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Look through eyes of history, reason

Published 10:46am Friday, September 20, 2013

Dear Editor,
It seems that the Sellers family believes they have figured out what America is all about and have decided it is their job to be the voice of what they see as “reason” in this day and time. But I also know that there are good, intelligent and fair folks in Alex City who react with more compassion and understanding – and have a better grasp of history and truth.
After reading a lot of postings from both Sherry and Billy Sellers on here (and the comments of like-minded citizens and a few dissenters), I am reminded that there are those other folks out there that will accept for fact almost anything said by a person with a title, whether that title be Rev. or Dr. or whatever.
There seems to be a line of thought that continues through many of these statements that infer that this country was founded as a Christian nation. That is simply not the case.
While most of the founding fathers were Christian, their belief systems were vastly different. Among this group were deists as well as anti-clerical Christians such as Franklin. Many were slave owners.
We tend to revere these people, as we should, but in that we often forget that they were, just as we are, flawed humans.
They had, however, seen the problems that can come from an unhealthy relationship between government and religion and tried to find an answer.
They were good and noble people, but at the end of the day, they are no different than any of us.
For anyone, including myself, to try to definitively state what those men would say in response to what is happening in the world today is not only folly, but it is manipulation.
But, true to some of those who settled in what is now the United States, it would seem that the Sellers and others would like to return to days where it is the norm to embrace very narrow religious and political views and to persecute those who don’t fall into step.
The Puritans are well documented in their persecution of the Quakers, in fact even hanging Mary Dyer because of her association with the Quakers.
When Lord Baltimore drafted the Maryland Toleration Act, it was the first application of freedom of religion to a governing body.
But, later it was repealed by those Protestants who wanted to make sure Catholics could not practice their faith. Roger Williams spoke eloquently for the separation of church and state.
The First Amendment states the case, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” and, the move toward religious freedom found a lasting footing.
Just to be clear. It is freedom of RELIGION. Not freedom of CHRISTIANITY.
I am happy that we live in a place where people can live, worship (or not), speak and believe what they wish.
I am pleased that people such as Sherry and Billy Sellers take advantage of this freedom.
But, it is our responsibility as citizens and as thinking adults to NEVER take anything at face value.
And, just because someone holds a position that society places on a lofty pedestal, their words are no more valuable than those of the homeless person living in an alleyway.
Sometimes it is wise to step back from the emotions of the times we live in and juxtapose this time against other times.
I certainly have no authority other than that of any of you – and my words hold no value greater than those of the Sellers’ or anyone else. But, before we jump on the bandwagon that finds some justification for religious bigotry, isolationism of people because of their beliefs, or creating a separate system to “control” those who do not believe as we do (seems there might be something in our Southern history that is applicable here) we should step back and look at things through the eyes of history and the eyes of reason.
When Ms. Sellers says, “We are divided into Us and Them instead of standing together as WE AMERICANS to study and correct the problems we face in education, immigration, defending our Constitution, and the Christian religion” she, by her own words, excludes anyone who is not Christian from the statement “WE AMERICANS”.
Please, let’s be smart enough not to go down this road. Because, I can’t see anything different from this and what Ms. Sellers speaks of in her generalization of Muslims: “Their view of other religions is the same for all, not a legitimate religion and should be replaced with Islam.” Isn’t this what SHE is saying, except about Christianity?
I say it again. It’s freedom of religion.
While I certainly applaud their right to these opinions, it is incredibly frightening to think that in this day and age there are people preaching this radical point of view and gaining an audience.
The days of segregation, McCarthyism, and internment camps were not that long ago. But, apparently the type of thinking that allowed those institutions to flourish is alive and well today.

Jerry Tapley

  • wildflower

    Dear Mr. Tapley,
    Your disingenuous letter concerning my right to speak out on public issues and exercise my first amendment rights is acknowledged. Please be assured that this process will continue in spite of and to some extent because of your objections. I believe the good people of Alex City can and will make up their minds on the subjects about which I have written without your help. There is nothing you could have done which could have focused more attention on my previous topics than to write your parsimonious letter. I owe you a measure of gratitude for bringing more attention to those ideas and concepts which are so important to me and to our community and our country.

  • hushhhh

    I have to say, your use of your thesaurus is as adept as your use of history books. To call my letter disingenuous without actually showing why, seems to me to be a much better example of being disingenuous than your rather broad sweep. Since, by definition, the word means insincere/dishonest – I can assure you it was neither. I am absolutely sincere in what I said – and, I AM glad you have the freedom to say what you wish. I just disagree and think it is not only wrong, but dangerous – and I gave very succinct reasons. I say succinct, because I could write volumes, but chose to select my words carefully.

