Reviews | Distrust of government can be fatal

For the editor:

Re “The Covid policy that really mattered was not a policy” (column, February 7):

Ezra Klein’s insightful column points out that the root causes of our failure to adequately deal with Covid, both domestically and internationally, were more our lack of solidarity and distrust of government than politics. In other words, they were due to our social dysfunction.

This idea has deeply negative implications for human survival that go far beyond Covid. This indicates that we are unable to deal with the far greater threats of global warming and environmental devastation, no matter what technical miracles we discover, because we lack the solidarity and trust to deal with it. to these threats to the pursuit of human existence.

We are doomed not because we don’t know what to do; we are doomed because we will not cooperate with each other or support our respective governments to make it happen. Humanity is now on its last round of merry-go-round and that round is ending much sooner than most people think, not because we don’t have the knowledge to prevent catastrophe, but because too many people refuse to acknowledge the truth for very selfish reasons. and short-sighted reasons.

The most urgent things we need to do are face the facts honestly and begin to come together to deal with them.

Richard H. Cantor
Scarsdale, NY

For the editor:

Although Ezra Klein is correct that trust in government matters a lot in determining whether people have followed public health advice on Covid-19, we must consider the underlying political dynamics that contribute to trust. and political mistrust.

Data shows Republicans are less likely than Democrats to get vaccinated. Why? Promoting distrust of government has been the key strategy of American conservatives for decades.

Aided by outrageous media, Republicans have used mistrust in political battles and election campaigns, and in efforts to shift power from institutions they don’t control to those they control, as well as to build and sustain their organizations and coalition. While skepticism is a democratic virtue, weaponized mistrust has harmed our republic and our public health.

Fried Amy
Douglas B. Harris
The writers, professors of political science at the University of Maine and Loyola University in Maryland, are the authors of “At War With Government: How Conservatives Weaponized Distrust from Goldwater to Trump,” respectively.

For the editor:

Regarding “pastor resigns after performing thousands of baptisms incorrectly” (news article,, February 14):

I’ve been a lifelong Catholic, and the article about Reverend Andres Arango performing baptisms “incorrectly” made me cringe. Father Arango used the word “we” instead of “I” when performing the baptism ritual.

Of all the real problems, mistakes and crimes facing the church, the fact that this receives more than a fleeting glance from church leaders is amazing. The suggestion that all baptisms performed by Father Arango are invalid is absolutely absurd.

Do members of the church hierarchy really think that Jesus would be upset by the way this priest performed the baptisms? Do they really believe that Jesus would exclude all of these individuals from eternal life?

Specifically, do church leaders sometimes wonder the four words that Catholic children learn from an early age: “What would Jesus do?” »

Mary Katherine Hawryluk
Princeton, New Jersey

For the editor:

Christian clergy can, will, and make mistakes in celebrating the sacraments, and this has been a concern for the church for most of its history. The precision of words, forms, intentions and liturgical materials has been a constant development intended to allay the anxiety of believers as to whether they will receive the grace which has been promised to them.

While the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix has ruled that the thousands of baptisms performed by Reverend Andres Arango during his two decades of ministry are invalid due to an admitted wording error, there is another attitude available in the canonical Western Christian. tradition.

Called “Ecclesia supplet”, Latin words meaning that the Church, by her supernatural authority, supplies the defects of the sacraments, it would offer an alternative point of view to the large community of people currently experiencing confusion as to the status of their own lives. religious.

Baptism is actually an extraordinarily simple act that can be administered by almost anyone who intends to do what the church has always done. The many Christian lives begun with baptism in Father Arango’s parishes were undoubtedly full of grace.

Richard J. Mammana Jr.
new York
The author is associated with the Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations of The Episcopal Church.

For the editor:

“Woman Cured of HIV Using Novel Treatment: Umbilical Cord Blood” (News article, February 16) highlighted the joyous news that a woman has become the third person cured of HIV, this time using umbilical cord blood .

The article also highlighted the disturbing news that “while women account for more than half of HIV cases worldwide, they represent only 11% of participants in cure trials.” Why would male trial participants outnumber females by an 8 to 1 ratio when females fall victim to HIV at a higher rate than males?

This appears to be a glaring example of inequity in health care resources.

Barbara Quackenbos
West Orange, New Jersey
The writer is a former health lawyer.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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