Readers write

February 27, 2013 | Viewpoints

How to stretch our ‘peace’ taxes

Re: “Are we paying for peace or war?” by Ernie Unger, Jan. 21, page, 12.

Personally, it is refreshing to see Unger’s viewpoint so well put together with the pertinent statistics.

I also appreciate his line about “. . . knowing that our money is going to be used to hurt others.” That is virtually the bottom line in virtually all military spending; one exception might be retaining Arctic sovereignty.

There seems to be a lot of merit in Unger’s three suggestions, but might I propose a fourth: Why not make a declaration of conscience by submitting another cheque of 8.39 percent of our taxes to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank? Would not this money be certainly used to help others?

And by virtue of the current arrangement between the Canadian International Development Agency and the Foodgrains Bank, that matches each dollar donated to with four federal dollars, would donors not then successfully direct tax dollars to a cause that helps, not hurts, others?

By making such a tax-deductible donation to the Foodgrains Bank, wouldn’t taxpayers further lower the amount of their taxable income, thus reducing their share of the money going to military purposes?

On the other hand, assuming that military budgets and commitments will be met by our government, by diverting our 8.39 percent are we not requiring someone else to pay their portion plus ours. Is it ethical for us to make someone else pay double for what we think is ethically wrong? Just wondering.

Armin Ens, Reinland, Man.

Reader takes pleasure in Bible study

Re: “On being Wisdom’s child,” Jan. 7, page 17.

I am very grateful for prophets the likes of Tom Yoder Neufeld. I love what he said to the pastors at the Conrad Grebel University College’s annual pastors breakfast.

As for Yoder Neufeld’s challenge to an “erotic pleasure in studying the Bible, to infect others with pleasure in studying the Bible,” I find enormous pleasure from the eroticism of reading, studying, note-taking and memorizing Scripture from the “Daily Bread” devotional and Radio Bible Class.

This reading through the Bible in a year—both Old and New testaments—has been most salutary. The Bible is my operator’s manual and helpful also in checking out my theology when I study it with my “Daily Bread” buddies in the style of Job 34:4.

And there is more that my eroticism leads me to believe.

George H Epp, Chilliwack, B.C.

Guns entice their owners to fire them

In my work as chaplain for the Correctional Service of Canada I have spoken with several inmates about the feelings they had about guns. Several told me that when they had a gun they felt invincible, unstoppable, in love with the gun. Some kept them near . . . under their pillow while they slept. They would clean it, caress and talk to it like it was a person or a lover.

It came alive in their hands as they felt the kick, the movement and noise of the gun when fired. The smell of the gun powder was also intoxicating. The desire to become more and more accurate with it was often a challenge and a competition between friends. For some guys, going to gun shows, their collection and their knowledge of guns were all that they really cared about.

The reality of practising at the target range slowly reduced their fear of the gun and it also diminished their fear of firing it. It increased the desire to shoot the gun.

I remember pulling the trigger for the first time on the .22 single-shot rifle that my brother Murray received for a Christmas present back the late 1950s. What a thrill! I well remember the power that I felt when I pulled the trigger.

But if you carry around a hammer, after a while everything begins to look like a nail that you would like to tap on. Same with a gun. Carry it around and everything becomes a target to be aimed at.

David Shantz, Montreal

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