    I think just as much as my letter might give a little extra fire to those who follow your lead without asking questions, I doubt it brings any serious students of history to your side. I think that it actually might provide a bit of safety for others who are just afraid to speak out against someone who is in a profession that has always brought respect, but stay silent because they’re afraid they might be standing alone.

    I’m glad you believe that the good folks of Alex City can and will make up their minds without my help. It’s too bad you don’t think they can do it without yours. That’s a pretty arrogant position to take.

    I’m still trying to figure out what you think parsimonious means.

    What I did in my letter was to address the points made by Sherry Sellers in her letter and to reference your earlier letters – which are legion. You did none of that. You, instead, arrogantly showed that you think that your voice is needed in Alex City, but none others need apply.

    I don’t think I need to point out the similarities of that line of thought with those held by authoritarian regimes around the world. I would point out that when people rise up who think their voice is the only voice of value, as they gain power, those who disagree should watch their backs because that’s where cowards usually shoot.

  • Justin Sellers

    Jerry,

    You open up the reply forum by addressing the Sellers family, and then complain that you weren’t addressing Dr. Sellers. Our family speaks out. We speak out frequently, and with cause. We warn against perils which we perceive, but we do not control. If people listen, then we will speak. If people turn away, we do not pursue. You attack us, the entire Sellers family, because we speak out, and then you preach tolerance.

    You address the Sellers family and then speak to the good, intelligent, fair folks of Alex City; implying that the Sellers’ are evil, stupid, and unfair. Dr. Sellers is a well respected member of the community, who has protected our families and assisted our community for many years as a medical professional; while you left and return as a gadfly and provocateur. Dr. Sellers served in our military in time of war, defending our people, our freedoms, and our way of life. Have you?

    You attack the Sellers’ knowledge of history and truthfulness, and then provide examples of irrelevance. You claim that the people of Alex City are stupid enough to be controlled by Doctors and Priests, or anyone with a title; seemingly without your voice to set them straight, but you don’t live here, or even close to here. When was the last time you lived in Alex City, 1975?

    Your hatred for Christianity shines through in every reply, and that’s fine, but that’s what he meant by disingenuous. You defend Islam and seem to hate Christians. Yes, Mrs. Sellers thoroughly despises Islam, but she is able to be objective about individual Muslims. Speaking out about: a hostile political system which advocates killing anyone but its own followers; a hostile system of laws which endorse child rape and wife beating, is not an attack. Speaking out is a defense against an enemy which is making changes to countries around the world that we: Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists; view as evil. Killing is evil to most established major religions, as well as most atheists, and I have to say most, because in Islam, if the other person is a kafir, a non-believer, it is not evil, it is a commandment. We lament the millions of lives lost in war begun by Islam, we lament the tens of thousands of churches, synagogues, and temples around the world defiled and destroyed by Islam.

    Islam is not alone in killing and destruction. America, Christianity, and Western Civilization in general have performed their share of these things. The differences, are that we see evil and know it for what it is; then we strive to become better and we strive to move past our mistakes, to make amends when we can.

    Islam, according to the Qur’an, is complete, final, and perfect. It can not change. The word of Allah can not be reinterpreted. Those who have not read the books and who swallow the line about good, peaceful Islam, fall into the trap created by the dualism of Islam. The war against us, the non-followers of Islam, began with Muhammad and still warps the Muslim leadership. If you read the paper, you will see the effects. You cry out for toleration, but I see little to none for any opposing views in Saudi Arabia or as you put it, any of the “authoritarian regimes” of the Islamic middle east, south-east Asia, or Africa. Islam can not change.

    Turkey used to be a Christian country, but the churches were destroyed by armies and rioting Muslims. Pakistan used to be a Buddhist country, but no more. How long do you think France, England, Mali, and Nigeria will remain Christian? The appeasement has already started. Sharia law is in effect in some areas, replacing the supremacy of the former national law. The killings have already started. Butchers stalk the streets of London and Paris, killing their soldiers. They kill in single numbers in Europe, but by the hundreds in Africa; killing in the name of Allah. In the U.S., Muslims are attempting to set up areas of Sharia law. If this happens, it will be in direct violation of our Constitution, as they have violated so many others. Everywhere the Muslims go, where they are able to establish a foothold, they begin pushing more and more, for Sharia law, for foot baths, for places to worship in a factory. Push, push, push. We speak out so that our countrymen are not taken by surprise, because of their ignorance. We speak out, to defend our people, our freedoms, and our way of life.

    Jerry, you seem to despise our intolerance of Islam, but we are intolerant because we have researched our enemy and know it to be exactly that. Have you read the books? You state, “it is our responsibility as citizens and as thinking adults to NEVER take anything at face value ,” and so I re-ask, Have you read the Islamic holy books?

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