RE: "Faith No More" [Feature, April 5], an interview with Portland State University philosophy professor Peter Boghossian regarding his outspoken views on religious faith being a destructive delusion.

DEAR MERCURY—I agree with what he says. "Not pretending to know things that you don't know is a virtue." Therein lies the distinction. There is no "willingness to reconsider" when you join an established belief system. The fundamentalists on all sides continue to bark at each other and bark at the world while the reasonable individuals in the middle continue to listen, read, shake their heads, and sigh.


DEAR MERCURY—Thank you so much for the enlightening interview with Dr. Peter Boghossian. People living in faith-based, feel-goody superstitions and then imposing their delusions on the rest of us is a crisis... that must end—and cannot afford to be delayed any longer. Frankly, we all would greatly benefit weekly from the lectures and writings of Boghossian, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. Our schools would also benefit greatly from offering classes with a bound anthology that conveniently compiles these men's greatest works thus far. Then after more and more of us learn the ways of true thinking, we could send people around the world to present what they've learned in remote regions of Africa and South America. Viva the Secular Clergy!

 -Peter Roth


RE: "Fired? Want Your Job Back? We Can Do That! Give Labor Arbitrators Unlimited a Try!" [New Column, April 5], satirizing the arbitration ruling in favor of the reinstatement of the officer who shot an unarmed citizen in the back.

DEAR MERCURY—While I understand this was a satire piece I think it's irresponsibly damaging. I challenge you to do a bit of journalism and research this topic. You'll find that arbitrators are well-qualified professionals and are highly respected. They are trained and follow a standard of facts. The facts in this case were not in favor of the city, yet the arbitrator pointed out what the city could fix in her ruling. Rather than fix this, the city has chosen, and unfortunately it seems your publication as well, to blame the arbitrator and to attack the profession as well as the process. Arbitrator [Jane] Wilkinson held, "Courts and the police bureau's training have emphasized that officers need not wait to see a weapon before firing, so long as there is a reasonable possibility, considering all circumstances that the suspect is pulling a gun." There you have it, the training that has allowed shootings like the tragic shooting of Mr. [Aaron] Campbell. I would like to remind you of all of the people in Portland who have been unarmed and shot dead. Each of these cases outraged the public, only one officer resigned, [and] stated it wasn't due to the shooting. All other officers remained on the job. What allows this to happen and keep happening? Perhaps it's time for the city to swallow some pride and fix this problem! 

-Jaimie Work


RE: "'A Keg of Powder'" [News, April 5], regarding the fallout after Officer Ron Frashour's favorable arbitration outcome.

I actually sort of agree Frashour wasn't wrong, but NOT for any actual reasons stated in the trial or this article... [There was] an article early on citing the actual occurrences of the day. Frashour was following orders. It was the superior officers who weren't properly communicating the situation to him, and therefore he was justified in thinking Campbell had a weapon. But of course the lower person has to take the fall... Nobody ever thought of putting the people in charge on trial.

-posted by vikmeister


RE: "Shame, Shame, Shame" [Letters, April 5], in which a letter writer Thomas G. Mcree writes in to protest "Dear Jeff Foxworthy" [I Love Television, March 29] as "vulgar" and posits that author Wm. Steven Humphrey would pray to Jesus if he were in a dangerous situation.

Dear Mr. Mcree—You make a crucial point: The one compelling reason for a nonbeliever to become a believer is fear. Thank you for making it crystal clear to me why I so mistrust religion in general. I think there are more realistic (mature, sane) ways of dealing with existential angst.

-Susan McDonald

YOU KNOW WHAT else is a mature and sane way of dealing with existential angst? Movies! That's why Susan gets two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater for winning this week's letter of the week!