Readers write: The meaning of protection, value of female friendship, views of the Irish, solutions for homelessness, language associated with discrimination

Letters to the editor for the June 4, 2018 weekly magazine.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor
Willa Boezak, a Khoi San scholar and activist, speaks in his home about the Afrikaans language on March 6, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The meaning of protection

Regarding the March 22 Monitor Daily article “For gun owners, a core belief: guns make us safer”: I appreciated your article. It was easy to read, clear, and precise. 

I am a 70-year-old white woman, college-educated, and I live with my ailing older husband. We have never owned a gun. 

I understand the deep desire to protect one’s home and family. But my way of protecting has always been to have respect and concern for others – neighbors, community, friends, and strangers I meet – and show interest in their lives. I try to do my part in helping others broaden their views of our society, culture, and ways of living. Defensive postures are not enough: To be fully human requires reaching out with compassion and understanding to other human beings. Otherwise we are just armed camps, fearful of outsiders.

Marsha Moyer

Lakeside, Calif.

Value of female friendship

Regarding the Feb. 13 Monitor Daily article “ ‘Galentine’s Day’: Why the appeal of ‘ladies celebrating ladies’ endures”: I believe meeting with “the girls” brings lasting supportive direction, joy, and freedom.

Carol Young

Omaha, Neb.

Views of the Irish

Regarding the March 16 Monitor Daily article “Dangerous blarney? Behind a web narrative on Irish ‘slavery’ ”: My father, who was of English ancestry and who grew up in rural Missouri and Kansas, touted his employment by an African-American during the Depression. He was proud of his inclusion of all “God’s children” as part of his Christianity. But when his young sister married an Irishman, it was clear that he did not approve. It was the only time I ever heard my mild-mannered father criticize a man or a people. We thought he was just trying to be funny. Perhaps he wasn’t.

Lynn Austin

Hendersonville, N.C.

Solutions for homelessness

Regarding the April 23 & 30 Points of Progress article, “In Finland, many fewer homeless”: This was an excellent article. This is exactly what needs to be done in the United States. 

I live in San Francisco, and the situation with homelessness is critical.

Dawn Isaacs 

San Francisco

Language associated with discrimination

Regarding the April 16 OneWeek article “A more complex view of Afrikaans”: As an American student attending the College of William and Mary who was born a few years following apartheid’s end, I found it absolutely fascinating to learn that a language could not only be associated with such discrimination as an entity in and of itself but that it continues to be contested and associated with such beliefs and practices today. I would be quite excited to read more pieces like this that explore questions of identity many seem to take for granted, myself included. 

Please extend my thanks to Ryan Lenora Brown, the writer of the article. I greatly enjoyed her piece and appreciated the hyperlinks to further readings.

John Williams

Williamsburg, Va.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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