In response to your Feb. 20 article "Missionaries adjust to risks in Arab lands": Although I understand the main points of the article, I must draw attention to the underlying cultural ignorance displayed by some of the missionaries. According to one Christian evangelist mentioned in the article, "Brazilians make great missionaries to Muslims ... because the two groups have in common dark skin, dark eyes, modest means overall, and a knack for the Arabic language." This just reveals complete ignorance of the Middle East and its people, who look nothing like Brazilians.
In addition, discrimination based on skin color is something that doesn't really exist in the Middle East. I was brought up there in a Christian family. The only form of discrimination that I experienced was based entirely on religion. The simple classification of people into "whites" and "nonwhites" does not exist in the Middle East as it may in the minds of those missionaries in the article.
Forest Grove, Ore.
Regarding "Missionaries adjust to risks in Arab lands": I disagree with the author's use of the term Westerner. Latin America is in the Western hemisphere and, therefore, the people living in Latin America are Westerners. In addition to that, most Latin Americans practice Western religions, speak Western languages, and have (although imperfect) Western political and economic systems. So, why does the author refer to Latinos as non-Westerners?
As an "indigenous American," I feel that our cultural support and facilitation of converting others from their original religion is the height of arrogance. This ongoing activity is certainly a component in the ever-increasing resentment against our nation. History is replete with the folly of this type of cultural judgmentalism and ensuing control measures. This notion of "us and them" is the root cause of most injustices that we face as an evolving world civilization.
Allowing a group of people, however well-intentioned, to promote their religious views through clandestine means is a subversive intrusion into a viable and rightfully autonomous belief system. The peoples targeted with this cultural assault have every right to be upset. Control, judgment, subversion, and sneakiness will not lead us to that safe and prosperous future we hope for our children.
Regarding your Feb. 20 article "War issue luring Democrats to race": The entry of Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio into the presidential race is significant for more than his being an antiwar candidate. From my readings of his speeches, he is a candidate suggesting something far more profound - a change in how we relate to our fellow world citizens.
This change will require a paradigm shift to exporting peacemaking as a foreign policy as opposed to warmaking policy. A discussion on this issue could serve our country well.
Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
Regarding the Jan. 28 opinion piece "Can small still be beautiful?": Kumar Venkat identified the premier problem of globalization - not just in India, but everywhere. Globalization's one goal - optimum return to the owner - requires unlimited use and constant pressure to reduce costs of both human and natural resources. We need better goals.
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