Steve Chittock

America is one of the most faithful countries in the world

I wish to correct some misinformation in Benaiah Israel's letter ("America is being punished for turning its back on God," May 21).

First, it was not an atheist who kept pressing to get God outlawed in schools. That process was actually begun by religious persons in the mid-to-late 1800s, who wished to undertake the religious education of their children on their own, without having to worry about them learning a different denomination's teachings in the school setting.

Further, it is not illegal to mention God or read the Bible in public schools; both things were included in my education at Del Norte High School. What is illegal is teaching the primacy of one religion over any other, something that did not happen in my education at DNHS.

The 1962-63 bans on "prayer in public schools" would be better understood as steps preventing the schools from forcing children to pray in a religious way that is not their own; forcing Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, pagan or atheist children to pray to a Christian God is unconstitutional and wrong. But prayer is still allowed; every day of my four years at DNHS, I saw a group of students gathered to pray before school, and witnessed students praying before eating lunch. This is both legal and accepted, possibly even encouraged by the school district.

Finally, I strongly contest the implication that Rome, Greece and Babylon turned their backs on God. The Babylonian and Greek empires ceased to exist centuries before the birth of Christ, and many people in those empires did adhere to some aspects of Judaism. The Roman empire was the center of the spread of Christianity, and evolved into the Christian Byzantine empire, which lasted well into the Middle Ages.

Today, the "Roman empire" exists in the form of the Catholic Church. It is very easy to blame the problems of the world on things like "lack of faith" and the country's "turning its back on God." But the current woes of the world are not the result of lack of faith on America's part; indeed, America is one of the most religiously faithful countries in the world, with a huge percentage of the population claiming to practice faith of some kind.

Perhaps blame would be better attributed to the individual actions of a few persons, and to the natural processes of economic fluctuation.

Stephen D. Louy

Edinburgh, Scotland

(fomerly Crescent City)

Clarifications on fibromyalgia, fluoridating local water

In response to Helen DuVernay's letter ("Letter blaming fibromyalgia on fluoride may be misguided," May 21), thank you for sympathizing, but it looks like you overlooked a couple things before you wrote.

First off, let me clarify, in-laws means relatives that are not genetically related to you. If you notice, none of those people were related by blood. Second, you automatically assumed that I have been a Klamath resident my whole life, which is untrue. I have only lived in Klamath for six months out of 28 years of my life. The rest of the time I lived in Crescent City or Fort Dick.

When I was in Fort Dick I was still in school in Crescent City, therefore drinking, as you know, city water.

I still back up Marsirah Murakami ("Support the recall because fluoride is poisoning us," May 7) on fluoride poisoning.

Sarah Dumas