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EVEN SUPPORTER’S WORD CHOICES CAST ASPERSIONS ON ATHEISTS To the editor: George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin’s choice of wording in his April 17 commentary, “The Final Prejudice” (Page 68), demonstrates a basic reason for the tenacity of the anti-atheist prejudice that he criticizes. Consider the following two sentences from the article: “But one minority lags behind all others — those who do not believe in God.” “Atheism is not a comprehensive world view, but merely a denial of the existence of God.” That such phraseology appears both usual and accurate illustrates the insidiousness of the problem faced not only by atheists, but also by persons concerned about prejudice toward atheists. Here’s why. To define atheists as persons “who do not believe in God” puts them in an unattractive subculture to begin with. Leaving aside the use of the “God” concept (as if all who “believe in God” believe in the same God), to say that atheists do not believe in God is to say that there is a God, and yet those atheists do not believe in him (or her). But atheists do believe: They believe that there is no God. That is just as much a belief as is a theist’s belief that there is a God. To say, then, that atheists do not believe in God is to decide against the atheists’ belief to begin with, to ignore what atheists believe, and to put them into a category that makes it easy for others to assert that they lack morality or even the basis for morality. Nor should atheism be defined as “merely a denial of the existence of God.” Again, atheists have a belief, and that belief is that there is no God. Put somewhat differently, is it that Jews deny that Jesus is God or God’s son, or is it that they believe that Jesus is neither God nor God’s son? Do Christians deny that the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament has yet to come to earth, or is it that they believe that Jesus is the Messiah? When atheism, unlike theism,�is constantly proffered in negative terms such as nonbeliever and God-denier, people who connect belief in a God with moral behavior get the message that atheism is bad and to be despised. Such is the power of language. It creates images, which create beliefs, which create attitudes, which lead to behavior. Julian Tepper Bethesda, Md.
REFORM CFIUS, BUT CAREFULLY To the editor: The April 17 story “Business Lobby Lines Up Against Reform” (Page 18), by Joe Crea, mischaracterizes the Business Roundtable’s position on reform of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The Business Roundtable represents chief executive officers of 160 leading U.S. companies. The article states: “The business community is squarely against the proposed reforms and is pressing to block them.” To the contrary, the business community has supported improving the transparency of the CFIUS process to enhance national security aspects, while at the same time strongly recommending that legislators tread cautiously so as not to stifle foreign investment and economic growth. We have clearly stated that we share the concerns of members of Congress on national security and recognize the need to update the CFIUS process. But as employers with millions of employees and trillions of dollars in annual revenues, which generate growth and jobs, it is our responsibility to inform members about the economic implications of their proposals and the possible chilling effect that Draconian measures could have on our economy. Foreign investment is essential both for the United States as an investor and for our trading partners. Foreign investors in the United States, for example, employ over 5 million Americans and invested almost $80 billion in the United States in 2004. This is money that benefits our nation’s infrastructure and workers. The Business Roundtable has stated clearly that we support enhancements to national security aspects of the CFIUS process. The key is to ensure a fair and objective process without passing protectionist measures that would choke business and economic growth and hurt our workers and our country. John J. Castellani President, Business Roundtable Washington, D.C.

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