I’m a retired Department of the Army civilian. Not often do I find fault with your newspaper. However, the Rumor Doctor column touched a nerve, particularly the Jan. 11 column “ ‘Poo Pond’ illness rumor doesn’t pass smell test,” about the smell of latrines in the war zone. The galimatias contained serves no useful purpose other than to fill space.

Drop it and, if you need to fill the pages, publish articles by Dr. Ruth, The Huffington Post or even Xaviera Hollander. I dare say all are more entertaining than The Rumor Doctor.

Martin Aiara

Barcelona, Spain

Sins separate from customs

A comparison between biblical prohibitions against homosexuality and such things as eating shellfish or trimming one’s beard are occasionally brought up by the undiscerning to mock Christianity (“ ‘Don’t ask,’ surf and turf,” letter, Jan. 5). Let’s see if this comparison is valid: In Leviticus, God gives his laws through Moses on sin, which is universal to all humanity, and his laws on holiness for his chosen people; the tribes of Israel.

God’s laws on morality carried specified punishments for specific sins, such as the death penalty for incest, adultery, bestiality, homosexuality, etc. God’s special prohibitions — the difference between clean and unclean foods, for instance — were for the Jewish people and set them apart from the surrounding nations. These requirements were exclusive for and to them. With the coming of the Messiah, certain holiness customs were relaxed.

With Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we now live in the age of grace. Thus we don’t stone adulterers, we don’t execute homosexuals. But we still stand against sin.

I am a gentile Christian, not Jewish. But whether Jew or gentile, God’s definition of sin remains the same: Homosexuality is a grievous sin before God, eating shrimp is not. The two are no way comparable, except to the biblically illiterate.

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah serves as warning of God’s judgment against homosexuality. We invite the same wrath as a nation by publicly endorsing sin. As Benjamin Franklin affirmed, God judges nations.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” should indeed be repealed, replaced by the outright prohibition of allowing homosexuals to serve in the military that had, up until Bill Clinton’s presidency, served our country well back to the time of our founding.

Patrick Wyett

Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

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