Letters to the Editor

Treaty’s meaning was distorted in column

The United States is not a theocracy. It is not the Christian version of the Islamic State ruled by Sharia Law. But to say that Biblical principals of law and ethics were not involved in the founding of this nation would be silly; silly to the point of being stupid (“Should Alaska continue offering benefits to same-sex couples?” April 3).

Read the treaty. It is very short. The “Treaty of Tripoli,” in section 11, shows that the American government at that time was in the same place our government today is in: How to conduct foreign policy with Muslims and not have it considered a crusade by those Muslims. That is the purpose of the statement. The Barbary Coast was a Muslim nation and it was famous for it’s piracy.

At that time, our primary enemy was the British. The young American government was trying to protect American interests against the British practice of “Impressing Americans” into the British Navy and merchant fleet. We fought the War of 1812 over these issues and others. Our national anthem is from this war and the British attack on Baltimore. The pirates of the Barbary Coast were destroying and capturing merchant ships, killing merchantman and selling others into slavery. This treaty was an attempt to protect American shipping and Americans found on captured vessels.

The treaty did not work completely and American naval and land forces were eventually sent to put down this nation and its pirate fleets. To quote the Marine Corps Hymn,” From the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli…” It is that nation of the “Treaty of 1796” and that Tripoli of that “Treaty of 1796” that they sing about.

Using this treaty to deal with the issue of benefits and same-sex legal issues in 2007 and to link it with Christian issues and the founding of the nation is a real stretch. “A quote taken out of context is a pretext,” and can be bent any way one wants. This Bush administration does that all the time and I hate it.

You may have heard this one before. If I were to take two quotes out of context and link them in this way I could say this: “Judas Iscariot went and hanged himself . Go thou and do likewise,” but that would be wrong, silly and stupid.

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Jeffrey L. Briem

Oregon