Letters

In news reports on the elections, just the facts, please

In his Nov. 7 Opinion column, "If Democrats control Congress, then what? Don't ask the media," Dante Chinni says media should explain to voters what change would mean before they vote. I barely trust news outlets to accurately report what did happen. I'm not going to take their word for what it would mean to have a Democratic Congress in 2007.

Reporting what is happening is the job of the news media; theorizing about what Congress will do next year is not. The former is journalism; the latter is editorializing. Mr. Chinni's appeal to see more of the latter sounds like it springs from a desire to affect the election instead of just report on it. If journalists want to affect the election, I encourage them to vote.

The government works for us. When you hire people who turn out to be incompetent, you don't give them another chance just because you aren't sure that someone else will do better. You throw them out. That's a stark message to the next public employees that they must do better. The Republicans lost the House, and it was because they deserved to lose – not because the media didn't do its job.
Chuck Seggelin
Fitchburg, Mass.

How to foster interfaith dialogue

Regarding Dave Hunt's Oct. 31 Opinion piece, "Pope's call for dialogue: one Christian's response": Unfortunately, Mr. Hunt's message on the issue of interfaith dialogue was deficient. I was disappointed that he was not able to rise above the "we are the true religion because the Bible says so" mentality.

He argued that past attempts at dialogue have been less than successful, and that, therefore, dialogue is a waste of time. However, dialogue is only the beginning of the real solution, which is forging a relationship. Relationships are the beginning of love. If people don't talk to each other, and more important, listen to each other, there is no relationship, and we never reach the stage of love and respect.

Fortunately, Jesus was the example. He was someone who knew that the essence of life was not doctrine but love. He ate with sinners and forgave his enemies. Many Christians today are so sure they are right that they have forgotten the real message of Christ, which is to love, not judge, others.
Mark Anderson
Mesa, Ariz.

I write in response to the two Oct. 31 Opinion pieces, "Pope's call for dialogue: one Christian's response," by Dave Hunt, and "Pope's call for dialogue: one Muslim's response," by Asma Afsaruddin. People should remember two facts: First is the claim of both Christianity and Islam that salvation and reconciliation with the Creator can be achieved solely through faith in only one of these religions. The second fact is that there are irreconcilable theological differences between the two faiths. It is reasonable, then, for Mr. Hunt to conclude that there is no space for a fruitful dialogue between the two beliefs.

But if there is any hope for a successful dialogue, it lies in a search for a modus vivendi among all faiths that promotes reason, mutual respect, and the golden rule of treating the other as one would like to be treated. Mutual accusations lead nowhere except to more suffering.

Before dialogue can occur, however, it is up to Muslims to prove that they don't harbor any ideas of forcing others to embrace their faith. This is needed to alleviate non-Muslims' fears, which result from the violent acts committed by some Muslims against themselves and the world. The responsibility for this reassurance lies mostly with Muslims who live in the West.
Sabry Fawzy Gohara
Toledo, Ohio

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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