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December 12, 2018

Readers sound off on God, cooperating witnesses and anti-Semitism

November 24, 2018
Not about religion, or lack thereof. (DAVID LONGSTREATH / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Religion can be very bad for you

Madison, Wisc.: Voicer Tripp Hoffmann asserts that “atheism is the most dangerous ‘-ism’ of all.” The basis for this claim is his allegation that a few serial killers were supposedly atheists. That’s a ludicrous leap, aside from the fact that Hoffmann credits at least two of his four named shooters with being atheists who were raised in religion or didn’t identify as atheists.

Clearly, were we to place a list of mass murders inspired by religion or committed by believers next to a list of nonbelieving mass murderers, the disparity would be jaw-dropping. We have only to look at major atrocities in recent history: the 913 victims of Rev. Jim Jones on Nov. 18, 1978; the 168 murdered during the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh (a Roman Catholic, who left a marked-up Bible in his motel room prior to planting the explosives); the 2,977 people killed by religion-based terrorists on 9/11, and too many mass shooters raised in religious homes to list.




Atheism has no teachings ordering adherents to kill believers, while most “holy books” contain bloodthirsty injunctions to kill apostates, “heathens” and those worshiping the “wrong” gods, along with so-called transgressors, such as gays. Religiosity is not synonymous with morality. Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-President, Freedom From Religion Foundation

God kills

Manhattan: Voicer Tripp Hoffman cherry-picked four killers who were atheists to “prove” that people who don’t get their morals from an invisible man in the sky are, by definition, mass killers. First, as Hoffman points out, about 3% of the American adult population are atheists. True, but he ignores the truth that less than one-half of 1% of our prison population is atheist. And on a worldwide scale, the least religious countries — like those of Scandinavia — are also those where crime rates are lowest and every measurement of human happiness and satisfaction are highest. The facts are incontrovertible: The most religious countries in the world, and the most religious states in the U.S., have the highest crime rates (including murder), and the least religious countries and U.S. states have the lowest. John Rafferty, President, Secular Humanist Society of New York

Heroes, not rodents

Summit, N.J.: I’ve been a Daily News reader for 15-plus years, but have had it with your persistent use of derogatory terms to describe cooperating witnesses who testify in the courtroom. Most recently, on Nov. 15: “1st rat bites Chapo.” These witnesses are not rats. They are heroic. They should be lauded for siding with law and order and protecting society. They put their safety, and the safety of their loved ones, in peril by testifying against despicable people. The use of terms like “rat,” “snitch” and “turncoat” perpetuate a negative stereotype and probably have discouraged at least a few from testifying over the years. Alan Kennedy

Little boy orange

Manhattan: How ironic that in her letter disparaging Democrats, Voicer Lisa Maniaci states “Nobody likes a crybaby.” We now have a big, bullying crybaby inhabiting the White House. Trump is a man who cannot speak, except in Twitterese, and is unable to look beyond himself. He totally lacks empathy. He has verbally abused women, a disabled reporter, a Gold Star family, Mexicans, the list goes on and on. In fact, he seems to only like middle-aged, white, wealthy males — mirrors of himself. I don’t think one needs a degree in psychology to see that Trump is a very disturbed man. Brenda Nicholls

Another one

Forest Hills: Shalimar Diner, which has been in business for 45 years, is closing on Sunday due to the greed of another landlord who wants to build another residential building! Queens is crowded enough. Shalimar has always served good food at good prices and with great portions (most people take home leftovers). It’s disgusting that no politician or community board fights for small business owners. Yet the Forest Hills/Rego Park community boards have allowed ugly McMansions to be built, destroying the look of the neighborhoods. I wish Chris and everybody who works for Shalimar the best. You will be greatly missed. Sherri Rosen

Self-hating

Floral Park: In Jennifer Friedlin’s Nov. 19 Op-Ed (“I still stand with Mallory and Sarsour”), she tries to justify evil if some good results from it. She states, “Can anyone blame a Gazan for turning to Hamas, which offers humanitarian support even as it launches rockets into Israel?” What kind of confused thinking is that? Does Friedlin give a thought to the people living where the rockets land? I can imagine Friedlin in Germany in the 1930s justifying the admiration of Hitler because the economic benefits enjoyed by most Germans overshadowed the evil brought against others. Of course, Friedlin would be having these thoughts while being transported to a concentration camp. Irv Leshkowitz

White lies

Bronx: I have to agree with Jennifer Friedlin that she might be racist. If you only think that white people can be racist, then yes, you are racist. I understand that Sarsour and Mallory had experiences that made them view Farrakhan positively, Still, he is a racist, anti-Semitic person. His actions speak volumes, and if both Sarsour and Mallory do not speak out against this, they condone it, and therefore are rightfully called anti-Semitic themselves. Martin Sandok

Whitewash

Flushing: Congratulations to Jennifer Friedlin for providing a great example of convoluted reasoning and self-deception. Minister Louis Garbagekhan welcomes the support of delusional self-haters like her who like to ignore the deeds of groups like Hamas, the prime reason that the people of Gaza are in the mess they now endure. Lester Simon

And another thing

Manhattan: Jennifer Friedlin may be correct in believing that she has benefited “from systemic racism.” But her guilt-ridden belief can hardly be remedied or assuaged by her support of a movement whose leaders clearly espouse blind hatred of the national homeland of the Jewish people and who idolize vicious anti-Semites. A good dose of self-examination and doing something to help disadvantaged children in the city’s ghettos would, most respectfully, be a more productive approach. Ephraim Savitt

Tempting fate

Bronx: When I was 16 years old in the mid-1970s, I asked my father to buy me a moped. (I never got one.) Back then, you needed a license, registration and license plate, and you needed to obey all traffic laws. Now all I see is these motorized bicycles going through red lights, going up one-way streets and riding alongside cars, all with no license plates. What happened to obeying the law, and why aren’t the cops stopping them? This is an accident waiting to happen. And God forbid a law-abiding driver hits one of them. The driver would be wrong in the eyes of the law, which states that a driver must be in control of his vehicle at all times. These reckless bikes can do what they want with no consequences. Susan Watson

A short letter

Earlville, Australia: I am a person of very small stature and I am frequently insulted accordingly. People who insult small stature fail to realize the value of expertise. Extremely valuable inventions are created with expertise. Grahame N. E. Bell

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