Letters to the Editor

Editor’s Note: Due to the large amount of letters the editor has received about Leslie Arntz’s column, which ran Feb. 22, the remainder of the letters received on the subject will appear at www.stateronline.com tomorrow.

American culture may be drifting toward new ‘dark age’

Dear Editor:

This is sort of an omnibus of related issues to the Stater from an 11-year veteran of part-timerism who wants the best for Kent State, its students and the faculty.

First, I was recently amazed to find a gaudy page one celebration of entertained-down Christianity. Of course I am as pleased as any decent person when someone is made happy by finding something. But, we seem to be nearly matching Islamic countries as another society centering on one religion. Generally, this seems to be part of a drift toward another dark age where science and humanism are being shouted down by those who need the emotional comfort of a divine authority figure (and his Son) because of our own inadequacies — something different from respectable humility. If nothing else, this rage for religion seems to be scaring intellectual skepticism into the closet. I would bet my “shirt” that there is a good number of student and faculty member skeptics (This IS a university!) who watch the “joyful noise unto the Lord” ruefully but dare not speak their own name. Shame on Kent State!

Along with the return to “that old-time religion,” a number of civilizational losses must be chargeable:

1) Science must be superseded when Christianity has pronounced on a “truth,” especially when science has acknowledged that a mystery still needs pursuit.

2) There is a more narrow prudery in the air.

3) Serious news coverage and educational TV etc., are losing ground. (George Will has advocated the end of public broadcasting with, among other things, its Lehrer News Hour!)

4) As already noted, free inquiry — Imagine, Reflect, Learn, Inquire — is under attack, where controversy and making anyone uncomfortable are to be avoided.

5) Serious ethical discourse and investigation seems overwhelmed by “popular theology.”

6) Discourse is becoming more ad homonym than principled and “loving.” And that ain’t all!

A note on the current controversy over the display of the “Ten Commandments.” These are not just about lawful social morality. Some of the 10 directly promote a pair of God-fearing religions. Some of the ethical commandments are of course worth posting in less propagandistic form.

As to the faith-based social service programs, if they were faith-neutral and their only concern was about serving social needs, they would be fine. Your Feb. 23 “Point/Counterpoint” page had a hard-to-believe statement by Tony Cox: “Many [Lefties] have gone so far as to claim that [faith] funded organizations would attempt to convert people to their particular religion or faith group.” (What could that be? Is it possible that only Christian organizations get funded?) What does popular evangelism mean beyond the obligation to spread the “good news.” Also, I understand that faith-based organizations have or want to have the right to hire only subscribers to their limited views and they have or want to have the right to refuse services that their dogma finds sinful, but that are medically and scientifically endorsed.

There seems an important warning of cultural decline in all of this.

Over to you.

Al Edgell

Term instructor, Political Science