Letter: Unfair criticism

December 31, 2012


Several recent letters to the editor responding to a letter from Carl Burkhead on the Newtown tragedy have seemed incredulous to me. The original letter simply stated that the problem at the core of the Newtown deaths was connected to the current rejection of God and His guidance by our current society. By most historical standards, this modern separation from God would have been seen as fact. Additionally, there was no indication of a “vengeful” God in the original letter or even any indication that God possessed these qualities. The response letters therefore were assuming facts not evidenced in Mr. Burkhead’s letter and, one could honestly conclude, may have been written by individuals who have already judged God to be vengeful and untrustworthy.

Anyone writing to the editor has the right to state their views, but responders are obligated to refute the letter with facts and in a nonjudgmental manner. Anyone who believes that the God of Christianity will take vengeance on the human race unless we follow certain rules and regulations can state that fact in their own letter but cannot do so by misquoting the message in another person’s letter. 

I personally believe the theological admonition that “all things betray thee that betray Me” is at the core of the conflict between our current society and God’s laws. If we continue on this path, we will assuredly continue to endure all kinds of human tragedy as we just saw in Newtown.  


Corey Williams 1 year, 11 months ago

"God has allowed 9-11, AIDS, suicides, murders, natural disasters, economic bondage and family division as judgments on this nation, families and individuals."

appleaday 1 year, 10 months ago

Anyone can do whatever they want and ask forgiveness. It's called free will. You may recall that Christianity teaches about God's mercy and forgiveness, but maybe that's too New Testament for you of the Christian Right.

rtwngr 1 year, 10 months ago

You and Larry need to sit in the corner and share the "dunce" cap. Catholics cannot do anything they want and ask for forgiveness. If your reply is, "Oh yeah," then I would ask you to show me in the Cathecism of Catholic Church where states this position.

tomatogrower 1 year, 10 months ago

The Catholic church doesn't represent Christianity? Are you serious? 700 years ago, if you were Christian, you probably would have been Catholic. Study history for a change. Besides there have been plenty of evangelical preachers who have done the same things, or other sexual things that they preach against.

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

Or you would have been Eastern Orthodox. But your counterpoint to LarryNative is well-taken, tomatogrower. Catholicism is a variety of Christianity, and the world's single largest Christian denomination.

Kendall Simmons 1 year, 10 months ago

The molested boys were priests??? Fascinating things one can learn on these forums.

rtwngr 1 year, 10 months ago

@LarryNative - The Catholic Church is the original Christianity. There is not room on this blog to school you in Church history but you need to do some homework before you make a statement like this.

Jstanobservation 1 year, 10 months ago

Wouldn't Christ's original followers been the original "Christians"?

rtwngr 1 year, 10 months ago

That's correct. Peter was the first Pope. Jesus established his Church with Peter and the apostles.

asixbury 1 year, 10 months ago

Catholicism likes to say that Peter was the first Pope, but the first Pope was not a disciple of Jesus...just to clear that up. And the gospels in the modern version of the bible were not written by the disciples either.

rtwngr 1 year, 10 months ago

Jesus established his Church upon Peter. He gave Peter the "keys". At Pentecost, Peter addressed the disciples and began leading the Church at this time. Hence, the first Pope. The Church can trace its lineage to Peter in an unbroken chain.

rtwngr 1 year, 10 months ago

You clear up nothing with your incorrect assertion. I am assuming when you refer to the modern version of the Bible, you are referring to the New Testament. Whom the gospel books were written by is proof of nothing regarding the beginning of the Church. However, whom do you think assembled the Bible and established the Canon? Lastly, Roman Catholics only assert Peter as the first Pope because Jesus set him apart at the beginning.

verity 1 year, 10 months ago

If you think that Peter was the first Pope, then I think you need to be schooled in history. The Catholic Church as we know it did not come into existence for hundreds of years after the Christian church began. The early Christian church had absolutely no resemblance to the Catholic Church. After several hundred years, the church gained secular power and it was pretty much downhill from there.

rtwngr 1 year, 10 months ago

Again, there is not enough room or time on this blog to delve into a complete apolgetics debate with you. The Roman Catholic Church can trace its roots directly to Peter and the first apostles. The structure, Tradition, sacraments, and all of the rest were established then. What has no resemblence to the early Church is protestantism. To say the Church did not come into existence for hundreds of years after the Christian church began is ignorant and denies all evidence to the contrary.

