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Karen King, a historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School, holds a fragment of papyrus that she says contains a reference to Jesus' wife in Cambridge, Mass., Sept. 13, 2012. The fragment, which King says was written in Coptic in the fourth century, could reignite the debate over whether Jesus was married. (Evan McGlinn/The New York Times) (EVAN MCGLINN/NYT)
Karen King, a historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School, holds a fragment of papyrus that she says contains a reference to Jesus' wife in Cambridge, Mass., Sept. 13, 2012. The fragment, which King says was written in Coptic in the fourth century, could reignite the debate over whether Jesus was married. (Evan McGlinn/The New York Times) (EVAN MCGLINN/NYT)

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Sept. 24: Having fun with Jesus, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Humour heaven

Elizabeth Renzetti’s column (Why The Fuss Over Jesus’s Domestic Arrangements? – Sept. 22), with its sassy comments about Christ and his possible marital status, is a timely reminder of how fortunate we are to live in this country where such things can be published without fear of reprisals to her or to The Globe and Mail. Something else to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Wendy Kerr Hadley, Port Credit, Ont.


Where business is politics

Chinese ambassador Zhang Junsai warns Canadians that we should not politicize the Nexen decision (Canada-China Free-Trade Pact Touted – Sept. 22). “Business is business” he advises. Yet business is so politicized in China that CNOOC Ltd. – the company proposing to swallow Nexen – is owned by the Chinese state. All sound relationships are guided by the principle of reciprocity. Would a Canadian company be permitted to buy CNOOC? The answer informs our PM what his reply to the Chinese must be. When Mr. Zhang touts free trade, he dangles a flagrantly politicized carrot. Canadians will rightly take the stick to Mr. Harper if he bites.

Scott Gardiner, Toronto


Obsolete oil?

Nathan VanderKlippe’s article (The Oil Sands’ Day Of Reckoning – Sept. 22) brought forward a number of important considerations for understanding the economics of Canada’s petroleum industry. But where was the mention of the other economic threat – disruptive innovation? In recent years, billions of global venture capital has been invested in clean technologies. Returns aren’t immediate. It usually takes 7-10 years for R&D to reach consumers, so there’s going to be a tsunami of clean-tech innovation which will hit markets by 2020.

The primary reasons renewable energy technologies have seen limited applications are high capital cost and inefficient energy storage (batteries). Yet costs for renewable systems are already going down, so when this gets paired with better advances in storage, consumers and businesses will see economically competitive alternatives to oil. The bottom line is that renewable energy may do to the petroleum industry what the MP3 did to the CD.

Pete Reinecke, Ottawa


Japan’s dark past

The comment of a besieged Japanese woman in Beijing (For Japanese Expats In China, Tension And Time Indoors – front page, Sept. 21) underlines one of the major problems in the current Sino-Japanese relationship.

Saying “there are some Chinese people out there who don’t like Japan very much … because of some little islands” to her four-year-old daughter is representative of the ignorance and indifference on the part of many Japanese of the deep-rooted resentment felt by their Asian neighbours toward Japan’s refusal to acknowledge its atrocities during the 1930s and 1940s.

This ignorance is perpetuated by the Japanese government’s continued effort to whitewash Japan’s wartime history in its school curriculum. Japan will have no genuine peace or goodwill with its Asian neighbours as long as it refuses to address the issues of comfort women and other grievances in its dark past.

Wendy Steinberg, West Vancouver


Three-strikes lament

Your editorial on the three-strikes law for sexual predators (We Don’t Care What A Psychiatrist Said – Sept. 21) misreports the Ontario Superior Court judge’s ruling and misunderstands the role of the forensic psychiatry expert.

Mr. Justice Alan Bryant struck down the three-strikes law on the basis of a constitutional law analysis. He found that the statute breached the principle of fundamental fairness, that it was unjustified because other dangerous offender legislation adequately addresses public safety, and that putting the onus on the offender in the three-strikes scenario to prove he’s not a dangerous offender failed to meet the minimum intrusion test necessary for constitutional justification.

Finally, the court addressed whether the onerousness of the legislation is proportional to the benefits that flow from it. This requires that the statute be internally logical. Only on this last point was Philip Klassen’s evidence relevant. And all he said was that the hypothetical scenario the judge put to him would not have provided him (or, in essence, any psychiatrist) with the tools with which to offer a meaningful opinion.

Your editorial seemed to place Dr. Klassen in a starring role in the court’s decision-making when, in reality, his testimony was almost incidental to the weightier constitutional issues at hand.

A.I.F. Simpson and Hy Bloom, Division of Forensic Psychiatry, University of Toronto, and the Canadian Academy of Psychiatry and the Law


‘Conservative’ Canadians

Margaret Wente (Surprise! We’re More Conservative Than Americans – Sept. 20) argues that Canadians are more “conservative” than Americans because of our greater proclivity for living in traditional families; Amy Kaler (By The Numbers – letter, Sept. 21) properly replies that the wider trend is in the opposite direction.

What both overlook is that how we run our private lives bears no necessary connection to our views on law and public policy. A liberal society is not one in which everyone abandons traditional ways of living. It is one in which people are free to do so, and to have their choices accorded equal dignity in law.

I am a father and husband, a regular churchgoer, and an imbiber of no illegal substances. I also support the legal recognition of same-sex marriage and the extension of family benefits to common-law or single-parent families, as well as principles such as access to abortion and the liberalization of drug and prostitution laws.

Ms. Wente seems to be defining people like me as “conservative.” I suspect Mitt Romney and his supporters would be surprised to hear that.

Gregory Millard, Port Moody, B.C.


Junk philosophy

As soon as I finished your Facts & Arguments essay A Hoarder’s Remorse (Sept. 21), I rushed down to our basement and checked. Yes, the dog portrait that my husband had painted when he was in Grade 6 (he’s now 70) is still leaning against the fireplace mantle.

And then I looked in the larder. The space meant for my jams, chutneys and relishes is still being taken up by a portable typewriter and enough old computer parts to supply a small office.

My husband promised to declutter when he retired. But, somehow, he has stayed very busy restoring an old wooden boat he bought three years ago. So now we have more, not less, in the way of “stuff.”

Any one for mouldy curtains and an old toilet seat?

Manya Egerton, Vancouver


Periscope down

I read with interest your article Navy Officer Faked Death To Put An End To Love Affair (Sept. 19). I suspect this U.S. nuclear submarine commander took the meaning of Run Silent Run Deep a little too seriously.

Peter Simmons, Oakville, Ont.

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