ISSUE | TERRORISM
Call it like it is
The term "radicalized" is misleading, dishonest, and tantamount to making excuses for those who engage in terrorist activities.
There are many examples of how language is used to distort, diminish, and disguise the reality that we are at war with Islamist terrorists. The "violent extremist" tag can be applied to anyone with extreme, violent tendencies and is inaccurate, because it does not properly identify those who plan and execute acts of terror in the name of their religion.
Why do the media and government officials insist on assuming that many Islamist terrorists were the victims of radicalization? Because it fits the victimization narrative. That narrative makes no demands of responsibility. Consequently, we are led to believe that many of today's European- and American-born Islamist terrorists were nice, quiet, peaceful folks until someone slighted them or denigrated their religion.
Are we to believe that we were the culprits who drove those fragile souls to those who would radicalize them to the extent that they opted to kill instead of debate? The mainstream media have become apologists for terrorists and are lost in a fog of political correctness.
|Steven Wenick, Cherry Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org
Preying on fear
I am dismayed by the relentless news commentary and, worse, the transparent political leveraging, of how scared we are of terrorism in the United States. It reminds me of the breathlessly expected Ebola epidemic that never came. Remember our ridiculous attitudes toward some Africans in our midst, while thousands die of the flu each year without remark?
We hardly respond as hundreds of us are massacred at the hands of our own citizen-terrorists.
We offer thoughts and prayers and stuffed toys - and move on.
The remote Islamic State threat to us is a bright, shiny thing that cable news and politicians are skillfully using for their own purposes. What really alarms me is how many of us are so easily manipulated. Bad things happen in countries like that.
The ISIS threat to our country will be managed, and we need perspective. When did we stop being the "home of the brave."
|Joseph B. Baker, West Chester
No room for bias
On behalf of the Religious Council of Greater West Chester, representing Roman Catholics, Jews, Quakers, Unitarians, Latter Day Saints, Protestants, Muslims, Baha'is, and Buddhists, we reject the call to trample the citizen and human rights of our Muslim friends and neighbors. This paranoia challenges who we think we are and claim to be.
We reject demagoguery that feeds on fear and ignorance. People need to become informed. Visit a mosque, engage Muslim neighbors, or say hello to someone who seems different. We encourage public support for the rights of all Americans, and we reject universal guilt for the actions of a reactionary few.
We must challenge anyone who seeks to selectively persecute our neighbors, thus assaulting the core of any society - mutual caring and respect. To do less rejects the idea of community and what it means to be an American.
| Rev. Annalie Korengel, pastor, Unionville Presbyterian Church; Faith Woodward, Birmingham Friends Meeting; and Jeff Heim, Calvary Lutheran Church
ISSUE | SECURITY
Focus on nuclear weapons, climate change
While the Republicans and Democrats discuss security in their debates, the greatest threats to American security - nuclear weapons and climate change - are largely ignored.
Although the immediate concern about terrorism weighs heavy on the hearts and minds of many of us globally, especially after the recent attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Egypt, it is with great hope, urgency, and maturity that we must celebrate the achievement of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference and focus on the longer-term concerns of the world's volatile arsenal of 15,000 nuclear weapons and the Earth's accelerating climate change. Both of these existential dangers for humanity require immediate and sustained attention.
I would like to see debate moderators challenge presidential candidates to provide their platforms for keeping us safe from these long-term dangers.
|Tammy Murphy, executive director, Project for Nuclear Awareness, Philadelphia
No confidence in immigration screenings
With the admission that we don't have the personnel to properly vet people entering the United States, FBI Director James Comey said he understood Americans are jittery, but citizens should try to channel their awareness into vigilance, not panic ("Couple talked about jihad before they married," Dec. 17). In other words, "You're on your own" - preferably unarmed.
|Stephen Hanover, Doylestown
ISSUE | PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Hardly a "Rocky" moment
When Jordan Matthews scored a fourth-quarter touchdown on a defensive breakdown by the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night and did a Rocky Balboa imitation in the end zone, I couldn't help but think: Are these players that clueless? Half the stands are empty, you're down 20 points, your record is about to fall to 6-8, the long-term trajectory of the team is absolutely hopeless - and you're imitating Rocky? ("Can't get a grip," Monday)
After the game, when asked why DeMarco Murray got only two carries, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur gave us the same laughable explanation that head coach Chip Kelly has been spouting, essentially saying they were rotating running backs and last season's NFL-leading rusher would have gotten more chances if they would have ran the ball better as a team. Really? These banal explanations are an insult to every fan in the city, across the country, and around the world.
Someone needs to show this team some highlight videos of Brian Dawkins, Reggie White, and Dick Vermeil. Then, maybe, they'll understand that you don't do imitations of Rocky unless you're winning. And you don't disrespect your fans by lying to their faces.
|Chris Lang, Bethlehem, email@example.com
ISSUE | DEADLY FORCE
Upsetting police work
On a Thursday morning in April 2012, the son of a close friend of mine, Thomas Hennelly 3d, was shot and killed by a black Philadelphia police officer. Tom was white and unarmed.
On Sunday, an article in
The Inquirer finally addressed this tragedy, after 31/2 years ("A suspect shooting"). The article stated that the case had been mishandled by the Police Department's Internal Affairs unit, and after time, the officer involded gave different stories about the shooting.
If this had been a white cop shooting an unarmed black man, the entire country would have been in turmoil, and there would have been protests throughout the city.
At the time of the shooting, there was a small mention of it in the paper, and that was the end of it. So much for white privilege.
|Mike Krakovitz, Drexel Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE | JESUS
Christianity has had its dark times
The legacy of Jesus, as detailed by Robert J. Hutchinson's commentary, is the benevolence of Christianity spanning 2,000 years ("Who was Jesus of Nazareth, anyway?" Sunday). However, there is - quoting popular mythology - a Dark Side.
The followers of Jesus have created a papacy that is riddled with corruption; formed armies that fought brutal wars; promulgated centuries of anti-Semitism and brutality in the form of the Inquisition; sent forth crusaders who marched across Europe to Jerusalem, murdering hundreds of thousands along the way; sponsored internecine struggles between different sects of Christianity; and, most recently, supported a priesthood that has for decades, if not centuries, indulged in pedophilia.
Victims of Christianity are strewn across those same 2,000 years.