verity 1 year, 10 months ago

I have studied the history of the Christian church quite extensively. ALL Christians trace their beginnings to the early (first century) church. The Roman Catholic Church bears little resemblance to the early church and certainly did not appear full formed. Protestantism was an attempt to return to the teachings of Christ as stated in the Bible and against the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church.

rtwngr 1 year, 10 months ago

Tell me something, Mr. Authority on Christianity, how did the disciples teach during the early days of Christianity. After all, we both know there was nothing written down about Christ, his miracles, his words, his actions, his instructions, his admonitions or anything else relating to Jesus until 50 years after his death. So what "Bible" did these early Christians "study and preach?" Fast forward to today. How do you know what your pastor stands in front of you and preaches is correct? Does he fall back on this reasoning of, "the Holy Spirit guides me?" Which then begs the question, "Why do different protestants come up with different interpretations of scripture?" Is one of them not really inspired by the Holy Spirit? Lastly, how do you know the Bible you use is inspired by the Holy Spirit? Who told you, the Holy Spirity itself? If you use the King James translation, do you realize it has less books in it than the Bible that was established as Canon 1700 years ago? Who told Martin Luther to remove those books, the Holy Spirit? One thing I can state without equivocation, the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on everything from the real presence to abortion has not changed in 2000 years. No other Christian denomination can make the same claim.

msezdsit 1 year, 11 months ago

The original letter"simply stated" that the problem ....."

Oh come on, "simply stated"............... yeah in your twisted brain. How about "outrageously stated" Just because your so wacked out that you can't discern the difference between simple and outrageous, don't trample on those who can. All you wackos that think "god" is slaughtering innocent people are "outrageous and pathetic", not simple.

msezdsit 1 year, 11 months ago

patrick, you are entitled to your opinion no matter how sick it is and people are entitled to point that to you.

grammaddy 1 year, 11 months ago

If God needs an invitation to rescue the children at Sandy Hook,he doesn't deserve the title.

msezdsit 1 year, 11 months ago

of course, god is on the righties side, after all he is there god and since god is theres they can do and say whatever they want.

jafs 1 year, 11 months ago

It's a good thing we can have bare arms, otherwise we'd all have to wear long sleeve shirts all of the time.

beatrice 1 year, 10 months ago

I believe it was just another attack against Michelle Obama's fashion.

voevoda 1 year, 11 months ago

I am surprised at you, Laus_Deo, that you would cite Stanislav Mishin as your authority. He is notorious for his radical anti-democratic, stridently jingoistic, anti-American, anti-semitic, and conspiracy-theory laden rants. Some examples, just from his recent postings:

"Wall Street created the world financial melt down, quit cognoscente of what they were doing and thus giving the spark for the two snakes to start their growth and feeding frenzies, while Washington, the den of inequity, corruption and Satanic power, has armed, and prodded its children forward to swallow the world and extinguish the light of Christ from this world. The so-called Christian nation of America has shown herself to be the true handmaiden of the Anti-Christ."

"As you my dear readers know, I view republicanism and democracy in low esteem, being a constitutional monarchist. Most of all, as I stated in previous articles, Democracy as an ideology is as much a failure for the ills of this world as Communism. America's blind, ideological adherence to it, has wrought havoc on the world, brought us to the brink of disaster in recent years, and has harmed her in blow back after blow back."

"As a race, the race of Hebrews, also known as Jews...have as a whole been some of the singularly stupidest people, with a true streak of self destruction, in the game of politics, that have ever walked the Earth. That they still exist after four thousand years of such foolishness is only by the patience of God Himself."

Now, Laus_Deo, aren't you embarrassed to have associated yourself with Mishin?

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

Gandalf, how can you claim that I twisted anything? All I did is reveal Laus_Deo's source to be rabidly anti-American and anti-democratic. But instead of disassociating yourself from this person, whose views are repugnant, you quote more of them with great approval, and disparage me for rejecting any association with him.

I guess, Gandalf, that as long as someone shares your love for unfettered ownership and use of firearms and disdain for the current American government, you don't care what he aims to accomplish, even if it is the downfall of your own country and destruction of the American way of life.

