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Your Views: Christians have waged violence against Muslims in past
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Tack Cornelius' column (July 17) was a reply to a previous editorial written by Joan King which had eloquently illuminated the violence of the Old Testament.

Mr. Cornelius is a fine writer and he presents his view well until the last paragraphs. He extends a contrary position that the larger problem of today's world is not war by religion, but rather war by ideology and ambition. Unfortunately, his carefully structured point of view falls apart completely upon his interesting use of tense when he writes: "But Christians are obviously not waging a concerted holy war in America, or anywhere else, like that being waged by radical Jihadists around the world."

Notice he is very careful to use the work "are" as his driving force for this point of view. Without careful attention one could easily skim his choice of word here and thereby miss how far off the mark of truth the spirit of his writing may be.

The problem here is that the enemy we are fighting does not so carefully parse words. They know what we are loathe to admit, that Christians have over centuries waged holy war in the name and under the banner of Christ.

From 1095 until 1255, Christians from many nations waged 12 crusades against the Muslim world and diligently bathed the Middle East in blood. Those of our faith have wrought carnage that far outweighs the killing by current-day Jihadists. On one day alone in late July 1191, Richard the Lionheart executed 2,700 prisoners who had surrendered and lain down their arms.

Mr. Cornelius advises that Ms. King would have us parse violence while he deftly parses history. We need wisdom by transparent debate rather than the ignoring of the reality of history by the use of present tense.

President Clinton would be proud of Mr. Cornelius: "It depends on what the definition of "is" is.

Mike Hawkins
Murrayville

Then and now: Could we write a Constitution today?
Sunday morning while enjoying the newspaper and a cup of coffee, I read a story concerning the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq. The theory is that upon our withdrawal the Iraq government will take over and peace and democracy will reign.

I, on the other hand, believe that we will see a bloodbath of unprecedented magnitude. I have little faith that democracy or civility will ever exist in that part of the world. I pray that I'm wrong.

While pondering that gloomy prediction, I started thinking about the origins of democracy in America. I wondered: What if the United States were being founded today, not 230 years ago? Would those principles so treasured today be incorporated?

To put it another way, imagine that Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Barney Frank, Harry Reid, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Al Sharpton and Rush Limbaugh were charged with visualizing and writing the Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc. Civil? No. Nasty? Yes.

I guess the question is: If so charged, could the American leaders and voices of today see past personal and petty differences to envision and develop those concepts today? Sadly, I do not believe it possible.

And so, maybe my gloomy prophesy regarding Iraq and their ability to grow into a society with civility and compassion as compared to the United States is not fair.

It makes me wonder how 230 years ago our humanly flawed leaders and politicians then came up with such a visionary plan. Now, most of our leaders are similarly flawed, but without vision nor compassion.

What's the difference between then and now? Maybe "then" they wrote with a guiding hand, and "now" we simply type.

Rick Chapman
Lula

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