you so much for your insightful article on those who do not
adhere to any faith [“There but for the Grace of God,” Feb.
6]. I am an atheist, and the frustrations I have with our
president’s cozying up to religious zealots were beautifully
articulated in the piece.
I am someone who believes that religion played a key role
in toppling the twin towers, and I am dismayed to see my own
government answering this with more religion. I think people
need to know exactly how Thomas Jefferson felt about Christianity,
and the quote from him featured in the article brought a smile
to my lips.
Separation of church and state is being eroded here at home,
and overseas the war on terrorism is being turned into a war
of Judeo-Christians vs. Muslims.
Since most religions are intolerant of others, I advocate
leaving religion completely out of public life. If not for
the sake of pragmatism, then for the sake of decency and taste.
I might also mention that I have found numerous chat rooms
on the Internet filled with atheists, agnostics, Wiccans and
other “heretics.” These chat rooms have taught me that religions
do not hold a monopoly on moral behavior or fellowship. In
fact, the nonbelievers I know are some of the most ethical
people I have ever met.
The article could not have been more topical or timely. Thank
you so much.
To the Editor:
just had the pleasure of reading “There but for the Grace
of God” in the Feb. 6 issue. I, too, am a humanist and have
come safely out of the closet now that the children have left
home to be on their own. Many of the public school teachers
in rural Maryland still unofficially support Christianity
in the education of the students! The children and I most
certainly could not profess a nonbelief and still be accepted.
Yes, belief had to be faked to avoid being ostracized.
This article has given me the courage to contact my other
humanists to have one of our local papers interview us! There
is no reason that nontheists should be hidden in society.
Contrary to many believers’ creeds, we do have ethics and
care for all human beings, including the believers.
Perhaps when I retire, I shall relocate close to Albany to
be close to both my biological family and my humanist family!
To the Editor:
you for the article by John Rodat. Myself being a humanist,
I have never encountered any animosity from neighbors or relatives.
It may be that I just don’t care, or perhaps that I don’t
socialize with intolerant folks. Don’t know. I can say that
being a humanist is very satisfying both to the intellect
and psyche. Thanks again for the article.
for the needy have sought to highlight the impact budget cuts
could have on area families [Newsfront, Jan. 9]. However,
while much of their focus has been on the state budget, harsh
cutbacks that were made by local government at the end of
last year have received little attention.
One of the most damaging budget cuts was made in Albany County
Executive Michael Breslin’s 2003 budget when he included a
million dollars less for the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance
Program (LIHEAP) as part of his fiscal plan. While county
legislators did make some changes to Breslin’s proposed budget,
they failed to add funding to LIHEAP.
By letting the ax fall, Breslin and county lawmakers reduced
a budget category known as Energy Crisis Assistance from $8
million to $7 million—a 12-percent cut. As a result, reports
have indicated that 1,100 fewer seniors and needy families
will receive assistance this winter. Niagara Mohawk’s Jan.
8 announcement that they expect winter heating bills to increase
by between 25 and 35 percent underlines just how serious this
situation is. It also reminds us that county government should
have stepped up to the plate in meeting the needs of families
struggling to pay winter heating costs.
While New York’s two United States senators—Hillary Clinton
and Charles Schumer—want the federal government to pick up
the slack when it comes to energy assistance, Albany County
has turned its back on this issue. By doing so, county officials
have been a big disappointment and made this year’s cold temperatures
even worse for many people in our community.
Williams is a man not only possessed with a blazing artistic
ability, he was/is always working to improve his art [“Picturing
a New Tomorrow,” Dec. 12, 2002]. While I felt he would go
into commercial arts or teaching when I knew him (what did
a business/psychology major know?), it was obvious he would
follow his own muse at least outside his regular job.
The most interesting part of the article was the discussion
of the New Paltz teaching methods. That someone of his ability
had to fight against the perception of a hairstyle in addition
to their race is just ludicrous.
I am so glad Yacob felt able to strike out in his artistic
endeavors and wish him continued success in both his career
and the development of the arts and cultural center. I can’t
think of anyone more qualified to be leading the way on the
project (Yacob and I were roommates briefly at SUNY New Paltz.)
P.S. Unrelated, I also agree with the Hot Tuna Review in the
same issue. Jack Casady is one of the most underrated musicians
in the history of rock & roll. After another banner year
in concerts here (Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, the Damned,
etc.), Hot Tuna was the show of the year.
Thank you for the ear and keep up the nice work.
and More Like 1984
dealing with the issue of a potential war with Iraq, there
are many aspects to consider. There is carnage on both sides
that has yet to be publicly justified and also the political
currency the idea is generating.
I’d urge a rereading of Orwell’s 1984. There was a
controlling state and a real or imagined threat from a real
or imagined enemy. So long as the population remained cowed
and frightened, they blindly supported the unbridled action
of their government.
As citizens, we have to raise our voice and our words to question
what’s going on. We are entitled to a voice and we must use
may be a good adjective for these times.
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