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

Gandalf, if you had integrity, you'd acknowledge first that you didn't know about Mishin's views more generally, but second, now that you do, you absolutely repudiate any association with him. Unfortunately, you have decided to align yourself with him, excusing his views by claiming (willful) ignorance, and instead attack me--a patriotic American who fully supports our Constitution, our governmental system, and our way of life.

Yes, I repudiate Mishin, and proudly, too. Yes, I attack his positions, because I find them to be hate-filled, dangerous, and just plain inaccurate. Some writings are beyond the pale, and Mishin's fall into that category. I'm not talking about banning them, but all reasonable, ethical people have an obligation to refute them. The fact that you continue to endorse his views demonstrates that you do not number among them.

Kendall Simmons 1 year, 10 months ago

Like it or not, the oath you took to protect the Constitution applied to the entire Constitution, not just the 2nd amendment. But Mishin only supports the 2nd amendment. He actually does repudiate the rest of our Constitution. That is not what most folks would call "patriotic".

By the way, you've no more "earned" your right to free speech or to keep and bear arms than anyone else...because they aren't rights that have to be "earned".

Seems to me like you are having a wee bit of a problem actually supporting the Constitution yourself. Including Article V...which gives us the right to change the Constitution. Indeed, that's why your personal favorite is called the 2nd AMENDMENT. So how do you rationalize your stand against changing the Constitution as "protection"? Sure sounds unconstitutional to me.

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

Gandalf, you could easily retain your view on "our constitution" and speak it in your own words. But by using the radical anti-American, anti-democratic Mishin's words to enunciate the position you claim to be your own, you aren't upholding the Constitution, but instead you are insulting it. You are violating your oath to protect the our country from a foreign enemy, because Mishin is an enemy of our country.

I, too, took an oath to defend our country and our Constitution, Gandalf. And today I am doing so by informing people of the identity and nefarious purposes of an enemy of our country--someone whom they elevated as a source of wisdom and proponent of views they shared. Unfortunately, Gandalf, you would rather continue to associate yourself with Mishin, who calls our country the "Whore of Babyon."

KiferGhost 1 year, 10 months ago

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Which part of well regulated is everyone missing? The founders were thinking along the line more of what the Swiss have, not about a bunch of nuts preparing for their day in glory when they can set things straight in America as they see it.

KiferGhost 1 year, 10 months ago

The SC also upheld the right to own slaves. They aren't perfect and things can change.

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

Given the usual positions espoused by Laus_Deo and Gandalf, I shouldn't be surprised. But endorsing Stanislav Mishin is like embracing Fred Phelps or Adolf Hitler, and I thought that even Laus and Gandalf would be loathe to do so. But apparently they are willing and eager to keep that company, and that tells us very disquieting things about them.

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

Gandalf, give it up. You are just making yourself look ridiculous by trying to attribute to me views that I don't endorse.

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

Gandalf, do you realize how much damage you do to your own credibility and to the credibility of the positions you endorse on the legality of bearing firearms by 1) using the rantings of Stanislav Mishin, a radical anti-American and anti-democratic demogogue to argue your position; and 2) enunciating deliberately distorted and rabidly anti-Muslim propaganda? I think you can see that by this point virtually everybody, even those people who share your views on gun control, want to distance themselves from you.

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

Gandalf, yes, I am saying that the Quran is not historical fact. No religious scripture is historical fact, although scripture sometimes contains references to factual historical events. Scripture is intended to contain spiritual truth, not historical truth. Even as an historical text, though, you have misconstrued the Quran, and you did so for the purpose of discrediting Islam as a religion, and that is both offensive and un-American.

I imagine that most people recognize that I uphold the Constitution. In many of my recent postings, I have based my position concerning the Second Amendment on the opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia. I grant that you have the right to say whatever you want on forum postings--or whatever the owners of the website permit--but I also claim my First Amendment right to criticize you for the positions you hold. That is basic to our American democracy, Gandalf. As the saying going, if you don't like the heat, don't start the fire.

I don't think that you are unpatriotic because of the position you hold on the Second Amendment, Gandalf, although I think that you are mistaken in terms of the law (basing my opinion on Justice Scalia's) and I think that you are advocating bad public policy. Patriotic Americans can and do disagree on this topic because there isn't any clear and obvious "right" answer, and I have no problem with the people who do so respectfully. But today in particular, Gandalf, you have been extremely disrespectful--disrespectful to me when I was defending our country from the vile statements of Stanislav Mishin, and then disrespectful to our Muslim fellow-citizens in an attempt to insult me.

