Now that it has been established that God is alive (Cover, April 12), the next question to ask is does it make any difference in the way we live our lives? To use God as a crutch and a hope that no matter what we do in this world God will receive us with open arms is not making this world a better place to live in. What matters is how much we are aware that we are accountable for our actions.
Mubaschir Inayet, Scarborough, Ont.
What do you mean God is alive? Who are you to judge God’s existence? If anything, your survey proved that faith is alive and well in Canada. But please, do not insult those of us who do have faith in God by concluding that our faith has anything to do with God’s existence. We know God is whether we have faith or not.
B. Nestegaard Paul, Saskatoon
A major breakthrough in news reporting— serious treatment of Christianity in Canada. Will the findings of Angus Reid’s “revealing new study” give legitimacy to the concerns of evangelical believers like myself? Many of us are intelligent, educated, tolerant and compassionate. Yet we are portrayed as laughable caricatures or dangerous bigots. Why is this unjust stereotyping perpetuated, when political correctness vociferously prohibits disparagement of other groups in society?
Wendy Elaine Nelles, Don Mills, Ont.
Your religion poll was very informative, but I have one major regret. The results of this poll are based mostly on Roman Catholics and Protestants and leave aside our testimony and faith as Eastern Orthodox Christians. Our church is largely represented in Canada among ethnic communities like the Russians, Ukrainians and Greeks. But we are growing in the general population, as well, and establishing new missions and parishes using the two official languages of this country.
Very Rev. Archimandrite Nicolas Giroux, Mother of God of the Passion Brotherhood,
Your poll results mask an important change that has been affecting Christianity ever since the French philosopher René Descartes uttered his momentous phrase—I think, therefore I am. “God is alive” accord-
ing to the poll because, in spite of media indifference, the vast majority of Canadians believe in God. The believing subject is what determines the existence of God, while the non-believing subject determines God’s non-existence. In the end, the various differences between “believers” and even “nonbelievers” are not nearly as important as the similarity, which is that the domination of the self is the determiner of all reality, including the reality of God.
Rev. Mark Parent, Assistant professor, Department of religious studies Mount Allison University, Sackville, N.B.
Assume just for a moment that Maclean’s is right and God indeed is alive. Imagine the depths of despair and sorrow He or She must feel when confronted by the carnage and slaughter carried out through history. Organized religion continues to accentuate the perceived differences between people, which leads to intolerance and acts of inhumanity. Surely God died of shame many years ago.
We have just read about the decision not to proceed with fraud charges against 127 Canadian diplomats who allegedly submitted more than $300,000 in false travel claims (“Fraud case dropped,” Canada
Notes, April 5). We are outraged. This decision tells us that we are second-class citizens of this country, as we would certainly be charged for committing such a crime. No wonder we have great financial problems.
Edna and Howie West, Tillsonburg, Ont.
Eject, evict, expel
George Bain (“Patronage and a journalistic sin,” Media Watch, March 22) was so out of touch in writing about the Senate that he sounded like a ‘Triple-E” member: exorbitant, encysted and embarrassing. Most Canadians will tell you that any party wanting the full support of the electorate should change the Es to eradicated, eliminated and expunged.
Contrary to what Peter C. Newman would have his readers believe in his column “Allan Taylor’s deal of the century” (Business Watch, April 5), the takeover of Royal Trust by the Royal Bank does not mark the “death knell of Canada’s entire trust industry.” It would seem that he has little understanding of the trust business and his research and conclusions are flawed. He omitted to mention National Trust, a large, profitable and well-capitalized trust company that fully intends to remain “in the game,” as he puts it. We have successfully competed with other large financial institutions, including the banks, since 1898 and believe we will continue to do so for many years to come.
Rowland W. Fleming, Deputy chairman, president and chief executive officer, National Trust, Toronto
Newman states that Royal Trust executives had an estimated $50 million in loans forgiven by the Royal Bank. Presumably, they are largely responsible for the mess that Royal Trustco is in now, so why should their reward be forgiveness of debt? This is tantamount to buying back shares at their purchase price of $6.75.1 wish somebody would buy my shares—now worth about 50 cents—at that price.
