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Editorial | Letters

Letters on Religion and Politics


Don’t fracture Hawaii

Over the centuries many people, and not limited to politicians, have been using religion to polarize communities and countries in an effort to divide us into groups of us and them. Leaders do this, of course, to rile up their base for their own personal benefit.

In Hawaii with our multicultural and multireligious nature, using religion to draw support for one’s candidacy not only runs the risk of dividing our state but runs the risk of fracturing it. We voters are most interested where a candidate’s heart lies; what they do on Sunday mornings, not so much.

Roy Kamisato


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It’s about values

Your editorial is just as divisive and inflammatory as the assumptions you make about religion and Christians ("Stop using religion to divide," Star-Advertiser, Sept. 8). It is not religion that divides, it is values. Religions differ with each other on issues but even within religious communities, such as with Christians, there is disagreement and differing interpretation of values.

I grew up in a Buddhist family and attended a Buddhist school, but we learn to honor and respect all religions here in the islands.

Since as policymakers and office holders, we bring our values, culture and identity by which we make our decisions, why should that not be an issue in an election, especially when whom we choose to lead our state will make a difference in what policy decisions are made? I am encouraged by the willingness of churches to be involved in elections and in determining public policy. It is long overdue. However, I do agree with you that religion should not be used to proselytize in an election, or to judge candidates as unrighteous.

By contrast, our Island Values radio spot points out the differing positions of candidates on values important to believers and it only airs on Christian radio stations. If labor unions can urge their members to vote for those candidates who are favorable to workers or if business organizations can urge members to oppose candidates who support tax increases, is that being divisive or is it a matter of supporting those who share your beliefs and values?

Dennis Arakaki
Former Democratic legislator and former executive director of Hawaii Family Forum/Hawaii Catholic Conference


Keep religion out of it

Regarding the article "Abercrombie criticizes website, fliers" (Star-Advertiser, Sept. 6), does Mufi Hannemann really think we care about Neil Abercrombie’s "congressional record on faith and religion"? I sure as h— don’t, and don’t know anyone of over 50 IQ who does.

I, like any American who respects the Constitution, want religion OUT of our government, the sooner the better.

Anent of which, I notice Mr. Hannemann states he "prays over all his decisions." Does anyone remember who else practiced this ritual? Someone with the middle initial "W"– that really worked out well, didn’t it?

Tom Tizard


Mind church-state wall

In his Sept. 8 letter, S. Hinton claims that the Supreme Court ruling in Emerson v. Board of Education on the separation between church and state was "a very liberal interpretation of original intent … so many years after the founders drafted our Declaration of Independence and Constitution."

What was omitted was that the ruling was based on a letter written in 1802 by one Thomas Jefferson, one of the key founders and writers of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

In a letter to a Danbury Baptist who had sought clarification on the role of government and religious practice, Jefferson wrote: " … their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

While Jefferson and other founders had no intention of allowing the government to limit, restrict, regulate or interfere with public religious practices, the First Amendment was also meant to prevent the federal establishment of a national religious denomination.

Peter Chisteckoff


Don’t attack Christians

Why did the Star-Advertiser print so many articles attacking Christians recently? There were three different articles in the editorial section one day that appeared to be personal attacks on the views and practices of many in the state.

I hope you realize that for many of your readers, their faith is an important part of their life and the continual mocking belittles their beliefs. People will vote based on a variety of reasons and we should all be respectful of each other. The foundation of Christian beliefs is faith, hope and love — and those three parts make up each individual Christian and they strive to live by each. To undermine one part undermines them all.

Sydney Inuauoe


Suitability is the key

Hawaii GOP chairman Jonah Kaauwai’s recent request to churches to cut appearances by Mufi Hannemann is absurd. How can this guy say Duke Aiona is the only righteous candidate?

Republicans are worried about losing the religious vote, when it shouldn’t be about a person’s religious beliefs but rather who is the better-suited candidate.

Kaauwai has also referred to Hannemann as having a plan of deception. How can a former mayor who has done so much for the state of Hawaii have a plan of deception?

Spenser Kunishige

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