From the Revd Crispin Pailing
Sir, — In assessing the impact of
George W. Bush’s re-election (
Comment, 12 November ), the Revd Joel Edwards writes that "there is
broad support among Americans in general on issues that tend to be associated
by the media with so-called ‘bigoted’ Evangelicals," and he cites abortion and
gay marriage as examples. The implication of this way of thinking is that
majority public opinion on a subject somehow validates it and redeems those who
hold such opinions on a religious basis.
This is not true. The worldwide debate over initiating conflict in Iraq in
2003 highlighted the divergence between majority public opinion in the United
States and the views of many Churches and church leaders both there and in this
country. Wherever that matter now stands, the moral debate was not focused in
any way by American opinion polls. Similarly, there are issues in this country
such as capital punishment where I should be concerned if majority opinion were
to be considered a significant factor in a moral debate.
I should agree with Mr Edwards that we do not want a separation between
religious values and secular government; but government is for all. When
religious values are converted into concrete policies that are exclusive and
condemnatory, divisive or even war-mongering, then we have to worry not that
Bush presents "God as a Republican mascot", but that he presents the
Republicans as God’s legislator.
12 Clarence Gardens
From the Revd Jean Mayland
Sir, — In your edition of 12 November, there is praise of the Americans for
making religion an election issue, and condemnation of John Kerry because he
did not give religion sufficient place.
All I can say is that being anti-abortion, anti-gay and biblically
fundamentalist is not the kind of Christianity I embrace. A secular European
Parliament that rejects the Italian nominee because of his views of gays and
women is nearer to the Christian values that I hold.
I admire Mr Kerry for holding on to his regular attendance at mass while
refusing to bow to the Roman Catholic hierarchy and condemn stem-cell research.
I also admire him for rejecting Clinton’s call to gain cheap votes by refusing
to support gay marriage. Maybe we could offer a man of such integrity a top job
in our Parliament.
JEAN M. MAYLAND
51 Sands Lane
From Mr David Williams
Sir, — I find Simon Parke’s argument circular (
Features, 12 November ). He judges Tony Blair, in my view unfairly, as
a man on the run from his past, a compulsive person who can’t see anything
through to completion.
Unfortunately, as Mr Parke also claims, "You cannot judge someone and know
them — one practice excludes the other."
153 Crompton Way