Letters to the editor — Tuesday (1-28-2014)
Regarding the January 25 letter “Church and state”:
R. Howard Andrews challenges Steve Pender’s excellent “Rewriting History” letter of Jan. 22 by stating “This country is not necessarily founded on Judeo-Christian values.” Andrews’ argument is full of factual errors and misinformation.
Those who support the historical view that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian values are not arguing that all Christians everywhere always adhered to every Christian or Jewish scripture, teaching or value. The argument is that most Christians living during American history have successfully attempted to follow and support most of the scripture, teaching and values most of the time.
Christian teaching has continued to evolve as science and culture have evolved, and certainly Christianity has dramatically changed in the United States since colonial times. Very few (if any Christians) today still support the persecution of witches, punishing someone working on Sunday or want to see slavery re-instituted.
The church admits to being a place where imperfect men and women come to become better persons. I wouldn’t throw Washington out of the church for his sin (if he did commit it). Further, covetousness implies wanting something specifically, a property or a possession of another, not just wanting to have a nice house, car or wife, etc. It’s wanting (John’s, etc.) nice house, car or wife, etc. No one questions that men and women of all times have violated this commandment, but that it is affirmed and most individuals support it makes it an important Judeo-Christian value. You don’t have to be a monk, nun or communist to support and adhere to this commandment.
Certainly Christianity has produced some fanatics, but secularism has produced more than its share of people whose values have almost destroyed what is good in history. My belief is that what has made America exceptional in the world today, thankfully largely rests on the sound practice of Judeo-Christian values.
— Mark Beymer
I would like to thank the Post for a sympathetic and largely accurate article about me and my cycling activities in the Jan. 24 edition. However, I would like to offer one correction, and also an addition.
Correction: It is not my position that bike lanes are a useful accommodation for unskilled cyclists, but undesirable because they are superfluous for skilled ones. That might be the way a bike lane supporter would characterize my position, possibly with the followup that I am an elitist for opposing what more casual cyclists want or need.
My actual position is that although ill-informed opinion tends to support them, bike lanes and cycle tracks (bike lanes with barriers alongside) are a bad idea for all concerned, except perhaps those paid to create them, who not surprisingly are their most active promoters. If anything, they are most dangerous to novice cyclists, who do not know enough to ignore them in the many situations where that is the safest thing to do. They not only are not a substitute for proper traffic skills but are actually diseducational: they encourage and teach wrong behavior, especially at intersections and when approaching intersections. Add the barrier to make a cycle track, and the facility forcibly prevents correct cyclist behavior.
Addition: It is true that most grade school kids are presently getting little or no instruction on cycling (or walking) safely. However, NCDOT has a new program intended to address this, called Let’s Go North Carolina. It’s not perfect but it’s a huge step in the right direction. It offers teachers downloadable instructional materials. The teacher doesn’t have to be a cyclist to use the materials. The teacher does have to know about the materials, and choose to use them. To learn about this program, see https://connect.ncdot.gov/projects/BikePed/Pages/LetsGoNC.aspx.
— Mark Ortiz