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Out of the woodwork

Re: Policing the pros and cons of prayer (Oct. 25). It's remarkable how quickly the religion-haters come out of the woodwork when any public figure indicates he is favourable to prayer and to organized religion as a whole. Given that Winnipeg police Chief Devon Clunis's followup comments make it clear that he was not proposing to replace standard policing methods with divine intervention, but rather was emphasizing the importance of community action, I must ask just what is the motivation of all the critics.

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Has such an approach been tried and found wanting? Should we rest easy knowing that the non-religious approach to crime has worked so well? Or is it merely that we should all distrust anyone who is public about religious belief?

Whatever the reason, this incident has not brought out the best face of religious tolerance.


Catholic Civil Rights League



Re: What's so bad about having faith in our city? (Oct. 24). Thanks so much to Lindor Reynolds for her intelligent, thoughtful and balanced approach to the controversy stirred up by Devon Clunis's statement on prayer and concrete action for our city.

Imagine the transformation that could take place in Winnipeg (and our country for that matter) if rabbis, imams, priests and pastors would all encourage their flocks (our citizens) to pray for the leadership in our city and our country.




Devon Clunis has my vote for the next prime minister. He has the chutzpah to speak of his beliefs, and be condemned by them. Come on, you lazy-minded people of Winnipeg, get off your haunches and find something good in this city.

God is good, whether he be of Jewish, Sikh, Mandarin or Timbuktu bent.




As a veteran of the RCAF and CAF, I was dismayed to read that Judy Tyler (Letters, Oct. 25) had been praying daily for the success of our enemies. Fortunately, she must have been praying to the wrong deity, since I managed to survive my more than 40 years in the service unscathed.

On reflection, I should remind myself that our Armed Forces serve to ensure that Tyler has the freedom to pray for any cause she chooses to support.




Your Oct. 24 online poll asks, "Could the collective power of prayer help combat violent crime in Winnipeg?" But one of the provided responses doesn't answer the question: "I find this suggestion to be offensive or inappropriate."

Any of the other responses to the question, from "yes" to "unlikely" and everything else in between, can be part of constructive dialogue in an open society.

But to deem an idea as out of bounds, and not allowable even to be uttered in public, doesn't seem to be consistent with open inquiry. It seems to be the product of the most closed of minds.




On Oct. 24 and 25, you published 18 letters about police Chief Devon Clunis's belief that prayer will help to lower the city's crime rate.

It is unusual for you to devote much space for one subject. With all the news happening nationally and internationally, should you not leave some space for other readers to have their say on other matters?



Questioning the stats

After reading Winnipeg Regional Health Authority representative Brenda Dyck's Oct. 22 letter, Auditing cleanliness, I have to ask what then constitutes a hand-hygiene opportunity, "realized or missed"?

I think if a survey is done, it should provide useful data. When patients are examined behind closed doors and those exams aren't included in the stats, how relevant are the stats? How many hand-hygiene opportunities occur in view of the surveyor?

Let's say 1,000 patients are examined. If 700 of the exams occur behind closed doors, then the sample size of 300 is not representative of the issue and the results would have an astronomically high margin of error.

So, how about the WRHA revealing the methodology and sample size of its survey before we go making assumptions? Saying that Dr. Norman Silver's handwashing wouldn't affect the outcome is a useless statement without context.

Stop trying to justify wasting yet more of my tax dollars surveying something and just implement a peer-pressure plan that other jurisdictions have used to increase handwashing.



Meeting energy needs

Re: Gas made from air, water, fuel of future (Oct. 23). The drive to replace oil and other hydrocarbon-based fuels is more ideological than scientific. Gwynn Dyer argues that "as temperatures rise the pressure to decrease greenhouse gas emissions will grow," thereby continuing the obfuscation.

Although the quest for new technologies is a worthy one, our immediate energy needs can easily be met by natural gas at very economical levels.

According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Canada has one of the world's largest reserves, a reported 100-year supply at current levels of usage.

Natural gas reserves have been found in many countries around the world, allowing for energy independence for many of them. Natural gas is one of the cleanest-burning fuels.

It can easily meet the world's energy needs until technological advances make future fuels economically sensible.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 29, 2012 A12

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