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Dangerous ignorance

There seems to be dangerous ignorance about religious beliefs on the part of the so-called non-religious (Sermonizing on religion, politics and bullying, Letters, March 8). Everyone has a set of beliefs that informs their behaviour; no one is exempt.

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Those that claim that religion has no place in school or politics are actually forcing their narrow-minded belief on everyone else, while claiming some sort of higher knowledge about what's good for the rest of us.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Judeo-Christian world view is not the cause of all the wars in the world. Actually, it is the cause of more good than all other world views combined.

How many hospitals were started by Christians worldwide? How many colleges and universities? Tommy Douglas (the guy we can thank for health care) was a Christian. Martin Luther King Jr., a Christian minister.

Some of the slamming of religious beliefs in your letters are far more hateful and dangerous than anything they are trying to oppose.




I take exception to Tim Koop (Letters, March 8) saying that sexual orientation is low on the list of bullying. After 34 years of teaching high school, I have seen young people bullied for even a whiff of homosexuality, sometimes without even any provocation or evidence.

Anyone who has walked the halls of a school has heard the phrases "that's so gay" or "you fag." When I became the staff adviser for the gay-straight alliance at our high school, we changed the name to the Free to Be Club to avoid the stigma.

No, we did not have a hidden agenda, nor did we promote a gay lifestyle. We provided a safe place for students to come and socialize and provide support. We tried to educate the student body on the effects of bullying. We promoted the idea of being kind to each other. Imagine that.




Forcing Bill 18 down the throats of public and private schools is a violation of my rights. Whatever happened to going to school to learn how to read and write?

We have children graduating who can't read properly or do multiplication or division by hand or handwrite. But they know more about sex, masturbation and sex positions ad nauseam than I care to know.

We have cheated them of the precious years of learning by directing them to their passions and exploiting them instead of teaching them to control their passions and use their energies for something that would build character and virtue.




I am a straight, 20-year-old female Christian and I completely agree with Bill 18. I, along with many other Christians, am ashamed of the horrendous portrayal of the Christian religion in the media.

I would like to apologize for the judgment and hate towards the LGBT community. As a Christian, I believe that respect is the bottom line for everyone. It doesn't matter who you are -- bullying is always wrong.




Steinbach, it's worth the trip -- to the 14th century.




Re: Letting bullied kids be heard (March 8). To Pastor Ray Duerksen, I say simply that he should re-read John 8:7: "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone."

As for Brian Pallister and his "tall, geeky-guy club," I would remind him that 90 per cent of LGBT students report having been harassed or assaulted in the past year, that LGBT youth are six times more likely than non-LGBT youth to attempt suicide, and that being tall and geeky is not a protected class under the Charter of Rights or the Manitoba Human Rights Code.

It's also worth noting that religious leaders don't tell tall, geeky guys that they're going to burn in hell and that they are threats to civilization itself.




I had hoped that your reporter had misquoted the preacher in his March 7 story Sermon rips anti-bullying bill. But I listened to the whole sermon on the church's website and, to my dismay, found his words as reported.

As a Christian and a pastor in an evangelical Christian church, I realize that the pastor's words reflect on me by association, and I feel compelled to declare that I am ashamed of what he said.

I believe that he has misrepresented the faith we share and has presented a distorted reading of both the Bible and of the society in which Bill 18 is needed. He has brought the church into disrepute. This sermon is destined to become an example for the negative definition of "bully pulpit."



Time for a breather

Re: Anti-hate law failing: Matas (March 7). Maybe it is time for thin-skinned citizens concerned more with political correctness than issues of greater worth to stop, take a breather and think carefully about what they are doing.

John Stuart Mill wrote, "If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."

All opinions that do not advocate violence need protection from human rights rulings, which have a tendency to stifle free speech and free expression. Opinions that are unpopular crude, repugnant and even malicious still need protection from censors. If Gordon Warren is an anti-Semite, he deserves ridicule, not censorship. If Mr. Warren's writing has defamed Sandy and Robert Shindleman, these brothers should have redress through the courts.

But if his writing is deemed not defamatory and Warren's writing is still offensive to the Shindleman brothers, they have every right not to read his words.

But once we make laws for those whose feelings may be hurt, a police state may be not far behind.




I applaud the Shindleman brothers for going to court to stop a former city council candidate from further spreading anti-Semitism, as he did last September on posters in the downtown area. That Gordon Warren's actions were deemed by the Crown attorney's office as not meeting the criteria for a hate crime under Canada's Criminal Code could encourage more spreading of vile material.

A proper court ruling should end these malicious acts.



Typical NDP spin

Kudos to Martin Harder of Winkler for his March 6 letter, Pesticide ban a noxious idea. I can see the current government giving their typical spin to this special-interest-group survey of 498 people out of a population of 1.2 million and saying Manitobans want a pesticide ban.

This government is always promoting democracy, so my suggestion is to have some real democracy and put the banning of cosmetic pesticides to a referendum or on a plebiscite in the next provincial election to truly see what the citizens of Manitoba want.



Horn is the dilemma

Re: Historic retailer re-brands (March 7). On the Hudson's Bay coat of arms, the antlers would indicate that the two animals are moose, not elk, as your article states.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 11, 2013 A7

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