To the editor:
Last Thursday, "Reciprocity," an editorial questioning why America is hated, suggested changing the term "Judeo-Christian" to "Judeo-Christian-Islamic" as a way to describe our religious heritage. Many of us describe the United States as a constitutional republic founded on Enlightenment principles and a Bill of Rights rather than in religious terms.
But I do not think that America is hated because of terms defining its religious or political heritage. Rather, the United States government is often hated because of its actions -- waging a pre-emptive war, bombing cities, killing civilians and failing, thus far, to repair the damages. In non-Islamic places, like Okinawa and South Korea, some people have protested the presence of our military bases.
"Reciprocity" suggests that Muslim clerics should "condemn acts of murder and destruction." Actually, many Muslim clerics have condemned hostage-taking, the murder of innocents, beheadings and other atrocities. The recent horror of the murder of schoolchildren in a Russian town was condemned by Muslim clerics. But were the prior actions of the Russian government in a 10-year war that killed many Chechen children condemned? Rather, our political leaders praised that war as a show of Russian strength.
Muslim and Jewish religious leaders in Israel and Palestine condemn suicide bombings in Israel and aerial bombings in Palestine. Many Christian religious leaders, notably the pope, condemned the current pre-emptive war. Clerics of every faith usually favor peace and mercy. Governments, including our own, seem to favor strength and power.
Government actions, not defining words, lead to hatred.