Since it is the Christmas season, I was disappointed to read the Wednesday, December 7, 2006, issue of SpeakOut entitled "Had your way, day and say!" The anniversary of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, should be a time of happiness and joy, not bitterness and divisiveness. I find it regretful that anyone would have such political resentment in their hearts, especially at this time of hope, joy and celebration. Nevertheless, the article appeared and since Sikeston is a small town and most of us know each other it bothered me that one of our own would have such a negative view toward free speech.
I once knew an America where all political views were respected and none were demonized. In fact, many of us still hold to the time-honored tradition that one of our founding fathers pinned. And that tradition is best spelled out in the single sentence he wrote which was, "I may not agree with what you have to say but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."
Growing up near Sikeston as a small boy, we all shared a culture of civility toward everyone, even those with whom we politically disagreed. There were no Republican churches or Democrat churches. We counted none evil just because we disagreed with them on political matters. In fact, I can remember spirited conversations among churchmen and non-church goers that ended in laughter and friendship, not hatred and name-calling.
Ours was a city of civility toward everyone. We were known for our generosity toward others in times of need and kindness in times of loss and bereavement. As a community we were proud of our town and proud to be a part of it. I am still proud of Sikeston and that is the reason I fight for it and those people who are still genuinely good at heart.
The Bible says, "A kind word turneth away wrath." Therefore, I will keep my comments concerning the SpeakOut political attack upon Democrats positive. This is in keeping with the Christmas season and a community united and not divided. I believe this SpeakOut article on December 7, 2006, was intended to divide our community even further. Division is the last thing Sikeston needs. I see no good purpose in this kind of rhetoric, other than to say to those with whom the caller disagrees, that anyone who disagrees with the caller is evil, unpatriotic and un-Christian. This is sad. Sad, indeed.
This is not the Sikeston that we all know really exists and the one that is near and dear to all of our hearts. This borders, if not crosses, a line of free speech that has as its basic intent the silencing of any opposition to the caller's point of view. History records that one of the reasons we fought the Revolutionary War with England was to protect freedom of speech.
One may politically disagree, but when the rhetoric becomes hateful and shows a lack of Christian love, then the intent appears to try to divide us into Christian and non-Christian, patriotic and non-patriotic along party lines. The news flash concerning this kind of talk is that God is neither Republican nor Democrat - He is God! Let none of us prostitute the name of Christ with any political party!!
Lest we forget, a careful reading of the testaments shows that the political leaders at the time of Christ's crucifixion conspired with the Roman political leaders to have Jesus crucified because they feared the loss of Jewish and Roman political power to the rebel named Jesus. Those leaders believed Jesus wanted an earthly kingdom and did not understand His intent was a heavenly kingdom. They were jealous of Jesus and His good name among the poor and disheartened. They conspired. They gossiped among themselves. They murdered.
It is for this precise reason that politics has been kept out of the pulpit for years until it became expedient for election purposes for some church leaders to tell parishioners they would not go to Heaven unless the voted specific ways. This is not true of all church leaders, but it is certainly true of some. When I hear church leaders judging others, I am reminded of another biblical verse and that is, "Judge not lest ye be judged by that same judgment." I wonder if the caller has read that verse and I wonder if the caller fears the same judgment called for in the SpeakOut article upon themselves. True believers would tremble with fear.
I am sure I will be personally attacked for this letter and having said the truth, as I know it. I have signed my name to this letter because I believe anything worth writing to the editor deserves a signature. I note, with interest, that the caller had not the courage to sign their name to an article intended to divide Sikestonians.
Just in case the caller would like to know, I pray for "our own sons, daughters, moms, dads and grandchildren serving in Iraq" and throughout the world. I also pray for all our missionaries at home and abroad. Further, I am not one that "dodged" the draft during the turbulent 1960s and served in the United State Army and am proud of it. And, yes since the question will be burning in your ears - I am a Christian, although unlike some, I am not so religious that I demand that everyone think like I do or they cannot be Christian. Only God will the final Judge on me and all others.
Finally, I have no way of knowing who you are but it is probable that we know one another because Sikeston is a small town. I want you to know that I bear no personal animosity against you and that I pray that God will "give you the peace that surpasses all understanding" and that you will be able to escape the bondage of political hatred that so engulfs your article. Please do this for Sikeston. Please do this for yourself.
Respectfully submitted - not intended to harm.