We need to examine the values we emphasize as a society

Dear Editor:

I share the general spirit of Mr. Pleski’s commentary (‘It’s Time to Bring Back God into our lives,’ 2/20/2013); we need to reconsider and change societal values/mores that lead to such violent acts as the New Town tragedy. However, I disagree with his solution.

The relationship between belief in a God/a high degree of religiosity and moral/ethical behavior has been studied on numerous occasions.

Results consistently show no correlation with higher morals, stronger ethics, or less corruption/criminal activity. In fact, as religious affiliation and activity in the United States has dropped since the mid 90s, violent crime and property crime rates have also steadily declined over that same period. It’s noteworthy that history is rife with deeply religious people committing undeniably evil acts (9/11, the Serbian-Bosnian war, the Inquisition, etc). Nor is the bible (Koran, Book of Mormon) an infallible guide to human behavior. This is not to suggest that religion plays a role in increasing violence, only to point out that it is not the panacea Mr. Pleski portrays it to be.

A better solution to the seemingly increasing violent nature of our society is to candidly examine the values we emphasize as a society, whether through video games, movies, television, activities, sports, or politics. We need to discuss the role of guns in our society. And we should consider what other factors (economic and demographic) could be contributing. It will be hard, uncomfortable work, requiring a willingness to accept what we discover. Most importantly, we will need the courage to act on it.

Ken Vaselaar