Regarding Robert McKinney’s March 14 letter, “Giving compassion a chance“: If I ever make it to McKinney’s side of Hokkaido, I’d love to have a beer with him to get to the bottom of his hostility toward religion, which has again blemished these venerable pages.
Does McKinney really believe that “so much cruelty in this world” is due to religion? Cruelty isn’t a tenet of religion; it’s condemned by it. If McKinney doesn’t believe in God, that’s his business, but must his atheism manifest itself so bitterly?
Atheism — not religion — is at the root of most of history’s violence. Communism, of which atheism is a core element, is responsible for the deaths and persecution of hundreds of millions of people. So, would removing religion really make the world better? Of course not!
McKinney cites “spare the rod, spoil the child” as his representative Biblical verse, and calls for “less religion and more compassion.” Doesn’t he know that the penultimate story of compassion — about the Good Samaritan — also comes from the Bible? I guess “spare the rod, spoil the child” was more convenient for McKinney to cherry-pick.
U.S. President George W. Bush’s alleged claim that God told him to invade Iraq in 2003 was never verified — no recording of it exists — but McKinney includes the report of it in his anti-religious litany anyway. Pope John Paul II and other religious leaders, by the way, opposed the action against Iraq.
McKinney claims that Japan’s wartime aggression “had the full blessing of a highly militarized Shinto emperor,” while he omits to acknowledge that it was the overwhelmingly Christian Allies who ended that aggression.
McKinney admits that a Catholic priest later “expressed regret” over blessing the “Enola Gay” B-29 bomber and its crew members on the morning of the Hiroshima mission. But why mention that at all if the priest apologized? Talk about anti-religious rage.
I suspect that McKinney isn’t really bothered by religion’s “bullying” or “lack of compassion,” but rather by its holding moral teachings that he doesn’t want to hear.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.