Letters to the Editor - Dec. 28

December 28, 2011

Man who performed CPR is family’s hero

To the editor:

I have a wonderful story I would like to share to honor an amazing guy.

On Nov. 26, 2011, at 9:30 a.m., my mom got a phone call saying my pap, George Cunningham, had killed a deer and needed help dragging it out of the woods. My little brother went down with my mom to help my pap. My pap took the deer to my uncle’s house around 11:30 to skin it and to get it cut up.

While he was there, he was not feeling so well. He said, “I’m too old for this,” after which he fell over in cardiac arrest. Todd Welch, a volunteer firefighter who was there with them, did CPR and brought my pap back. In our minds and hearts, he will always be our hero. He gave my family the best Christmas gift ever.

My pap now has a pacemaker and is doing great. He gets to see not only his grandchildren grow, but he gets to see his great-grandson’s first Christmas. Thank you again, Todd Welch.

Kathryn Socks DeWalt

Separation of church, state is a good thing

To the editor:

I disagree with the opinion of a recent letter writer who takes issue with the concept that the separation of church and state is good for America. Every American should be aware that the government of America was not founded on the Christian religion. This is unmistakable from Article 11 of 1797 Treaty with Tripoli, which unambiguously declares: “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

Our second president, John Adams, signed the treaty, which was unanimously ratified by the Senate, and proclaimed it to the nation in June 1797. Thus, it cannot be written more clearly that even our founding fathers agreed that the government of America remain very strictly neutral regarding religion. Being neutral means belonging to neither kind and thus the government of the United States, even at that time, was thought of as separate from the affairs of religion.

Indeed, I recommend reading John Adams’ 1765 essay, “A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law,” for insights on just how passionate Adams, a religious person himself, was about keeping religion out of civil government. One quote summarizes the fear at that time: “Since the promulgation of Christianity, the two greatest systems of tyranny that have sprung from this original, are the canon and the feudal law. The desire of dominion, that great principle by which we have attempted to account for so much good and so much evil, is, when properly restrained, a very useful and noble movement in the human mind. But when such restraints are taken off, it becomes an encroaching, grasping, restless, and ungovernable power. Numberless have been the systems of iniquity contrived by the great for the gratification of this passion in themselves; but in none of them were they ever more successful than in the invention and establishment of the canon and the feudal law.”

I believe it was the fear of canon and feudal law that held the population in ignorance and without liberty which helped our founding fathers craft our Constitution and laws to forever preserve our liberty and avoid a return to those dark ages. The wisdom to keep civil government separate from religion held true then and holds true today. If one does not believe so, then I recommend they go live in one of the Middle Eastern countries that blends government and religion like Iran or Saudi Arabia and see if they have more or less liberties than here in America.

As the letter writer stated, we are closer to having our freedoms destroyed than most think, and I believe the quickest route to that destruction is if we allow civil government to become entwined with religion, which could be argued was our founding fathers’ worst nightmare.

Ernst Arnold

‘Demonize’ is often misused by conservatives

To the editor:

Remember the 2008 presidential elections, when the Obama camp complained that the conservatives were demonizing their candidate? Well, ever since that time, the term “demonize” has become a favorite word for conservative commentators and cartoonists. Unfortunately, they don’t actually know what the term “demonize” means. But they use it often and in all kinds of inappropriate contexts, especially when they feel that they need to give their sorry argument an extra punch — delighting liberal readers with the unintended humor.

So, for everybody’s benefit, let me take this opportunity to explain the meaning of the term “demonize.” Conservative commentators and cartoonists, are you listening?

A demon is a creature of pure evil. Everything a demon does is out of malice and with the intent to inflict harm. Thus to, “demonize” a person (and you can only demonize persons, never things) means to imply that the person acts with malice and with the intent to inflict harm.

By contrast, saying that a person acts out of arrogance, ignorance or negligence is not demonizing. We all, unfortunately, suffer from those human failings at times and may inflict harm unintentionally. Demonizing implies malice.

So, there you have it.

Because demonizing implies malice, it is not possible, for example, to demonize the stock market or to demonize oil-drilling. On the other hand, some conservative commentators have and still do frequently demonize Obama — for example, when they imply that he intends to bankrupt the country.

Hans K. Buhrer

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