Readers React
Letters to the editor and readers' opinions.
A relationship with God isn't all-or-nothing

To the editor: It's fascinating to read about former Seventh-day Adventist pastor Ryan Bell, who wants to challenge his faith by experiencing life without religious practices. ("Ex-Seventh-day Adventist pastor takes a yearlong timeout from God," Dec. 22)

It seems that many people want to cast the decision of whether to have faith as a proposition between a God who should take responsibility for all the unhappiness and suffering in the world and no God at all. I'm not sure that's a fair test for God to have to meet, and that may be what leads to a crisis of faith.

There's always a middle path that people with black-and-white views may see as unworthy of further contemplation. It is worthwhile to understand faith in less severe terms and just be open to the moments when you can see God working in your life.

I wish Bell all the best in his journey.

Bill La Valley, Cypress


To the editor: I applaud Bell for his courage to explore the possibility that the God he believed in does not...

Read more
Japan is honest on history and 'comfort women'

To the editor: The notion that the Japanese government denies or downplays history is misleading. Following the stance of the past administrations, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his sincere commitment to face history with humility on numerous occasions. ("Japanese nationalists attempt to revise history on 'comfort women,'" Editorial, Dec. 11)

On the issue of "comfort women," the Abe administration made clear on June 20 that it will uphold the Kono Statement of 1993 and expressed that we are deeply pained to think of all those who suffered immeasurable pain. This government position remains unchanged.

On the other hand, I strongly oppose the installation of "comfort women statues" in California, where very diverse populations from many backgrounds coexist peacefully. Such installations will bring about unnecessary resentment and friction into local communities, break up sister city relations and marginalize very important parts of the community.

Japan's recent effort to...

Read more
Judge a charity by impact, not overhead

To the editor: Dean Karlan is right: When it comes to charities, at the end of the day, it is the results that matter. ("Here's how to determine if that charity is worth your dollars," Op-Ed, Dec. 17)

But Karlan's use of a financial overhead calculation as a proxy for waste is problematic. Some of the most effective charities have high administrative cost ratios because the costs of their programs are relatively low compared to what it takes to run and fund their efforts.

So what do we do about waste? Karlan's second step is a good place to start: Take some time to convince yourself that the charity is making progress based on evidence. If you don't see it, don't give. If you still like them, dig more and look for the audited financial statements on the website.

Send an email to the CEO or other officers (the addresses should be on the website) saying you want to give but need to know what the auditors wrote in their letter to management. That's where you will find your first signals...

Read more
Little comfort for the terminally ill and their caregivers

To the editor: I wish to thank The Times and Steve Lopez for bringing to light a part of this society that no one wants to talk about. I was a caregiver to my mother for more than two years. I was abandoned by family and friends in the most difficult and stressful time in my life and my mother's life. ("Teacher juggles the different stresses of tending to a dying companion," Dec. 20)

One quickly realizes there is no safety net in this society when a loved one becomes terminally ill, and few people can even discuss the situation, let alone provide any support. Being a caregiver to a terminally ill family member is truly an existential experience, and our society needs to address this issue for the sick individual as well as the caregiver.

Until that happens, our society offers no support for those individuals who are terminally ill as well as the caregiver.

Jeffrey Lowe, Beverly Hills

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

Read more
Sony doesn't need Obama's advice on 'The Interview'

To the editor: Unless President Obama has all the facts and commits to indemnify and defend Sony Pictures (and theater owners) against lawsuits in the wake of an act of terror tied to the showing of "The Interview," then Sony made the right decision to cancel the movie's Christmas Day release. ("Sony 'made a mistake' in canceling release of 'Interview,' Obama says," Dec. 19)

Remember the cases of Ebola in Texas? One week, Texas officials were criticized for tearing apart the residence of a patient when there was no evidence that it was necessary to do so. Another week, Texas health officials were lambasted for failing to do more.

We have politicians eager to make a sound bite and to grab their next votes — all while trying to look intelligent to their constituents. Let businesses decided what is best for themselves based on the facts.

Andrew Ko, San Marino


To the editor: As I read about the hack of Sony Pictures' computer systems, I cannot help remembering that, just a few years...

Read more
Dig more on pay for L.A.'s injured city workers

To the editor: What a depressing article about the impotence of the Los Angeles City Council to deal with municipal employees on disability leave who make more money sitting at home than working. Some of the claims cited in the article are suspect. ("L.A. to review 'flawed and expensive' leave policy for injured workers," Dec. 20)

Despite some perfunctory comments by City Council President Herb Wesson and Mayor Eric Garcetti's office, Councilman Bernard Parks seems to be the only one who's inclined to fix this corruption.

The Times needs to step up and continue to follow and highlight this ridiculous situation until it's fixed.

Robert Newman, West Hills


To the editor: This article and the series on produce imported from Mexico are fine examples of the effect of your investigative journalism. Such good journalism is especially needed, as TV news has deteriorated into mindless entertainment and campaign contributors control public policy.

I hope people will continue to subscribe and...

Read more