Letters to the Editor

Readers write about being more open to different religious beliefs, why tar sands oil is no better than any other kind of oil, different kinds of theft, and why art is an integral part of everyone's life.

We should be more open to the religious views of others

Regarding the Feb. 26 article, "Some British Christians feel oppressed in the public square": Near the end of this article, author Mark Rice-Oxley writes, "Christians should also be mindful of how they would feel if roles were reversed, says Simon Barrow, codirector of the theological think tank Ekklesia. How would a Christian feel if, for example, a nurse offered them an Islamic prayer?"

If it were me, I'd accept the gesture. I would welcome prayer from anyone, if that prayer was for my well-being.

The article also cites an example of a woman losing her job for wearing a cross at work. Why should wearing a cross or any other piece of religious or secular jewelry get someone fired? Granted, everyone should be sensitive about not imposing their beliefs, but surely we can be open to other views without saddling such strict guidelines on our places of employment.

Jane Bullard
Elsah, Ill.

Tar sands oil will still pollute the air

Regarding the Feb. 19 article, "Obama off to Canada to tighten ties": Author Susan Bourette rightly identifies Canadian tar sands oil development as a possible issue of contention.

Canada strongly supports its tar sands oil development, even though the industry's expanding greenhouse-gas emissions are inconsistent with the Obama admin-istration's commitments and actions to fight global warming.

Recently, the Pembina Institute released an analysis that shows that the US is to invest over six times more per capita in renewable energy and energy efficiency than Canada in the new stimulus package.

Dirty fuels such as tar sands oil are not compatible with fighting global warming and building a clean-energy economy.

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz

Senior attorney, National Resources Defense Council

Washington

There are different kinds of theft

In regard to the Feb. 25 article, "Can a 'Day of Sharing' save the music industry?": Theft of property and theft of intellectual property do have something in common: In both cases, someone gets something without paying for it. However, that is where the similarities end. Robert Gibbs does more harm than good by making the comparison, even if he is using it as a tool of awareness.

In property theft, the injured party has a net worth less than he or she did before the theft. In file sharing, the injured party loses potential revenue that might have been gained. The party who is injured is also different in the two cases – theft of property injures the person who possessed the good without injuring the people who made it, while copying a file does not harm the person you copied it from, but reduces incentive for the original artist to produce more. The fact that these things are different doesn't mean that stealing music is ok, but those who try to convince us they are the same thing are being dishonest.

Kyle Harman
Birmingham, Ala.

Art is an integral part of life

Regarding the March 2 article, "Art: a basic necessity of life": This article compels a rousing cheer. Author Barbara Cook Spencer's point is widely overlooked and yet so true: Everyone strives to find some form of beauty in their lives. As my mother was fond of pointing out, "Even primitive man felt the need to paint in his caves." Art and music are necessities of life.

Julie Pabst
Shrub Oak, N.Y.

The Monitor welcomes your letters andopinion 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 may appear in print or on our website, www.CSMonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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