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Voice: Letter about Christian natin didn't tell whole story

June 24, 2002

My note is in response to the recent letter to the editor by Mr. Ray Rose of Holtville. He wrote that this country was founded on Christian ideals and still should, in response to a letter by Lisa Turner.

I just wanted to point out to Mr. Rose that some of his examples don't tell the entire story.

For one, he says two- thirds of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were pastors or laymen in the church. These same, so-called Christian men and laymen of the church also owned slaves and in some cases even fathered children by these slaves while married. Owners of slaves included our founding father, George Washington.

He also mentions it was "the hunger to worship Jesus Christ freely" that bought the first settlers to this land. They were fleeing religious intolerance in their home countries — other so-called Christian nations. Ironically, they came to this country and practiced the same intolerance as others did to them. Examples are the Salem witch trials and the treatment of the Native Americans. Where were the Christian-principled men when the new Americans moved westward?

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Yes, please read your history books because you will find that it took people from ALL walks of life to build this great nation, not just Christians. In fact, some of those so-called Christian men and women were the most un-Christian in their actions.

Finally, you say there is no democratic Muslim nation that you know of and in fact there are several — Mali, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia (the latter three also had/have women heads of state, something this Christian nation has yet to do). Just go to the Internet and type "Muslim democracies" and see what comes up.

Also, our government does not help foster democratic institutions in these countries like we do around the world. We happily deal with despots, murderers and the like because we want their oil. We couldn't care less about democracy in Saudi Arabia as long as the price of gasoline stays under $2 a gallon.

Democracy survives because people follow and LIVE by certain principles. There have been many people who have espoused these principles — Jesus Christ is one of them. So democracy survives not because the people of this country go to Christian churches but because they live by these respectful principles as taught by their religions.

Islam is not a religion of hate. Neither is Buddhism, Catholicism or some of the native beliefs. These "religions" have common principles of love, respect, giving and tolerance. And you don't have to go to a church to understand or practice them or to be a good person. It's just that people don't always practice what they preach.

Mr. Rose, your words, though well-restrained, speak of your intolerance. When you say words like "liberal press" in an insulting manner, what do you think Jesus was? By all means, read your Bible again. If fact, read the Koran as well. I wouldn't think that would be a sin, do you? This time when you read your Bible, try not to apply the principles to politics first, but to your own life.

LAURENCE LIGON

San Francisco/Brawley

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