Re: Edwin Decker's Oct. 3 "Sordid Tales" column: As a lifelong agnostic—well, at least from the age of 8 or 9, when I began to develop the ability to recognize pointless silliness when I saw it, my reaction to religion has been at odds with most of my contemporaries.
Agnostics have no reason to confront or antagonize "believers," since we have nothing to offer them to replace their desperate hope that death is not the inevitable, actual and final end of human life. Every day we are reminded in one way or another that we are a minority in a society in which some level of religious belief or affiliation is taken for granted.
But agnostics have no obligation to pretend they can listen to comical religious dogma / fiction and keep a straight face. (If you're not a Mormon, for example, and know little of that religion, Google "Mormon beliefs" and see if you can avoid giggling while reading the numerous entries.)
Fortunately, in the U.S., our tradition of freedom of speech is widely observed, and only a few psychopaths in this country might turn violent when someone deliberately or accidentally points out the more obvious contradictions and impossibilities supporting their fabulous beliefs. Most of us have some familiarity with the many variations of Protestantism, Catholicism and the Jewish faith since examples of those adherents might be found in almost every neighborhood. Those particular beliefs and practices are no longer considered a threat to others, but they at least provide material and inspiration for entertaining fiction, theater and musicals.
So, why do many members of only one worldwide religion descend into murderous rage at the slightest real or imagined slight to their religion and/or its leaders? An offhand response from this particular agnostic would be that the murderous terrorism shown in recent TV news coverage could be the reaction of a very insecure and provincial extremist sect that chooses to pretend all criticism is a mortal threat to them—or, more likely, the result of a small segment of a tribe with little education and nothing constructive to do, being whipped into a frenzy at the behest of their irresponsible leadership.
Has it occurred to anyone that an extreme right-wing element in the U.S. (to protect their anonymity, I'll call them the Pea Tarty) may have deliberately timed the release of their amateur hate film to provoke mayhem in Libya?
Lyle Davidson, Downtown
DeMaio and the judges
I was very impressed with your Oct. 3 editorials on car allowances for judges and Carl DeMaio.
Since I just was laid off and took another job for 20-percent less, it's difficult for me to be concerned about judges retaining $6,000 to $8,000 in car allowances. Based on their $180,000 salaries, eliminating that perk would be about a 4-percent reduction in pay. It's the same old story: "Reduce expenses, but not my salary."
As for Carl DeMaio, he's one of the guys who voted to lay me off. If you remember, DeMaio took a trip to Texas to gather information to attract businesses to San Diego. It truly is bizarre that the company that won the contract is a foreign company that will be outsourcing much of the work to Texas. DeMaio voted for this company.
Also, don't forget that DeMaio is supported by Doug Manchester, owner of U-T San Diego. His goal is to get the residents of San Diego to pay for a new Chargers stadium so he can profit from related development. As your editorial alluded to, DeMaio is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Ron Harris, Scripps Ranch
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