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placeholder February 9, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Unhappy surprise

Thank you for publishing the article (Voice, Nov. 24, "Complications face Muslim world, ex-CIA Officer says") on the Islamic tendency to at best ignore and at worst hold in contempt the virtue of patriotism common in the West in favor of the family, the tribe and the clan. As someone who has spent the last several decades traveling and living in various Muslim countries both in Africa and the Middle East I can attest to Thomas Patrick Carroll's concerns.

As a country that began with colonists, then pioneers, settlers and finally (with the invention of the steamship and later jet travel) immigrants, we have become used to people coming to the United States and bringing their various cultures with them while also respecting and in many cases admiring the history, tradition and culture of the United States as well. Usually within a few generations these people assimilate into the wonderful tapestry of citizens whom we today call "American."

Sadly I do not foresee the same outcome with respect to those who practice the Islamic faith now migrating to the United States. In addition to emerging from environments with no history of the Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian/Anglo-Saxon heritage of the emancipation of women, the separation of religion from government and the rule of law — their beliefs in Sharia Law are not the same as the Hindu Manusmriti, Jewish Halakha or even our own Canon Law. Whereas other faiths understand and recognize the substantive arguments of Natural Law and its complementary interaction with Civil Law — especially with respect to those who do not believe or recognize their respective faiths — the adherents of Sharia Law have historically tolerated no independence from any civil authority.

As these Islamic migrants increase, I predict Catholic-Americans who are unaccustomed to the atmosphere of Islamic society will certainly undergo quite a surprise when Samuel P. Huntington›s "The Clash of Civilizations" reaches our shores. Unfortunately for a nation accustomed to tolerating people of other faiths, this surprise will not be a happy one. Europe is already discovering this.

David Yuers
Walnut Creek

Blurred lines

If we accept the Biblical duality of Creator and creation, the idea that we can be "divinized" should disturb us because it blurs the line between Creator and creation. Without this line, we will never act out the humility toward the Biblical God that is required to receive His Spirit.

If we view ourselves as God, we will not reach outward toward Him to enable us to be "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). The word "partakers" can also be translated "fellowship." Without this humility, we deprive ourselves of a relationship with God. The pantheistic god has no problem with this. We can be vessels of the Spirit and one with Christ, but this does not make us God or Divine. In Scripture, creation is never Creator.

The term "becoming God" or the word "divinization" should never be used in the pantheistic sense where everything is god. As the world becomes more non-Christian, the tone of these words becomes increasingly important because they have the ring of pantheism. For some, this may be deliberate because of the increasing use of non-Biblical spiritualities within Christianity.

On Jan. 9, Pope Francis correctly said that "Courses in yoga, Zen meditation, even extensive studies in church teaching and spirituality can never free people enough to open their hearts to God and his love."

The Pope is shedding light on a growing phenomenon in the Church that substitutes our own efforts at enlightenment for the true enlightenment that comes from unconditional trust in Christ.

Peter Aiello

Christian persecution

When will we wake up? Christians are the most discriminated and persecuted religion in the world as reported by Pew Research. According to the UN our religious rights in the United States are slowly being restricted. Will we wait until its too late?

The first thing to do is to let our politicians know we will not tolerate this here. Next, our government must let the world know that we will not tolerate this. Unless other countries actually crack down in their own country it will cost them our financial and political support.

Where are our religious leaders? Pious pronouncements are just hot air unless something solid follows: homilies, establishing action committees/groups, public pressure, refusal to support politicians who will not help, a bit of help by our bishops, etc. We are so docile in this growing threat that I am frightened.

Clifford Wiesner

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Letters to the editor provide a forum for readers to engage in an open exchange of opinions and concerns in a climate of respect and civil discourse. The opinions expressed are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the Catholic Voice or the Diocese of Oakland. While a full spectrum of opinions will sometimes include those which dissent from Church teaching or contradict the natural moral law, it is hoped that this forum will help our readers to understand better others’ thinking on critical issues facing the Church at this time.

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