Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Bigotry and Christmas
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Bigotry and Christmas

George Foster - December 22nd, 2005
December 11, 2005 - Sydney, Australia: A mob of five thousand whites roam the beaches, trains, and shopping malls chanting racist slogans, waving national flags, and assaulting Middle-Easterners. Scores are injured.
On the next day, hundreds of young Arab men drive to Anglo suburbs with cricket (baseball) bats, smashing the windows of neighborhood cars and creating havoc. It is thought to be the worst race riot in Aussie history.
Actually, Australia has a reputation for promoting multiculturalism and diversity. Having just returned from a vacation in Australia, I found the mixed ethnicity of Arab, Asian, Indian, and European refreshing. It is jarring to know that serious hostilities could have occurred where I was frolicking in the sun only a short time ago. The seemingly laid-back, unconcerned Aussies around me have actually been riveted on immigration and minority issues for years.
I wasn’t the only one caught off guard by the racial tension there. Australian Prime Minister John Howard condemned the violence, but said, “I do not accept that there is underlying racism in this country.” Meanwhile, there are many reports of mass text messaging calling for more gatherings of whites to take place soon in Sydney and Brisbane.
One explanation for the bigoted change in Aussie outlook is Australia’s loss of 89 lives in 2002 from the terrorist bombing of a nightclub in Bali by Islamic terrorists. For a country of only 20 million, the effect of the Bali attacks was almost as traumatic as the 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil. Their world has changed, too.
This is just one of several disturbing episodes of racial strife that has exploded recently around the world. Last month Paris was the scene of Arab youths rioting for several weeks. Their beef was with the French government that Arab immigrants see as discriminating against Muslims. On top of everything else, the nutty President of Iran just launched a bombshell when he declared the Jewish Holocaust is a myth.
A growing tension in many modernized countries including the United States over immigration policies and the presence of growing minority groups seems to be fueling a return to past when racial intolerance was the norm. Isn’t it time to grow up, people?
Closer to home, Michigan has one of the highest rates of hate crimes fueled by bigotry in the U.S. and is growing according to the FBI. Statistically, Michigan may also the most segregated state in the Union. No matter - anyone, who targets others because they are different, might as well be holding a sign reading, “I am a bigot with the I.Q. of a child and am a coward to boot.”
Speaking of intolerance, you may have heard about the conspiracy against Christmas by now. According to talk-show host Bill O’Reilly, there are liberal secularists among us whose goal is to eliminate the word Christmas and take Jesus out of the holidays.
Does anyone really care if businesses refer to the holidays in the Christian tradition (Christmas) or attempt to be more inclusive with general terms such as holidays. O’Reilly and others have called for boycotts of businesses if they don’t use the word Christmas in their season’s promotions. Talk about intolerant...
What would Jesus think? I would hate to be Bill O’Reilly if Jesus ever showed up for an interview in the No-spin Zone on the subject of Christmas. When provoked,
the Lord’s rebuke could be swift and powerful. I could easily see Jesus overturning the interview table, ripping the microphone from its jack, and shaking the Christmas Crusader until he came to his senses about politicizing the commercial side of Christmas.
Jesus might tell Bill that Christmas is about giving, not buying. Christmas is about bringing people together, not promoting divisiveness laced with mean-spirited tirades.
Most of all, Jesus would probably say that Christmas is about going out of your way to love all of God’s children, not just Christians.

 
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