May 19 1980


May 19 1980


The wings of death and taxes

As an ex-Canadian fighter pilot who had to eject on his first flight in a CF-104 Starfighter when the single engine failed, I am only too cognizant of the sense in the recent government decision to buy the twin-engined F-18A (New Wings and a Prayer, Canada, April 21). But may I point out that while Canadian politicians have been procrastinating and navel-gazing over the decision for a decade, many fine young fighter pilots have been meeting their deaths flying hopelessly obsolete aircraft with totally unforgiving flying characteristics. The military’s lack of faith in the government will not be changed by a decision 10 years late.


Your article depicting the paraphernalia of war leaves me feeling sick with fear. As a Canadian I would like to know why my government is spending its money on arms that I, as a taxpayer, do

not want my country to own. Is it really a luxury, as one top Canadian defence official is quoted in your article as saying, to live under the American nuclear shield? “Like it or not,” he adds as a proviso. Well, like it I do not. The very idea of living under all that potentially cataclysmic nuclear hardware makes my Hesh want to creep off its bones in anticipation. If we live under this glorious shield to begin with, must we emulate the warmongering fools to the south and waste public funds on our own? If it ever does come to a confrontation between the U.S. and U.S.S.R., Canada’s participation will be of very little con -sequence; if we blow up the northern hemisphere once we will be just as dead as if we blow it up a thousand times. Why waste our money on overkill?


More original sins

So the CBC is going to scrap Ombudsman and Newsmagazine but keep the fifth estate and Man Alive? (Gnashing at ‘The National,'Canada, April 14). If the CBC had a wormy apple it would throw the apple away and keep the maggots. GEORGE BOURGAULT, ST. BRIEUX, SASK.

God and sex and Barbara

Congratulations to Barbara Amiel for her understanding of the foundation from which true believers make their judgments about life and death (Dia-

loguing Out of the Valley of the Shadow of Sin, April 14). No matter what one’s faith, one has a set of standards by which one makes decisions. In the case of Christians the measuring stick is the Bible, believed by Christians to be the total revelation of God and His principles to mankind.


Once again Barbara Amiel has managed to combine her rare gifts for distortion, insufferable arrogance and plain old bad taste into a piece of extraordinarily shabby journalism. This may come as a surprise to her, but the definition of sin as alienation is not the trendy invention of a United Church task force, but has long been used by Christian theologians to describe our state of separation from God and our fellow human beings. The United Church’s task force on human sexuality, regardless of how one reacts to its conclusions, has attempted to address the frightening potential for human alienation that contemporary attitudes toward sex present, and which mere moral prohibitions are no longer able to prevent.


I have just read Barbara Amiel’s column on the United Church’s task force on human sexuality. I am a minister of the United Church and secretary of our local branch of the United Church Renewal Fellowship. I want to commend Ms. Amiel for the article, and for the way that it challenged all of us. The sentence that especially stands out for me is, “If churches believe that whenever a pressure group or a new school of socioeconomic ‘science’ appears on the horizon it is the whole moral experience of Judeo-Christianity that has to be adjusted, the point is soon reached when they no longer know whether murder is right or wrong.” She has really touched the heart of the matter there.


As I read Barbara Amiel’s column on the United Church of Canada’s task force I could only think of a certain kind of absurd political pamphlet. Her inaccuracies, distortions and non sequiturs surpass anything I have read for a long time. I disagree with her suggestion that I (or the task force) feel that the church has nothing to say to its members (and to the secular world in general) about human sexuality—the fact is that the study is replete with specific guidance. What I said is that Jesus Christ commanded his followers not to judge others. We have tried to offer help and direction to our people, help which takes the Bible more seriously than Ms. Amiel’s article does, and at the same time to do it without judgment or condemnation. As to her suggestion that we think sex is all right in any circumstances, between any persons, or with animals, I can only deny it absolutely and wonder out of what motivation she writes. Certainly in this study we have tried to listen to what the human sciences say about the meaning of sexuality, while being very aware that they too have biases. Her charge of our being overinfluenced by “FreudianMarxist-Systems-Analyst-Flow-ChartDesigners” is ridiculous. In fact, we worked extremely hard to get beyond the values and ideologies of our own culture, as well as the conventions and attitudes of the writers of the Bible in order to rediscover what God has to say through the Bible to our actual situation. The church for 19 centuries has been caught in the struggle to discover how to live in grateful, radical response to God, as Jesus did. To reduce the study’s moral standards to some subjective definition of honesty is completely inaccurate. Honesty, though vital to good relationships, is far from the only criterion we offer, and I am at a loss to know where she got the idea that it is. She couldn’t be more wrong.

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I am writing in response to Barbara Amiel’s column on the United Church’s task force, and I would like to say “Right on! Barbara, right on.”


Accentuating the negative

Thank you for David Weinberger’s very interesting piece on negative ions (Finding Happiness in a Good Ion Ratio, Health, April 14). However, the minimum cost of an ionizer is not “about $240.” A one-room model is currently available for $140. As for the reported attitude of the federal and, for that matter, the provincial governments too, if the Health Protection Branch is so concerned, why is it not investigating, testing and researching the subject instead of being bugged that someone else is not doing it?