Bloody Martyrs

In your Jan. 9 issue, the writer of the letter titled “Martyr, May I” takes issue with statements by Will Moredock which implied that Pagans have died for their faiths. He denies that such people existed.

It’s true that names are hard to come by since most pagan religions do not preach an eternal reward for martyrdom, whereas Christianity venerates the names of such people as icons of the faith. Even when, as occurred most frequently, they were executed by other Christians (Joan of Arc, to name but one).

However, it is documented by multiple sources that Hypatia of Alexandria, a Pagan and advocate of religious tolerance for Paganism, as well as a mathematician and an exceptional scholar of her time, was murdered and dismembered by a Christian mob in 415 A.D.

It is also well documented that in 435 A.D., the Christian Roman Emperor Theodosius II found that his laws prohibiting Pagan rites were so ineffective that he increased the penalty to death and ordered that all remaining Pagan shrines and sacred places be destroyed. Magistrates who refused to enforce these laws were also to be punished with death. However, after three years of this persecution he lamented that practicing Pagans were still to be found in large numbers in Rome.

Some three centuries later, Charlemagne had been attempting to convert the Pagan Saxons through military force for almost 30 years when he captured several thousand at the town of Verden. According to some accounts, he offered the prisoners the choice of baptism or death. Apparently 4,500 Saxons refused because they were beheaded at the town on that one day.

I am not a Pagan myself and don’t know much about their rites or practice. However, I have to conclude that Pagans are willing to die for their faiths like Christians.

Laura Kasman

Mount Pleasant

No Horsing Around

Can there be any doubt that horses do not belong in the city?

Life on the streets is misery for the horses who have to pull oversized loads in heavy traffic and in arduous weather conditions. Horses develop respiratory ailments from breathing in exhaust fumes and debilitating leg impairments from pounding on hard surfaces. They constantly must avoid collisions with careless or impatient drivers.

How many dead horses and hospitalized people will it take before the city council bans them?

Jennifer O’Connor

Animals in Entertainment Campaign Writer

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals