Letters for March 27, 2003

God and America
What kind of people are we? I don’t see much grieving, remorse or sacrifice for this horror in which we are currently engaged. For most Americans, it’s business as usual, while an operation of genocide is carried out half a world away.

I guess it’s difficult for me to hold out a lot of hope when I see what some of the local clergy had to say on the issue of war ["Whose side is God on?” Newslines, March 20]. It made me think of what it must have been like for Southern ministers in 18th- and 19th-century America. They either praised slavery, finding some remote scripture to support it as part of God’s order, or they were out of a job.

It seems that not much has changed since then, and putting a spin on the Bible is still a popular pastime. Jesus would never have supported the idea of a “just war.” (God never takes sides—war is always the enemy), nor would he have felt any “conflict between [his] political and spiritual beliefs,” as Rev. Day so oddly rationalizes. For people to call themselves Christians and to find support for this war in their beliefs only shows me that they have a much larger political agenda than a spiritual one.

If I didn’t already belong to a humble, Christ-centered church, I think I might become a Catholic. Only Father DeLeon and Father Rome had the courage to call this war what it is: unjustified and “always a failure.” To those two servants of God, I say thank you and amen.

And to all the other Christian war supporters, please don’t tell me any more that God blesses America. These days I’m praying that God will forgive America.

Warren Haskell

Good Fit
On behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butte County (BBBS), I would like to thank Tony and Heather DeLuca and the staff at Fit One Athletic Club for the wonderful support they have given our organization. Fit One recently held a racquetball tournament in which proceeds were donated to BBBS. Events like the tournament sponsored by Fit One Athletic Club allows BBBS to expand our services and provide local youth with positive adult mentors. We are deeply appreciative of the efforts that the DeLucas and their staff at Fit One have given to help support our program.

JoAna Brooks
Executive Director


With us or against us
I have had the experience that if you say anything bad about President Bush or the war people will look down on you. Our own world views don’t allow for a gray medium in regard to this conflict. Well, I fully support our troops in Iraq, and I believe we should finish what we started. That doesn’t mean I have to support our president in getting us in this position in the first place, or even that I support the president at all. I just hope once we’ve taken over Iraq, that we find the weapons of mass destruction that we so vehemently informed the world that Saddam has. This is the only way we can begin to repair the bridges that we have torn down with the international community.

Melanie Jones
Butte College student

Life during wartime
President Bush attacked Iraq, an action that is unconstitutional, unnecessary and immoral. What can we do? Keep this war in perspective. The United States has survived World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Gulf War I, in my lifetime. We will survive the war on Iraq. Each war has seen restrictions on our civil liberties, but we have regained our rights during times of peace.

Do not indulge in violence as a protest; it is the use of violence that we are protesting. The end never justifies the means. Study the lives and philosophies of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

If you have religious objections to war, affiliate with an organization that will provide you with theological and emotional support, such as the Seventh-day Adventists or the Society of Friends.

If you are in the armed services, do not disobey a direct order. Read The Good Soldier Schweik, a manual for survival within the military.

In social situations and personal relationships bear witness to your convictions; do not deny your identity. But affirm your beliefs quietly and briefly, not in a confrontational fashion. Arguments antagonize the other person and solidify his position. You must respect his opinions if you want him to respect yours.

Keep in touch with others who share your views. Three Web sites for information and action are www.moveon.org, www.9-11peace.org and www.fromthewilderness.org; there are others.

Peace, brother!

Bill McCord

American dictator
Democracy at the federal level has disappeared. It starts by allowing only two corporate party candidates to be heard by and thus elected by the people. It gets worse by using an out-dated Electoral College system where your vote doesn’t count. It is finished under the guise of “fighting terrorism” by giving the president and any defense (offense) spending a blank check, no restraint and allowing them to operate in secret.

There are no longer checks and balances intended by out Constitution, as one man can now commit the ultimate act of terrorism….declare war.

Does this sound like the definition of a dictatorship?

Norm Dillinger


Coalition or collusion?
Let’s do the math: According to the “Webster’s World Atlas,” there are currently 192 nations in the world. The 45 nations comprising the “Coalition” and the “silent” nations supporting the United States represent 45 out of 192, or 23 percent of the world’s nations. This implies that 77 percent of the world’s nations—a significant majority—have chosen not to publicly or tacitly support the war.

Far more disconcerting is the fact that only 2 percent of the world’s nations (three out of 192) seem to have enough confidence in this war effort to put their troops in harm’s way. These percentages certainly do not—by any stretch of the imagination—seem to represent a very convincing “coalition” of nations.

Mark S. Gailey

Customer disservice
Today I was in several downtown Chico businesses to buy a variety of goods and services. I am a polite, patient customer. I spend money. In three out of five stores I was ignored, given bad information and had hours of my time wasted without the hint of an explanation or apology.

This is not uncommon here. Are downtown business owners sufficiently wealthy that they can alienate paying customers? Or are they failing to teach the college children staffing their businesses even the bare rudiments of customer relations?

The next time I order an expensive item and don’t see it, or at least get an explanation, when expected, I will get that item somewhere else. The next time I go in a business and get ignored for 10 minutes in favor of the computer or phone, I will never go back to that business. The next time I make an appointment to get a machine repaired, shape my entire day around that appointment, and find that nothing has been done—not even a parts list or estimate—I won’t go back.

I can do without Chico shops. Can they do without customers? If they run on “Chico time,” they will do without me.

Nelson Kaiser