Lorimer Whitworth, Montreal
Letters may be condensed. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone. Write: Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, Maclean Hunter Bldg., 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W1A7. Or fax: (416) 596-7730.
The question, “Why is this woman smiling?” which graces the cover of your March 22 issue along with a photo of Defence and Veterans Affairs Minister Kim Campbell invites an answer. Perhaps this thought was crossing her mind at the time: “So, the media and the Canadian public are hankering for a Bill Clinton of their own. Won’t they be surprised when they get a Canadian version of Margaret Thatcher. Oh, what fools these voters be.”
Robert Collins, West Hill, Ont.
Kim Campbell may be smiling, but she can rest assured that the law-abiding firearm owners of Canada are not. She and the Conservative party will find out what we think of them and their ridiculous gun control legislation come the next election. We are tired of being the scapegoat for this country’s crime problems, of being burdened with stupid regulations that do nothing to deter criminals, of having our personal property confiscated without compensation. This fall it will be time to resort to the ultimate weapon: the ballot box.
Kevin Ferguson, Aylmer, Ont.
After Kim Campbell bared her shoulders, apparently most Canadians decided that she was the best candidate for prime minister of Canada. Last year, the Canadian people made it perfectly clear that they would not be pushed around by politicians. This year, it seems that they have regressed to having an
adolescent crush on someone behaving like a Hollywood hopeful. My vote will go to a party that promises to cancel the Free Trade Agreement.
Marie Chapman, Ottawa
Instead of elaborating on Kim Campbell’s electability, you would better serve the Canadian public by questioning all political party leaders and the Conservative leadership candidates on their policies. If you could obtain and publish a straight Yes or No answer from all leaders and “wannabe” leaders, you would help the voters to judge the contestants on the basis of their stated policies rather than on their popularity standing based on questionable opinion polls.
Jerry Kasanda, Egbert, Ont.
Kim Campbell should be weeping, not smiling: while in office she did nothing to reduce the deficit; she went along with convicted murderers being paroled; she showed no concern about 60,000 unborn Canadian babies being murdered in the womb; for several months she kowtowed to the media; she lost a leadership convention where the people knew her best.
Gordon E. Taylor, Former MP for Bow River, Alta., Edmonton
Cheers to John McDermott for his beautiful renditions of the auld songs (“Sweet laments,” Music, March 29). Sweet laments, indeed. These sad ballads are holy to me and everyone else who went through war—how well I recall my father, a veteran of the First
World War, singing The Old House at the regimental supper. So, thank you, John, and “long may your chimney smoke.”
Margaret M. Button, Dundas, Ont.
Between the lines
As an American, I am mystified, vexed and not a little embarrassed by the large numbers of my fellow citizens who seem to have a gun fetish (“Faith in firearms,” World, March 22). I should like to point out that what many such gun lovers believe is “the treasured right to bear arms, enshrined in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution” is not really enshrined there. At a time before there was a standing government-run army, the Second Amendment allowed the right to bear arms so that militias could be formed for the people’s collective defence—which has nothing to do with individual yahoos today going around shooting up their neighbor’s property. The amendment says, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Why do such people read the phrase “the right to bear arms” and forget about the rest of the sentence? Perhaps, they’re too busy fondling their guns to have time to read.
Marian Van Til, Lewiston, N.Y.
‘While there is hope’
When horrible crimes are committed, we soothe ourselves with strong reactions, but often give short shrift to more difficult proactive approaches. Harsher punishment and tougher parole for sex offenders may be justified, but it is not a solution (“The greatest fear,” Cover, March 1). The average sex offender will commit 350 offences before he is stopped, at which time his treatment prognosis will be dismal, and a significant proportion of his victims will have gone on to offend against others. Despite the fact that most sexual perpetrators begin offending as adolescents, resources for their treatment are scant at best. As a therapist with a residential treatment program for adolescent sex offenders, I am dismayed to see the lengths to which parents or other advocates must go in order to obtain treatment for these youngsters while there is still hope. Society needs to recognize that we must pay now or later. Now is better.
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