To the Editor:
To be clear about the meaning of Christmas it is important first to remember that Jesus was neither Aryan nor Anglo-Saxon. and, more importantly, that his was a revolutionary voice against the sociopolitical and economic customs and morality of his time.  His vision of power was not one of subjugation, violence, exploitation, and wealth, but one of caring, forgiveness, and inclusion. This was a belief for the disadvantaged and oppressed.  It is the Christianity practiced by Martin Luther King and appears to be the message that Pope Francis is attempting to instill again within the Catholic Church.
Also significant is that the Sermon on the Mount was given on a hillside, in the open air, not from the pulpit of a magnificent temple, nor is it random circumstance that the birth of Jesus is celebrated at the winter solstice, long recognized in ancient “pagan” religious practice as a time of rebirth when sunlight hours stop shrinking and begin to lengthen again.  This places Christianity squarely as a religion not only of human kindness, but also as an observer and caretaker of the realities of our life here on Earth.  These are messages one hopes all people can take to heart.

           Robert Porath

A Time of Assassins

To the Editor:
Despite all the cheering over the killing of Osama Bin Laden, I felt a deep sadness not only that assassination has become so widely accepted as an American military and diplomatic tool, but also that, as a nation, we have again chosen to move forward in history by killing people.  If Bin Laden were indeed unarmed, do we attribute his death to a Presidential directive or to a soldier acting individually in a tense moment?  Will his death have any lasting effect on our “War on Terror”, a war that more and more seems to have no ending point?  Warfare is deeply entrenched in America’s history, but it should be noted that being in a permanent state of war is precisely what brought down Athens, the city-state generally regarded as the foundation of  democracy and of Western civilization itself.  It is a shame that Martin Luther King’s legacy of non-violent action is now so cavalierly termed “childishly naive”.