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Letters to the Editor for Monday, August 6, 2007

By STARS AND STRIPES | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 6, 2007

European and Mideast editions

(EDITOR?S NOTE: These are the letters that appeared in each edition of Stripes on this publication date. Click here to jump ahead to the Pacific edition letters)

View of camp is hypocritical

In “Atheist ‘revival’ bad for U.S.” (letter, July 13), the writer stated that he was disturbed by the existence of an atheist summer camp for children and that he felt it was brainwashing children. He also labeled the camp a "training ground for the atheist movement."

Can the writer not see the hypocrisy in his statements? Surely, there are at least 1,000 summer camps (not to mention a greater number of schools) in the U.S. that promote one religious view or another. Are these religion-based summer camps (and schools) brainwashing children? Are they training grounds for religious movements? By the writer’s logic, this would be so. However, I doubt that the writer would condemn them, as they promote beliefs that he supports.

As far as our nation being founded “under God, upon Christian principles and values”: Yes, the majority of our Founding Fathers were Christians but, in their great wisdom, they recognized that religion has no place in government.

Believe — or don’t believe — what one will: It’s one’s right as an American. However, it is one’s duty as an American to accept that belief systems other than one’s own have a legitimate place in American society.

Roy K. Fowler
RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom

America is about freedoms

The letter writer who contributed “Atheist ‘revival’ bad for U.S.” is sort of missing the point of what being a citizen of the United States is all about — namely, the freedom to express whatever religious views you want to, assuming they don’t infringe on others’ human rights.

I fail to see how an atheist camp is bad for America, especially considering the absolutely massive number of religious camps throughout the country. Accompanying your kid to atheist camp isn’t brainwashing him any more than sending him to any other religious camp, or making him go to church for that matter.

Our nation was founded under the principle that everyone, regardless of their beliefs, is equally deserving of protection under the law, hence the First Amendment protections regarding freedom of religion. Christianity did not make America great; rather, it was our commitment to preserving individual rights. The letter writer probably ought to be more concerned with the threats to America posed by radical Muslim terrorists who want to destroy our way of life in the name of their religion, or perhaps those posed by Christian fundamentalists who would make creationism mandatory in public schools, than the threat of some atheists having a picnic.

1st Lt. William Gunn
Forward Operating Base Orgun, Afghanistan

Don’t do deals with Saudis

The Bush administration wants our federal government to allow a $20 billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia and other nondemocracies (“U.S. says $20 billion arms sale will boost security in Mideast,” article, July 31). Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship. Its royal family is against democracy, equality, human rights and civil liberties. They don’t support freedoms of speech, press and religion. Women only have what little rights their men will allow them to have. The Bible is illegal, and any citizen who converts to Christianity can be executed.

Don’t forget that Osama bin Laden and most of the Sept. 11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

Some “experts” say that this advanced weapons deal will be a good counter to Iran. I wonder if these are the same experts who said that supporting Saddam Hussein would be a good counter to Iran. Look at how that turned out.

Our country should support secular democracies, not theocratic dictatorships.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, N.C.

Pacific edition

Don’t do deals with Saudis

The Bush administration wants our federal government to allow a $20 billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia and other nondemocracies (“U.S.: $20 billion arms sale to increase security in Mideast,” article, Aug. 1). Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship. Its royal family is against democracy, equality, human rights and civil liberties. They don’t support freedoms of speech, press and religion. Women only have what little rights their men will allow them to have. The Bible is illegal, and any citizen who converts to Christianity can be executed.

Don’t forget that Osama bin Laden and most of the Sept. 11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

Some “experts” say that this advanced weapons deal will be a good counter to Iran. I wonder if these are the same experts who said that supporting Saddam Hussein would be a good counter to Iran. Look at how that turned out.

Our country should support secular democracies, not theocratic dictatorships.

Chuck Mann
Greensboro, N.C.

Overpopulation not the issue

The writer of “U.S. is not crowded” (letter, July 26) made it clear that America does not need to worry so much about overpopulation compared to other countries. We must give overpopulation a rest.

I believe other, more important issues should be considered when illegal immigration is discussed. Millions of illegal immigrants swarm into this country. How can we be confident they are not terrorists?

Not only is America’s safety in jeopardy, illegal immigrants are getting health care, food and housing while some legal Americans who are in need are not getting these benefits. To top it off, when illegal immigrant couples have a child born in the United States, that baby is automatically an American. That is wrong.

Americans are catering to illegal immigrants and it appears as if we never want them to leave. We just want more illegal immigrants.

The June 18 letter “Curbing illegal immigration” mentioned that the illegal immigration crisis could have been solved earlier if people born on U.S. soil did not automatically become citizens. That is true in a way, but not allowing U.S. citizenship to babies will not end the illegal immigration dilemma. Some say the American government is splitting up families because the illegal parents cannot stay with their baby who is legally American.

There is no use whining. The parents should have followed the laws in the first place. The parents should return to their country of origin with their baby: A child comes from the mother, not from the country.

Lori A. Martin
Tracy, Calif.

Dinosaurs not so old

In the Associated Press article “Study: Dinosaurs shared Earth” (July 22), it states that “Dinosaurs shared the Earth for millions of years with species that were their ancestors.” Readers beware of what you are reading; there is no proof that dinosaurs were here billions, or even millions, of years ago. This is only a theory to support other theories.

Another theory, which has an even better foundation, is that dinosaurs roamed the Earth less than 10,000 years ago.

Through each period of history, one could find that “dinosaurs” or “dragons” have been around for quite some time; even possibly in this century. Babylonians worshipped dragons in 600 B.C., which can be found on artifacts depicting dragons and humans together. The Romans depicted dragons on vases and other artifacts from A.D. 2. St. George was famous for slaying dragons in A.D. 275. A coincidence?

Not only were there stories of dragons, but humans and dragons were also depicted together on artifacts found all over Earth. American natives in the Grand Canyon used to carve pictures of dinosaurlike creatures and pictures of themselves as well. How did the Indians know to carve pictures of dinosaurs on the rock walls? Maybe they hunted dinosaurs?

There are stories from the last century of unknown species sightings that most would say were dinosaurs. Aside from the Loch Ness monster in Scotland with more than 9,000 sightings, there is Chessie in the Chesapeake Bay, and Ogopogo in Okanagan, British Columbia.

Maybe there is more to this story than dinosaurs sharing Earth with ancestors. Maybe they are sharing Earth with humans as well; humans quite possibly in this century.

Maj. Mike Holt
Camp Fallujah, Iraq