Opinion | Faith and Politics within the US and Overseas

About the editor:

On “This is how the theocracy is shrinking” by David Brooks (column, August 28):

Mr. Brooks may want to take a closer look at home. In America, the religious right is not gaining support, but its political influence has never been greater. Anti-abortion opponents finally have the desired majority in the Supreme Court. The radical right-wing turn of the GOP has put white Christian nationalism in the spotlight. And as the January 6th uprising in the Capitol shows, these people are ready to use force to impose their views on the nation.

The problem is not Islamic extremism; The problem is the politicization of religion. And while theocratic regimes in the Muslim world wither, religious zealots mobilize in Western democracies.

Stephen Newman
The author is an Associate Professor of Politics at York University.

About the editor:

Thank you David Brooks for focusing on what we did about Muslim extremism and what the Islamist world thinks. The separation of religion and state is more important than ever in their and our world. I very much hope that Mr Brooks is right in believing that Islam opposes the politicization of his belief and that the terrorist groups do not have the support of the vast majority of Muslims.

We have failed to bring democracy to this world, but maybe we can hope that it will see what terrorism brings.

Judith Schwan
Westport, Mass.

About the editor:

Almost half of Afghanistan’s population is under 15 years old. It is difficult to imagine that a younger generation with global economic ambitions in an increasingly secular world would support or strictly obey the dictates of a theocratic government.

Robert J. Comiskey
Reston, go.

About the editor:

On “Disdain Critics, Biden Calls Notable Success To Leave” (front page, September 1):

While other presidents may have realized that there was no plausible endgame to the war in Afghanistan that began 20 years ago in response to the 9/11 attacks, only President Biden had the will and courage to pull through. Let’s hope future politicians will think long before sending other people’s children to war with no clearly defined, achievable goal.

I am grateful that the sinking feeling I had on October 7, 2001 when this conflict began has turned into a sense of relief that we are finally leaving a never-ending battle.

Edwin Andrews
Malden, Mass.

About the editor:

Re “No shot for them. Don’t tell your colleagues “(Business Sunday, August 8th):

Should the man who decided against the vaccination be free from the unhappy looks of his colleagues just because he is “skeptical” about the vaccinations?

It’s outrageous that he was able to avoid letting colleagues know he wasn’t vaccinated and exposing them to the possibility of Covid infection with the highly contagious Delta variant.

Given the greater likelihood of unvaccinated people getting and transmitting Covid, and the overwhelming evidence that Covid vaccines are effective and safe, I think universal vaccination should be needed. It is the responsibility of the workplace to protect all workers from exposure, even if it harms the feelings of the person who chooses not to remain vaccinated.

Happy Selk
Albany, California.

About the editor:

On “Covid forces bosses to act” (Business, August 4th):

The article said that one of the reasons many companies are reluctant to prescribe vaccines is because of concern that their requirement “could provide another reason for employees to quit”. That could happen, but perhaps the “bosses” should consider the likely consequences of churn when issuing a mandate that applies to all employees.

Covid-related health costs and ultimately insurance premiums for employees and companies will not increase as much. Absenteeism due to illness will be lower. There will be no us against you in the workforce. The mandate will send the message that employee health is paramount.

Also, consider this: The vaccinated workers hired to replace are better informed and less likely to believe in conspiracy theories. May I say they’ll be smarter? An opportunity like this is rare. Companies should benefit from this.

Marvin Kaplan
Westfield, New Jersey

About the editor:

On “Honor Home Health Workers” by Lynn Hallarman (guest article for comment, Sunday Review, August 15):

What a lovely essay on the unsung and underpaid angels who take care of our elders. As I get older, I realize how the final years of my life depend on the friendliness of my family and direct caregivers at home or in an institution should I need them.

Getting old is so fast. I am not prepared. Even with dementia and my father’s decline in his 90s, I somehow didn’t associate that with my own future. At 76, I am humble about my lack of thought, let alone planning the end of my own life.

It would be wonderful if every member of Congress had Dr. Hallarman’s essay before repealing laws that recognize we all get old and remember that most will not have the resources they have.

Nancy Gerson
South Dennis, Mass.

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