Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on Operation Holiday, Kansas Aviation Museum, cellphone ban, Hitchens

Community gave from hearts of love

We at Inter-Faith Ministries are grateful for the community’s warm, caring response to our appeals for Operation Holiday. Many of you responded more than once, and you gave to us from hearts full of love. It is an honor to be the steward of your generosity.

You helped fill our need to raise $350,000 and provide food, coats and toys to help area families, seniors and the disabled in need this holiday season. Because of the generosity of this community, we were able to help more than 14,000 adults and children. You gave them hope and joy at a time when it was most needed. As a young mother of 18-month-old twins told an Operation Holiday volunteer, “This really helps a lot. My husband was recently laid off, and we only had $5 to get by on until January.”

We heard countless stories of gratitude and “thank yous” followed by requests to pass their message to the people who made it possible. To everyone who volunteered time and donated food, coats, beautiful handmade scarves and mittens, blankets and dollars to Operation Holiday: Thank you.

ANNE CORRISTON

Executive director

Inter-Faith Ministries

Wichita

Support museum

I’m a proud Wichitan, Kansan and member of the Air Capital of the World’s workforce. But when I see the critical need of the showpiece of our city’s long, rich aviation history, well, I get embarrassed.

Aviation gets Wichita noticed. Dignitaries from around the world come here to buy aircraft. They expect an aviation museum at least as fine as the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Instead, they find one that doesn’t even have a heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system for most of the museum.

There are marvelous traveling and loaner exhibits that won’t consider the Kansas Aviation Museum because of the harmful lack of climate control. Think how this contributes to the disappointment of museum visitors, who miss out on such great exhibits.

We can do better than this, Wichita. We build aircraft that fly at very high altitudes and nearly sonic speeds. Our city and county governments grant and loan millions of dollars to movie theaters and hotels to increase tourism to Wichita. Our city, county and state governments and our residents can invest in giving this museum of our rich aviation heritage – the products of which are enjoyed the world over – a decent HVAC.

DAVID L. NORRIS

Wichita

No justifying phone

State Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, believes that cellphones are such an indispensable part of everyone’s daily life that there would be no way to ban their use in vehicles (Dec. 22 Eagle). That is a pretty disturbing view from someone who serves on the Senate Transportation Committee. I challenge Donovan to come up with just a few lines of conversation that could not wait until the car was stopped or was someplace safe. The only people I can think of who would be justified in using phones in cars are fire marshals and transplant surgeons.

TERRY L. SAGERTY

Wichita

Religious dogma

The religious apologist Cal Thomas attacked the late Christopher Hitchens as lacking in wisdom because he and others who share his views fail to subscribe to the religious dogma that Thomas and his ilk find so endearing (Dec. 21 Opinion). Yes, atheists do indeed demand proof before accepting any idea or theory. Thomas stated that “faith is not based solely on facts.” More accurately, faith is not based on facts at all. Facts are most often an impediment to faith.

If you wish to believe in imaginary sky creatures, that is your right. But please don’t offend me by offering your self-imposed ignorance as proof that such creatures exist.

Religious apologists insist that we cannot enjoy a fulfilling life without blindly believing in this or that incarnation of one or more gods. Those of us who rely on reason as our guide enjoy bountiful lives precisely because we have accepted responsibility for our thoughts and actions. When Thomas or anyone else suggests that the lives of those who refuse to believe in religious fantasies are somehow less worthy, he displays the willful arrogance and ignorance imbedded within religious thought.

GARY WAGHER

Wichita

Also takes faith

It’s interesting that a reader quoted the late atheist Christopher Hitchens as saying that faith is so detrimental to humankind (“Fearless, funny,” Dec. 20 Letters to the Editor). Faith is “the surrender of the mind; it’s the surrender of reason; it’s the surrender of the only thing that makes us different than other mammals,” Hitchens wrote. Since he had absolutely no factual evidence that there is not a God, he simply chose to believe that there was none. This requires a great deal of faith – maybe even more so than for one to believe that there is a God, as evidence is everywhere.

So you would be required to say that these men of faith (Richard Dawkins, Hitchens, Carl Sagan and others) form their own religion. This puts Hitchens in a category of religious thinkers, and he said “religion poisons everything.”

I encourage the letter writer to contemplate the origin of the moral law, and expand his choice of authors. There are some brilliant thinkers out there who are not chained to such ideology.

WILLIAM UMHOLTZ

Valley Center

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