Over the years, plenty of mean-spirited and irrational letters have surfaced in the Letters to the Editor column of the Juneau Empire (and the latest practice of publishing cowardly, anonymous sniping and ranting in the Word of Mouth column has intensified this trend), but the letter by Kimberly Ryan deserves some sort of special award.
Leaving aside the total lack of logic inherent in nearly every sentence, the intolerance and lack of respect for other cultures and beliefs is truly disturbing. Of course, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is optional!
Even where there is a law in force requiring the pledge be recited at a public gathering, that law cannot constitutionally require any particular individual to recite it. I find it ironic that a person who purports to love the freedoms of the United States would advocate forcing a person to recite something against his or her will. Surely it is not difficult to see that an amendment protecting freedom of speech also protects what a person might choose NOT to say. Or that a country that respects freedom of religion and celebrates diversity is not weakened or diminished because some of the citizens hold the belief, for example, that pledging allegiance to a flag is wrong and equivalent to worshipping idols.
However the most ignorant part of Kimberly Ryan's letter is the following quote: "This country was founded under God! If anyone wants it to be founded under Allah, let them (sic) go to Iran. If anyone wants it to be founded under Buddha, let them (sic) go to China." In my Webster's Unabridged, Allah is defined as "the Supreme Being, God."
So the real crime, apparently, is not that some people worship Allah, but that they are brown-skinned and Arabic or Persian. I guess God must speak English, certainly not Arabic. I suppose my grandmother's soul is lost because she was German and worshipped "Gott" not "God." Mr. or Ms. Ryan, your comments are racist and not appreciated. And by the way, The People's Republic of China does not encourage Buddhism, or any religion. Nor is the Buddha considered to be God (or Allah), but rather a teacher, a man who walked the earth and demonstrated the right way to live.
Robert W. Miller
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