freedom of expression

Dave Bootsma’s column (“A longing for peace,” Feb. 4), hypothesizes that the causes of the two world wars were caused by humanism and secularism. I think?this is a gross oversimplification and he seems to purposely use the terms in their pejorative sense in order to bolster his view that only by embracing Christianity will world peace be achieved (this is of course in direct contradiction of the current world view of some radical Islamists).?
His stated view that humanism is “. . . about power, control and greed” indicates a poor understanding, in my opinion, of what humanism is and ignores the fact that there can also be religious humanism as exemplified by such notables as Mother Teresa, Christians who support such organizations as Project Ploughshares, Christian Children’s Fund and the like.? Secular humanism, as differentiated from religious humanism is basically a philosophy that proposes that ethics, justice and societal decision-making can be realized by the application of reason.?
Conflating the term secularism with anti-religious or atheistic views is a common tactic of the religious right.? Put simply secularism is the freedom of religion, and freedom from imposition of a state religion on people — it is neutral on matters of belief, while at the same time not bestowing any special privileges or subsidies on religion.?
This is not to say that this concept hasn’t been abused by tyrants as Mr. Bootsma correctly points out.? And while it’s true that religion has often been unfairly or unjustly implicated as a cause of war, it has indeed been used by tyrants and despots to justify war.? However, it is equally unfair and unjust to lay all the causes of war at the feet of the secular humanists.
?The causes of WWI were myriad, including nationalism, imperial rivalries and alliances, militarism, collapse of the Ottoman Empire, social Darwinism (the belief that only the strong survive – a misapplication of Darwin’s actual theory), inflammatory newspaper reportage, etc., to name a few.? WWII was a direct result of resentment in Germany over the terms of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles that severely punished Germany for “causing” WWI.? The rise of patriotic fervor that this resentment fostered amongst the German population was played upon by Hitler and his Nazi movement which gave rise to his power.?
Coupled with the inability of the League of Nations to mitigate the situation (it had no army, nor were any nations willing to contribute their military forces for the purpose), along with the stock market crash of 1929 and the resultant runaway inflation in Germany; war in Europe was almost assured.
All of these things are admittedly, in the secular realm. However one should keep in mind that Christianity was the well-established religion of the majority of the belligerent European states.
While it may well be true the rise of Stalin, Mao and other tyrants was enabled by a perverted application of secular humanism, it cannot be said that secular humanism is any more the cause of war than is religion, either can be used as justification. One only has to observe the current conflict in Iraq where both sides invoke the powers of the Almighty to bolster their cause.
Mr. Bootsma’s solutions inevitably return to the idea that if he could just convince everyone to embrace his particular brand of Christianity, all societal ills will be remedied.? Of course he always forgets that Canada is a pluralist society populated by persons of many different beliefs and it would not be surprising to hear that many of them are offended by his apparent desire to impose his Euro-centric Judeo-Christian beliefs on all.
The only bulwark against these ideas is the maintenance of a secular society in which Mr. Bootsma has every right to express and practice his beliefs – as does everyone else, religious or not.
Robert Byrne
thank you

I want to say thanks to our young folks that are serving in our armed forces in a effort to protect us from terrorism. At the same time it causes my young 71-year-old mind some concern.
I am wondering if Veteran Affairs still have military hospitals that provide our wounded armed service members like after World War?I and II. If not, do we have special arrangements with our partners in America?
I am also wondering to myself if six months is long enough, or do we have to have rotation or maybe conscription like in the past.
Support and pray for our troops.??
Bob Culham


  1. The Hon. Christy Clark
    British Columbia
    Parliament Buildings
    Victoria, BC
    V8V 1X4
    Dear Ms. Clark:

    Re: proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline Project

    The people of British Columbian need your support. As your constituent, I am extremely concerned about the recent change in direction by you and your government with respect to the proposed Northern Gateway project.
    In your election campaign you spoke passionately about putting the interests of British Columbian’s before the interests of Enbridge and it’s shareholders.
    You spoke about demanding world leading marine oil prevention and response yet the following was recently made public:
    “The Ministry of Environment – as the ministry responsible for preparedness, prevention, response and recovery for spills – is not adequately staffed and resourced to meet the existing and emerging expectations to address spills. Even a moderate sized spill would overwhelm the province’s ability to respond and could result in a significant liability for government.”
    You spoke about the need to recognize and protect Aboriginal rights yet the following has also been made public:
    “Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations, and Ed John, of the B.C. First Nations Summit, said the Northern Gateway project is dead and if the government wants to continue it’s relationship with First Nations it will have to accept that”. Sterritt went on to say that by not accepting this fact it risks poisoning the relationship on all other projects including LNG projects.
    First Nations have made it abundantly clear that they oppose the Northern Gateway project and that they are prepared to fight through the courts and on the land if necessary if the government tries to ram these proposals through.
    British Columbians have made it abundantly clear that they to do not support the Northern Gateway Project (recent polls have provided less than 35% support the project).
    In spite of all of this you and your government are now pushing hard to try and make it happen? Why?
    Why, when so much is at stake and so many options are on the table, would you and your government choose to push forward with this extremely divisive and antagonistic issue?
    I fail to understand the logic of your decision and would welcome an explanation.
    I look forward to your response.

    Michael Jones

  2. BCLC did layoff over 29 people last week but they also attacked their long term employees (20+ years) by offering them a buyout or firing if they did not take it, as they did to those that did not accept their offer. The only people over 50 that are left are those in upper management. Terry lake says this won’t affect Kamloops economy…think again Terry. Over 100 people have lost their full time income. Is it by coincidence that a union was trying to get BCLC to sign up.
    Once this was realized the process for getting rid of employees was speeded up to the point that they could not handle all the payments and are paying everyone out over a course of 1 1/2 years as they cannot afford the lumps sum payments. So much for being a loyal employee and working hard for a crown corporation. For some of those that lost their jobs, on-call employees were given their full time jobs and moved into these peoples desk in less than an hour.

  3. Thank you for the special election coverage section. I was very disappointed that not one mayoral or councilor candidate could nail the most important question which, according to your own poll, was: Do you feel the city should curtail its’ spending? If so, cite one area to curtail spending. Not one candidate even touched on the one issue that is most important to Kamloops voters – the fact that: in Kamloops, 75 cents of every property tax dollar increase they’ve paid since 2009 goes to wages and benefits for city workers and management. It’s distressing to see the level of naivety and to know that we’ll inevitably be facing more property tax increases well above the rate of inflation in coming years.

  4. Drive down the mellow economic avenue of despair called Tranquille Rd. in North Kamloops. Empty lots, shut down gas stations, boarded up and empty commercial buildings and offices. Pawn shops and money lenders with criminally exorbitant interest rates, this looks like a depression era city.



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