As a visitor to your country from the United Kingdom I was interested in your May 20 editorial. You suggest three possible reasons for the poor performance of the Labour Party at the recent local elections.
It is certainly true that the electorate is increasingly unhappy about Prime Minister Tony Blair's continuing support for President Bush's actions in Iraq, but this has been the case since soon after the original invasion, when it became evident that the reasons for invasion as explained to Parliament were hogwash.
So why was he re-elected? Sadly, at the last general election, there was no real opposition - a worry in any democracy. Hence Mr. Blair got in again but with a greatly reduced majority for a third term.
Yes, he is now struggling with the domestic agenda, having done some good things in the early years, especially much-needed investment in the public services (where I work in the national health service). Interestingly he did not choose to move his health secretary, Patricia Hewitt, aside in the recent reshuffle - despite the problems.
And you are right to mention British fatigue with leaders, but it was not the electorate that saw off Margaret Thatcher but members of her own party, initiated by her one-time friend and colleague Geoffrey Howe. The Tories, under John Major, enjoyed another five years in government before they were kicked out.
Finally, you mention Mr. Blair's designated successor, Gordon Brown. Whilst he may or may not be the best person to succeed Mr. Blair, it hardly seems appropriate to have such a dynastic approach to the leadership of a major party. What if President Bush did this? I hope that Labour back-benchers will ensure that there is a contest.
Unintended, The Da Vinci Code, with its popularity and the controversy surrounding it, is, in a roundabout way, a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
In 2 Timothy 4:3-4, the Apostle Paul writes, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths."
Although The Da Vinci Code is really little more than a poorly and laughably presented work of pulp fiction, there are people who are latching onto its core premise (that Jesus was a mere sinful man and not God in the flesh) as though it was proven fact, just as they have done with stories about fossils of fish with legs, stories about the so-called Gospel of Judas, and the theory of evolution as a whole.
They do so to support, validate, and justify their disbelief of, rejection of, and hostility toward the message of Christianity and the truth that is the word of God. The way I see it, The Da Vinci Code and all the hoopla surrounding it are just another sign of the times.
As Paul also writes in Romans 3:3-4, "What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, 'That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.'●"
And that right there pretty much sums up my viewpoint on this whole matter.
Robert J. Welch III
I am in a book club that recently read The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.We decided during our discussion of the novel that we as a group would attend the movie version when it came out.The opening of the film was May 19. I was dismayed on the morning of the 19th when I read the very negative Christopher Borrelli review of The Da Vinci Code movie prominently displayed on the front page of the Peach section of The Blade. He gave the film one star, the poorest rating available.
If I had made a decision on whether to attend this movie based on this hostile review, I would have missed a very entertaining, intriguing, and thought-provoking film.
All the members of our book club agreed that The Da Vinci Code was an above average film that remained true to the novel, hadfine acting performances, and was accompanied by an excellent sound track.
The members of my book club were shocked that your reviewer would give this film such a poor rating. There is no way that The Da Vinci Code fits into the category of films normally designated with only one star. Our conclusion was that your reviewer was eitherinfluenced by his personal religious prejudices, or that he was pressured by right-wing Christian fundamentalist groupsto discourage the public from seeing the film. Either way, Mr. Borrelli has lost credibility with our group, which will not trust any of his reviews in the future.
It concerns me that Christian protesters with their condescending signs were so threatened by this fictional film that they had to stand in front of the theater to object to the showing of the movie.
The real threat to our culture is not a harmless movie, but rather these Christian people who want to both dictate and legislate their narrow view of morality.
I have not seen the movie The Da Vinci Code nor read the book, and I don't intend to. This much I have in common with many of the protesters.
Why is it the religious of the world think everyone else must be "protected" from "deviant" ideas whether fact or fiction? If their teachings are correct can't we see it?
In the lesstolerantcountries of the world "protection" takes the form of bombings, shootings, and kidnappings. Here in the enlightened USAthe "protection" is only protests, demonstrations, and boycotts. So far.
Joseph E. Pflager
Among some Americans there is a concept that it is cheaper to purchase from China than it is to build or manufacture a product in the United States. Ipso facto, this offers a possible solution to a long-standing problem.
We should purchase the Great Wall of China and reconstruct it along our southern border using cheap, Mexican labor. This would provide work for the Mexicans and should contribute to the security of the border. In addition, the potential as a tourist attraction could allow the wall to pay for itself over the years.
Not feasible? Consider this. In 1968 we purchased the London Bridge and reassembled it at Lake Havasu, Ariz.
The man who wants to be Ohio's next governor says he will stock his Cabinet, as well as state boards and commissions, with African-Americans. That was essentially the message of a speech, as reported in The Blade, by Ted Strickland, candidate for governor of the State of Ohio, while addressing the United Pastors in Mission in Cleveland.
Had his opponent, Kenneth Blackwell, made this pronouncement, it likely would be viewed as racially prejudiced. Ted Strickland's implication and tone here is that African-Americans are being or have been "prejudicially excluded" from certain state positions. This assertion is a divisive and racially explosive issue, and in all likelihood will cost him the election. It is highly unlikely that those non-African-Americans currently holding gubernatorial appointments or those seeking them will forget his intention on Election Day.
Ted Strickland cannot credibly retract this promise he made to the African-American pastors. He, like a man in quicksand, can try to wiggle out but every maneuver only buries him deeper.
People who play the race card aren't winners, they are losers. He should do his constituents a service, and withdraw his candidacy.
David L. Flint
Since The Blade's "cinema scribe," Chris Borrelli, doesn't like The Da Vinci Code, it surely will be a hit with the public. His history guarantees it! To quote Alfred Hitchcock, "It's only a movie."