There is a difference, Gandalf, between "word games," as you call it, and hate speech. You crossed over into hate speech today.

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

If you go back through past postings, Gandalf, you will see that I have only responded after I have been attacked on the most personal terms, denying my patriotism and my loyalty to my country. You did that today; you did it to me before today, and I have observed how you have done the same, and worse, to many others. You feel entitled to dish out the nastiness, impugning other people's loyalty to our country and knowledge of the world, but then you cry foul if anybody criticizes you for doing so.

No, I have never advocated establishing Islamic law on a par with the US Constitution in the US judicial system. You are just making that up in order to try to slander me and undermine my credibility with other readers. It is true, though, that I do not see Shar'ia law as a threat to the American judicial system, because nobody, including American Muslims, have any intention of substituting it for our Constitution and properly enacted legislation.

And yes, according to all the experts on Islam whom I know personally---and there are many of them, at leading universities throughout the country and the world--your opinion of what Islam teaches is wrong, as well as being offensive to Muslims. I will not stand by and let such untrue and offensive statements go unchallenged; I owe that much to my Muslim fellow-citizens and fellow persons of faith.

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

I will not engage with you in a discussion of Islam when you start by asserting the "truth" of statements that you made for incendiary effect--that is, to insult me. You already know that those statements are false. It's clear that you are sufficiently well-read to have encountered accurate information about Islam. But instead, you chose to believe and propound offensive lies. It does not matter if you did so because you think that such statements are just a "word game," because you deserve to be held accountable for disseminating such outrageous nonsense.

So no, I will not respond point out your errors. That would be like allowing Adolf Hitler to set the agenda for a "discussion" about whether Jews are worthy of life.

If you really think that you could be wrong about Islam, go educate yourself about what Islam teaches and what Muslims believe. There are myriads of reliable books and teachers--just start at KU. There, they teach about religion, without trying to convince anyone to adhere to a religion. Don't use your atheism as an excuse to misconstrue what religions teach. That doesn't demonstrate intellectual superiority the way you think it does; it just shows you to be prejudiced and stupid.

Your "aggressiveness," as you admit to it, Gandalf, and your determination to misconstrue what other people say, and your willingness to insult people, and your insistence upon propagating extremely offensive and erroneous characterizations of other people's deeply-held beliefs, and especially your willingness to excuse rabid anti-American and anti-democratic teachings as long as they support your ownership of firearms-- all this indicates that you are much too excitable and unstable to be allowed possession of firearms. Your words reveal you to be a danger to others, Gandalf, just as the words of al-Qaida revealed them to be a danger even before they actually attacked the US. So for the safety of all of us, Gandalf, give your weapons into the safe keeping of a trustworthy relative, and get yourself professional help with your cognative disorder.

jafs 1 year, 10 months ago

I know, it's just a funny thought.

Of course, as a human I have no need of "bear arms" either, since I have two perfectly good human ones :-)

Corey Williams 1 year, 10 months ago

/ˈvenjfəl/ Adjective Seeking to harm someone in return for a perceived injury

Kendall Simmons 1 year, 10 months ago

Sure sounds pretty darned vengeful to me:

"I've given you free will because I love you...but if you don't do what I want you to do, then I'm going to wreak havoc on anyone and everyone, even if they had absolutely nothing to do with what I'm disappointed in you about."

And what the heck "commandment" says we're supposed to be responsible in our dominion over the earth? Indeed, the word "subdue" is specifically used in Genesis about our dominion over the earth. The original Hebrew word is "kabash"...which means "subdue, enslave". So how do you get from subdue, enslave to "be environmentally sound"???

And where on earth do you get the idea that oil and other fossil fuels belong to the devil???

