Letters to the Editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the Editor

Compiled by Vail Daily staff
Vail CO, Colorado

The necessity of virtue

For being so anti-religious, Mr. Zalzanick’s recent article on the supposed fading of the religious right was so prophetic sounding I almost thought I had picked up a religious text instead of the local newspaper. That aside, many of Matt’s characterizations of the Religious Right are outrageous and many are misleading. Furthermore, for being a supposed “advocate of tolerance” and rational inquiry, his tone is denigrating and depends almost wholly upon emotionally laden phraseology rather than any kind of argument. This is not media; it is simply defamatory propaganda.

For instance, he states that the religious right opposes stem-cell research. This is simply false. The fact is that the religious right (RR) is very supportive of scientific endeavors that advance healthcare. Historically speaking, religious groups have a strong history of encouraging medical advances and founding hospitals. The RR simply does not wish to build mankind’s future upon the graves of the innocent and helpless. These advances in medical technology can be made in other ways that do not require turning abortion clinics into human harvesting factories. The history of the slave trade shows what can happen when dehumanizing activities are linked to economic incentive. Apparently, Matt is not concerned with learning from this terrible episode of world history. Beyond this Matt thinks the RR desires to re-institute segregation. This is ridiculous, and not even worthy of refutation since he does not give any support for why he thinks this is so.

In fact, the RR believes that all human beings share a common ancestor. Every one of us is part of the common human family; we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. But Matt does not believe in this nonsense found in the Declaration of Independence.

No, Matt seems to believe we are all equally the products of impersonal slime and random chance. And it logically follows from this that the state is the highest authority and all rights must derive from the whim of the masses. The Nazis would be quite comfortable with Matt’s philosophy ” so much for the Jewish and black minorities.

Matt is of the opinion that RR is opposed to caring for the environment. Supposedly, this is proven simply because they don’t fall down and worship at the feet of the myopic empirical data concerning global warming. This data, of course, is but a needle in a haystack of history.

So many people in the RR have a deep interest in caring for the environment and they have a rational basis for doing so. They believe that the world was created and entrusted to man by his creator. Man has a duty to his creator to be a good steward of what he has been given. That’s right, intelligent design provides an ethical basis, beyond simple self-preservation, to try and protect the world we live in. On the other hand, if the present state of the environment is just a big accident and its creatures will evolve to suit it, and if it is the course of nature that species go extinct, then tell me, what’s the big deal if a bunch of animals get knocked off by the guys at the top of the food chain? Evolutionary theory provides no rational basis for Matt’s concern for the environment. Even based upon a self-preservation theory, evolution provides no real motivation for long-term care for the earth. Why should a self-interested individual waste his short existence worrying about a future that does not concern him?

Religious conservatives, on the other hand, have moral and practical reasons to try and find solutions to human and environmental needs. They do not, however, endorse a “hands off” approach that irrationally destroys human productivity. The book “Crunchy Cons”, which of all places was given air time on Robertson’s 700 Club, illustrates wonderfully that conservatives have as large a constituency interested in the environment as any other group. The stereotype of the RR as money-grubbing industrialists falls far short of the truth.

While Matt paints a picture that marginalize the values of the RR, the fact of the matter is that these values are more widely held by society than Matt would like to acknowledge. The RR tries to promote personal virtue as well as a civic system that supports these virtues or at least does not contradict them. Many people beyond the pale of the RR desire to see their children grow up and have healthy sexual relationships. They want them to have families that are financially and emotionally stable. The lifestyles that Matt praises so much do anything but promote these goals. These loose and fast lifestyles have caused a number of my friends to commit suicide, murder, suffer from disease, unwanted children, as well as extreme emotional dysfunction. I don’t think these are the kind of results that most Americans would characterize as the wonderful products of freedom.

Whether the RR’s political influence is doomed to fade soon I do not know. I am not so spiritually gifted as to play the part of a prophet. What I do know, however, is that there is good to be found in this world and it’s worth fighting for. If there is hope this is where it lies ” the daily struggle to pursue virtue, both personally and civically. I would respectfully submit that we would do well to remember the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”

John Hemmerich

Eugene, Ore.

Support State Bridge

I was awakened by stunned phone calls this morning telling me of the fire at State Bridge. After work, I was compelled to go there to pay respect to the place that gave me so many great memories over many years.

Many of you in the community have great memories of State Bridge as well and have been treated as family by all of the people that have worked there. Now it is our turn as a community to help Scotty and the State Bridge family in their time of need. Contact them at info@statebridge.com to show your support and see what you can do.

Remember the Bridge.

Chris Chester


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