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What has become of the sanctity of long-celebrated holy days?

To The Daily Sun,

At a time of the year that is usually reserved for joy, peace, and love, we witness a world that seems to be captured by misery, war, and hatred. War in the Middle East, terrorism in Paris, Beirut, and numerous other world locations. Gun violence in American schools and cities. Discrimination against Christians, Muslims and Jews. Refugees fleeing harm and persecution seeking safety for their families.

Has the world lost its mind? What has become of the sanctity of the holy days long celebrated during this season? Are there no respites of encouragement to those suffering in the world?

In the midst of such desperation and fear, I think the Lakes Region of New Hampshire stands like a beacon of light to the world. Rather than shunning the poor and desperate, the people of our small community have a long history of rendering assistance to those in need. Rather than building walls to keep out those who are "different," we have accepted, welcomed and assisted the "refugees" from the rest of New Hampshire, the rest of the United States and, even, the world.

I certainly can speak of such from the almost 25 years involvement with the Laconia Conference of St. Vincent de Paul. The amount of food, clothing, furniture, household items, financial assistance with rent, heat, utilities, car repairs, dental work, and Christmas gifts can only be explained by the support the people of the Lakes Region send to us. Not only your food and clothing donations and financial help, but the many hours rendered by a wonderful group of over 125 volunteers.

On behalf of all the people at St. Vincent de Paul, I ask for your continued generosity. If you would like to join our volunteer team, give me a call at 524-5470 or stop in at our offices on Union Ave. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Peace on Earth and good will to all men and women,

Erika Johnson, President

St. Vincent de Paul

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None of these letter writers have a clue about what Islam is

To The Daily Sun,

I am saddened to see the misinformed and prejudiced letters concerning refugees from a war-torn land in your paper, exemplified by Ms. Anna DeRose's wincing rant in Tuesday's paper. It is wincing in that it exposes to the rest of us only her ignorance and prejudice. It has nothing to do with the reality of the situation.

The refugees that our president has proposed allowing in are families fleeing the wars in the Middle East. They have been caught in the (at least) three-way crossfire of a regime desperately trying to hold onto its power, a fragmented opposition ranging from freedom fighters to local warlords, and more recently the rise of the Islamic State. Any sane person would wish to flee for their lives, and turn to a beacon of liberty for a chance to live a decent life.

I am reminded of the Jewish refugees who fled Nazism in the late 1930s for a life of freedom, but who were turned away from America and sent back to Europe, many to die in the Holocaust. That act remains a stain on our nation's conscience. Yet today's proponents want to repeat that immoral stance and send any refugees back to the slaughter. How can you be human and say that? It appears that they feel one "American" life is worth 60,000 "non-American" lives. What hubris. What desecration of the principles of the "Christian God" she invokes in "God Bless America." God is not limited to believers of one faith, and does not bless America for this kind of abomination.

As for the religion of Islam, none of the letter-writers who spew the invective seem to have the faintest sense of what Islam is. If someone raped the women, enslaved or murdered the men and claimed they were acting for the glory of the Christian God, you would (I hope) immediately reply that that person did not represent Christianity. However, these writers (Ms. DeRose and her ilk) make that same fundamental error of confusing the claims of the Islamic State murderers with the true nature of Islam.

Sure, you can find a gory past in the history of Islam, but if you think the Crusades were qualitatively different, you are wrong. So let's accept some truths. Muslims are not the enemy. They are humans raised to call God by the name their language uses, just as we do. They want to avoid and flee chaos and death just as we would. They want the freedom to worship God in the way they understand God, just as we in the USA do. The excesses committed by those in the name of Islam are just as divorced from Islam as Christian fundamentalists who advocate violence and turning our back on those in need are bereft from the true message of Christ.

I also note Ms. DeRose's last paragraph where she says "If Hillary or Bush get in then we will know this is all fixed and our votes mean nothing." This of course is saying, "I know I am right, so if I don't get my way that proves the rest of you are cheating." What a way to (attempt to) invalidate the course of democracy and the will of the majority.

Democracy is difficult because it means needing to deal with the reality that not everyone agrees with you, and in fact, the majority is often against you. Perhaps after Ms. DeRose has sent the Muslims packing, then it will be the homosexuals, the atheists, the blacks, the Jews, the Democrats, and then the moderate Republicans' turns?

Malik Haig


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