Misusing the Bible...either rationalize one's own arguments certainly seems awfully self-indulgent to me.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 10 months ago

It always amazes me just how much credence that seemingly inelligent people put in an imaginary notion of the power that created the Universe. Every itenerant religious wonk seems to have some sort of twisted idea of how their lives or the lives of others are somehow affected by a non-existant vision of an imaginary diety. All religious thought has been concocted by men, those who would tell you that "God told me to do this" or "God told me to beat my childern" or that "God hates you" are humans with a distince mental block on reality. Most things that affect human lives are the result of misconduct by human persons and their vain attempts to invent some diety and then blame that notion for the problems of society are stupid and ludicrious. Personal responsibiity takes a very real part in the fate of many people and very few are willing to give their inaginary religious notions a pass and accept that things sometimes 'just happen" or more commonly, are caused by human interaction in a negative way. Like the members of the U.S. Congress.

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

I suppose, Mr. Butler, that it all depends upon what people construe God's laws to be--and depending upon that, adherence to them leads to justice and peace, or injustice and violence. That is not something new in our generation; it has been the human condition since, well, human beings came into existence.

KiferGhost 1 year, 10 months ago

I think we can blame most of the tragedies on people like Clownback who hasn't been praying enough. I think we need to relieve him of his current position pretending to be a governor and let him become our full time prayer master. He can pray that God doesn't unleash God's wrath on us.

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 10 months ago

Pilate did not want to execute Jesus. He found him innocent, but as an official was obligated to abide by the law of the land. That is why he said, "I wash my hands of this whole affair," and then did so, which is where we get the expression from.

KiferGhost 1 year, 10 months ago

It it was God's plan that Jesus would die for man how can it be anybody's fault except God's? Everyone was just going with the script.

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 10 months ago

"Anyone writing to the editor has the right to state their views, but responders are obligated to refute the letter with facts and in a nonjudgmental manner."

I don't think so. People use words like judgmental to manipulate others so they won't have to deal with a different opinion.

Catholics are Christian, there is no reason to think otherwise. Catholics have a crucifix in church, pray to Jesus, preach from the New Testament.

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

Yes, indeed, disappointed_regressive. I guess you are referring to yourself here.

Armstrong 1 year, 10 months ago

Awe that's cute. Think that up yourself voe

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm so glad that you are in awe of me, Armstrong. Although I hardly expected your admiration.

voevoda 1 year, 10 months ago

Do you suppose, JayCat_67, that Armstrong could have just mixed up "aw" and "awe"? That is, is his confusion in his head, or just in his spelling?

JayCat_67 1 year, 10 months ago

Given the source, does it really matter? :-)

windjammer 1 year, 10 months ago

Carl Burkhead and now Patrick Butler both religious fanatics. How do I know? I was raised by one my mother fit their mold perfectly.

Phil Minkin 1 year, 10 months ago

" the problem at the core of the Newtown deaths was connected to the current rejection of God and His guidance by our current society", When did this happen? Was it before the Waco deaths, or Columbine, the tidal wave in Japan, Viet Nam, Korea, WW I or II and even the civil war? What is the exact time of "the rejection of God" so we can start knowing when this problem started.

JayCat_67 1 year, 10 months ago

Methinks you confuse "rejection of God" with "rejection of self righteous windbag trying to cram his/her religious dogma down my throat".

blindrabbit 1 year, 10 months ago

Since I had Mr. Burkhead as a professor back in the 1960's as a student in the Environmmental Sciences program at KU, I have seen this man slide into a deluded form of religion. How can someone who is supposedly educated in the Sciences (Burkhead) be/become so ignorant in the reality of life and so taken up by the blinded dogma of whatever he interprets God's religion to be

pusscanthropus 1 year, 10 months ago

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” ― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

Armored_One 1 year, 10 months ago

Ever notice that if something good happens, God is watching over you, but if something bad happens, it's the result of Man's free will? Why can't Man's free will be responsible for both sides? Or God be responsible for both sides?

Stuart Evans 1 year, 10 months ago

apparently he's got some sort of messed up plan for everyone and everything, and it's beyond our comprehension because it's so great. But that doesn't seem keep folks from still trying to tell everyone else what god wants from us, or praying that he'll change his mind.

Stuart Evans 1 year, 10 months ago

why do religious people feel so compelled to try and get "god's" point across to everyone else? This god, which the christians speak so highly of, used to be very powerful, capable of destroying every living thing on the planet, and rebuilding it. Why does this same character now only seem to run his PR through small-minded people? He seems like a bad magician that stopped doing his tricks when science came along and shared all the secrets.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.