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Reader's view: Lennon's message should not be misunderstood

This is in response to the May 13 letter criticizing John Lennon's popular song, "Imagine" (Reader's View: "Answers to ponderings of Lennon's 'Imagine' "). Lennon wouldn't want his personal vision of a loving world to be used as a political messa...

This is in response to the May 13 letter criticizing John Lennon's popular song, "Imagine" (Reader's View: "Answers to ponderings of Lennon's 'Imagine' "). Lennon wouldn't want his personal vision of a loving world to be used as a political message of "my way or the highway." What he addressed in his song was the fear and repression that can easily be rationalized by narrow-minded religious zealots. In this respect, he would be critical not only of Christianity but also the Jewish faith, Buddhism, Hinduism, the Muslim faith or, indeed, any faith when it's used to control people with fear and superstition.

John Lennon's artistic perspective included a wish for "no possessions" in an ideal sense. That's because he considered materialism and greed divisive forces that prevent unity and moral virtue. Ironically, this same fundamental proposition is often supported by devout Christians. Lennon also would not consider atheism a license to avoid moral responsibility or permission to act any way he pleased. He undoubtedly would favor health-care reforms that (despite all the propaganda) would lower health-care costs for most Americans -- bringing that care within reach of otherwise marginalized people -- and enable 33 million Americans to know the human dignity of having adequate medical care. Any Good Samaritan understands this basic spiritual axiom of helping those who are less fortunate. Shouldn't we also have compassion for any woman whose free will and dignity are violated by rape or incest and not deny her the Plan B pill?

Lennon's personal human journey included many paths that were neither easy nor wide, but he knew the difference between the straight and narrow and the narrow-mindedness of religious fanatics who demand conformity as a means of social and moral control. Fortunately, not every person of faith feels this way. Those who believe strongly in love realize, as Lennon famously said, "All you need is love!"

Peter W. Johnson

Superior

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