IoS letters, emails & online postings (30 December 2012)

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The Independent Online

Joanna Moorhead rails against Richard Dawkins ("Caring and sharing is not abuse, Professor, 23 December) for suggesting that bringing up her offspring in the Catholic faith is a form of abuse, but then one can hardly expect a member of a cult to see how it looks from the outside.

Have her children been taught, as I was, that their immortal soul is intrinsically sinful and the central purpose of this life is to obtain everlasting life through Jesus Christ their Saviour? Are her children taught silently to commune with this Jesus before bedtime? Has she made her children regularly confess their innermost sins? Do her children understand that when they attend Mass they literally eat the body of Christ? Have they been told that it is partly by such renewed communion with God through their life that they stand a chance of escaping infinite torment?

Most important of all, has she considered the real psychological torment that might be in store for her children if, at some point, their rational minds lead them positively to disavow this Jesus and thereby abandon a faith inculcated from first consciousness by loving parents, teachers, priests and community? I agree with Dawkins that forcing religion on children is a form of abuse. From comfortable middle age, I still feel angry that I myself was abused in this way.

Paul Pearson

Penhow, Newport

I am puzzled by Joanna Moorhead's attack on Richard Dawkins who, so far as I can discover, has added nothing to the views published in his book The God Delusion in 2006.

Perhaps Ms Moorhead should have remembered another book, where someone said: "Love your enemies", and wished Professor Dawkins a Happy Christmas. Now that would have been truly Christian.

Jean Elliott

Upminster, Essex

It is beneath any intelligent journalist to rehack the desperate old lie that you must be Christian (or at least believe in some imaginary deity) to bring your children up to be caring and considerate. Richard Dawkins and I, and all of my atheist friends, manage, as far as I know, to avoid paedophilia without the need to invent some mythical overlord to tell us it's not right.

John Forster

Saltash, Cornwall

A quick survey of single, older, childless female friends, including some in poorer health or unable to find reasonably paid jobs despite being intelligent and highly qualified, produced the unanimous conclusion that we would all be much better off if we had a clutch of children ("Baby makes dad richer and mum poorer", 23 December). This may sound irresponsible, but is rational as long as politicians (and newspaper surveys) are blind to our existence.

H Powell


If it's true that nearly 40 per cent of bankers hate their jobs and there is little prospect of finding new jobs in the financial sector, then the Government should now get stuck in and start the intensive regulation of banking (Margareta Pagano, 23 December). It can be deduced that there is not going to be any "flight of the financiers" because there are no jobs, and enough bankers hate their work so that they are unlikely to defend it in the face of popular demand for reform. Let's now get the banking system that supports this country, instead of undermining it.

Ian McKenzie


While you suggest that men's fashion this year was a short- back-and-sides haircut with longer follicles on top, this surely only applies to the limited numbers of Young Fogies who support the Government ("Hot Stuff!", 23 December). The real fashionista in 2012 was sporting a designer beard of a hipsterish variety.

Keith Flett

London N17

It has been stated that 30 police staff had been allocated to investigate the case of Andrew Mitchell MP ("Cameron rounds on police over 'plebgate' affair", 23 December). Surely a touch excessive for a fairly minor case. In these times of staff cuts, has someone got their priorities wrong?

Ian Balloch

Bridgwater, Somerset

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