Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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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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