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• Travel and airport personnel jaywalking • Concern is specific
sects, not religion in general
Travel and airport personnel jaywalking
Today when dropping off my wife at Hawaiian Air I saw two men in red aloha shirts stroll across the roadway, even stopping to chat with friends. I realize that working at the airport and wearing a type of uniform gives a sense of relaxed entitlement. These were just two friendly local guys who meant no harm or disrespect.
Unfortunately, tourists may view this as a license to jaywalk whenever they feel like. Often there is a perception that their sense of entitlement stems from their particular cultural background. Carelessly stepping in front of an approaching vehicle, forcing it to stop, tends to anger local people and fosters anti-tourist sentiments. This is especially true if they don’t acknowledge the driver’s existence with the local customary wave.
It is more distressing to see our local people, especially the younger ones, adopt the same entitlement attitudes. This decline in the Aloha Spirit is expanding.
On the way to Hanalei, stopping at a bridge to let the other side proceed was always acknowledged with a wave or friendly “thank you” toot of a horn. As these polite customs pass by the wayside we lose a vital part of ourselves.
I hope we pass on these considerate values to our children. As examples, those who are involved in the tourist industry are our first line of education for newcomers. As we practice these customs, even most tourists eventually “get it.”
Leroy Wadahara, Lihu‘e
Concern is specific sects, not religion in general
In his Nov. 14 letter, Mr.. Beeksma refers to the separation of church and state as practiced by Thomas Jefferson in an effort to clarify Dr. Richman’s letter of Nov. 12.
Based on my participation as vice chair in the discussion by the Interfaith Roundtable of Kaua‘i leading to the Nov. 12 letter, I offer further clarification by asking “What would TJ do on Kaua‘i?”
Mr.. Beeksma points out that TJ wrote a letter using the term “separation of church and state” and then attended a Christian worship service led by a chaplain in the U.S. Capitol building two days later. I assume Mr. Beeksma is not suggesting that if TJ were here, he would expect to attend a Christian worship service in the County Building, even if the county had a chaplain.
Rather, TJ would expect a multi-faith service more along the lines of the one held at the Pentagon on the National Day of Prayer earlier this year. He would expect a fair and wide representation of the faith communities of our citizens today, just as the worship service he attended was widely representative of the Protestant sects of the vast majority of citizens at that time. Native Americans and Africans with different beliefs were not citizens. Jews and Catholics were citizens, but still not included. TJ would certainly understand that we are more inclusive now. Even women might officiate!
TJ would still find familiar Christian sects at a worship service at the County Building, but also some new to him. In addition he might also find Native Hawaiians, Bahais, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and others. The core principle of inclusive, or at least wide, representation remains the same now as it did at the U.S. Capitol then, although the practice of it is different. As Mr. Beeksma states, “we must refer to the real Jefferson, not some make-believe version of Jefferson.”
Overall, Mr. Beeksma appears to have misunderstood the Roundtable as using the word “religion” in a very broad sense. Mr. Beeksma will doubtless be happy to learn, therefore, that we are in fundamental agreement when he says, in the broad sense, “it is impossible to entirely separate religion and politics.” I would add it is not even desirable to do so.
Neither does the Roundtable “pretend that belief systems have no effect on political preferences.” And we wholeheartedly do our best to live up to Mr. Beeksma’s admonishment “to be respectful of people of different religious perspectives and also be appreciative of the good values and wisdom that different religious traditions can offer to our community.”
The separation of church and state refers to religion narrowly in the sense of organized sects, not religion in general. It is in this context and with this narrower understanding that the Roundtable unanimously decided to write in support of Bishop Okano and Alton Miyamoto’s letter of Oct. 30.
Perhaps if we had inserted “organized” in the quote Mr. Beeksma opened his letter with, he would have better understood that the Roundtable’s concern is with any particular sect that acts in ways that are not “consistent with the principles on which this nation was founded.”
Examples here on Kaua‘i of concern to both TJ and us are sects that attempt to exclude others from the public square, violate campaign laws, or seek preferential treatment from government agencies.
The views expressed are mine and not necessarily those of the Roundtable or its members.
Jonathan Cender, Koloa
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