are conservative Muslims.


 

To his credit, Mr. Coffee briefly mentions that Muslims in Hawaii might not live strictly by Muslim law at the end, but he can’t undo the damage done by the bulk of the piece.

By the way, I just returned from a “peace mission” teaching in Pakistan. If it’s worth three minutes of your time, see the snips of “Letters to America” written by my students at http://www.colormatters.com/travel/pakistan/letters.html.

It might be enlightening.

Jill Morton
Kaimuki

It’s in the Bible

Jerry Coffee’s column condemning “Islam Day” is on thin ice when he quotes passages from the Quran to prove that Islam oppresses and insults women. To be “fair and balanced,” he also should have listed similarly outrageous quotes from the Bible. There are lots of them. One of my personal favorites goes: “You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:22-24) Presumably this includes marital rape, even domestic abuse.

Then there’s the one that goes: “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.” (Exodus 21:7-11)

If these passages aren’t insulting and oppressive to women, I don’t know what is. And to think some people believe these passages are the inerrant word of God.

Fortunately, most Christians and Jews don’t take such Biblical passages literally any more. The same is true of many Muslims regarding passages in the Quran. Are the extremes in the Christian and Jewish religions representative of the whole? Of course not. Neither are the extremes in Islam.

Unfortunately, conservative commentators like Coffee only talk about things that further their hate campaigns.

J.B. Young
Honolulu

Church benefits

I’m astounded by the naivete expressed in Bob Jones’ column, and subsequent letters from Mike DeWeert and Bob Heidrich, in favor of taxing church properties. I haven’t done the math or studied the statistics, but my experience tells me that the net gain to society far outweighs the property-tax exemptions given religious grounds. I can only speak for my church organization, but we don’t lobby on political issues, don’t tell our very diverse congregation how to vote, or rake in piles of cash. We do assist the homeless, feed the hungry, rescue people struggling with addictions, comfort the sick and dying, raise funds and volunteer for local charities, give teenagers a sense of purpose that reduces/prevents delinquency, volunteer in the prison system to reduce recidivism, teach moral values that make congregants better citizens, neighbors, employees and employers - and on it goes. The amount of property taxes diverted from our meager facilities would not begin to offset the good being done by our people through the vehicle of the church, and we are but one small church.

Since more than 80 percent of Hawaii’s population identify with some faith tradition (based on a Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey published March 7 by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin), I doubt if taxing their houses of worship out of existence would make any legislator who proposed it reelectable.

All the calls for the religious folks to stay inside the church and keep silent on issues of public policy ignore the fact that religious believers are citizens too, with a right to voice their views, individually or en masse. (And nobody called for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King to stay out of the public dialogue about racial segregation, or for the Rev. William Sloan Coffin to keep silent during the Vietnam war.)

Gary Langley
Kaneohe


GOP just fine

I must respond to Dan Boylan’s column “Worried About The GOP’s Future.” I disagree with the premise that the GOP is “bereft of leadership.” This is something Democrats are spewing to pollute and dilute the efforts of many fine GOP leaders. The selection of Michael Steele as national party chair was brilliant. Mr. Steele, with his fine career as a prominent Republican, is a person of great integrity, as well as one who can win elections. He is a very fine leader.

To term the former vice president as “discredited” is another means with which Democrats often try to define Republican Party leaders. This is not only false but hateful. Dick Cheney is a loud voice for protecting our nation. Our present leader seems to be lacking the skills to recognize dangers to our national security. Cheney has the courage to speak out when he feels national security is being compromised. He should be commended for his willingness to put country first, despite all the Left’s attempts to vilify him.

What I see under the Obama administration is a talk first and learn later approach, which is not only naïve but dangerous for our country. It seems that Obama speaks and later gathers information, which forces him to reverse his positions. At the urgings of Cheney and others, Obama decided not to release photos of prisoner abuses perpetrated by a few individuals who have already been identified and prosecuted. This was a wise decision by the president, but not one he made without second thoughts.

Further, this administration’s reactions to North Korea so far have been abysmal as that nation thumbs its nose at the U.N. and the world, while Iran looks on eagerly to see what it too can get away with under the pretense of Obama diplomacy. Mr. Obama will come to realize that many of the Bush/Cheney decisions were correct and made with care and foresight.

As for Rush Limbaugh, leftists define him as a GOP spokesperson when the mood fits. Mr. Limbaugh is a staunch conservative who calls it as he sees it, criticizing both parties for their shortcomings.

Carolyn Goodin
Kaneohe

Aloha justice

For Aloha Airlines former employees and the many who loyally flew with the local carrier, it was some sort of redemption when Judge Lloyd King made the decision to prevent Mesa’s subsidiary go! the use of the demised carrier’s name. It has been a little over a year since Aloha Air was driven out of business by go!‘s unethical business practices that affected thousands of employees and their families.

For my wife, who has been an employee of 48 years with Aloha, and her fellow employees, it was a moral victory. Many are still struggling since they became unemployed, but at least this latest ruling by Judge King has given them a lift in their spirits to go on.

Gary Takashima
Waipahu

Correction

Last week’s MidWeek’s Coverstory - Cleaning up Hawaii’s Messiest House Due to unforeseen circumstances at The Style Network, the Clean House: Search For The Messiest Home In The Country episode featuring the Jones family from Niu Valley aired on Wednesday, May 27, 2009. It is scheduled to re-air on Wednesday, June 3 at 6 p.m. and then again that night at 9 p.m. (Hawaii time).

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