Letters to the Editor

Letters: Sept. 3

Which side are you on? Obama's or Osama's?

When it comes to the right of Muslims to build a community center or mosque near Ground Zero, it's really pretty simple: You either believe all Americans enjoy the same rights, or you don't.

If you do believe all Americans have the right to freedom of religion, then you agree with President Barack Hussein Obama.

If you don't believe all Americans have the right to freedom of religion, then you agree with Osama bin Laden.

Our president believes you have the right to worship however you wish, regardless of what other people think about it. That's being a good American.

Bin Laden, on the other hand, believes there is only the right to worship in one way, his way. That's being a good fundamentalist.

Christian opposition to the center in New York has proven one thing: When it comes to freedom of religion, the only religion and the only freedom some Christians care about are their own.

James L. Hartley


Double pox

Shame on you, Muslims, for wanting to build a mosque so close to the Ground Zero site in New York City.

Likewise, shame on you, non-Muslims, who are willing to make a mockery of the U.S. Constitution by trying to stop the mosque project.

A pox on both your houses.

Kenneth B. Colebank


Real motive for 9/11

Judging from an illustration on ABC News, a passerby could not identify the Muslim community center, which would also have a sanctuary for prayer, proposed in Lower Manhattan as a mosque. I saw no "call to prayer" tower.

The naysayers cite the memory of those killed on Sept. 11, 2001, which in my opinion will not wash. A group of individuals whose religion was Islam didn't decide to attack Manhattan because of religion.

The reasons were Jewish occupation of Palestine and U.S. forces stationed in Saudi Arabia. So said Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida. Moreover, the U.S. government didn't listen to bin Laden but chose to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Neither country had any responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks.

Another equally disturbing report deals with a Jewish Holocaust survivor's demand that the French national railway not be allowed to bid on a high-speed rail construction project in this country because of the railway's role in transporting Jews to Nazi death camps.

The United States is my home, not the socialist country of Israel.

Billy Ray Wilson


Stop playing on fear

Some great ironies are hard to miss in this debate over the proposed Muslim center in New York City.

One is the Tea Party movement. Remember all of the vitriol it espoused at those town hall meetings in August 2009? They went on and on about the Constitution, when President Barack Obama was pushing for health care reform.

Yet here it is, barely a year later, and they want to deny Muslim Americans a fundamental right established in the First Amendment. Maybe they'll listen now that Ron Paul, the original Tea Party Libertarian, went on record as being for the constitutional right to build the center.

Republicans don't get out of this unscathed, either. Which party was in power in all branches of government when wars were started in the Middle East and Central Asia? Ultimately, it wasn't to eradicate WMDs or mobile biological weapons labs or even al-Qaida. It was to free people from tyranny. To free Muslims from tyranny.

Islam is not the problem; extremism is. (Or has everyone forgotten the Crusades?) Let's leave this to New Yorkers to decide and get back to figuring out how to fix the economy, job situation, Afghanistan, etc.

It's time for all of the political posturing and playing on people's fears to end. It's time for grown-ups to come back into the room.

Jeff Sharp


Revive long vacation

I'd like to comment on a recent letter regarding the school start date in Fayette County. In Madison County, school started on Aug. 11 also, a fact which stunned and dismayed me.

Like that writer, I would like to know the rationale behind this. Aug. 11 is still summer; in fact, it is the hottest part of the summer, when families should be taking vacations and children should be swimming and camping out.

Why are we making our children go back to school when, here in Richmond, they got out of school a mere two months prior?

What happened to the leisurely and (in my opinion) necessary three-month summer break during which children are allowed to just be children, with no over-scheduling, no academic pressure and no structuring of every hour of every day?

It is a fact that leisure time and simple play are essential to children, and I feel there is far too little of that in this day and age. Why don't we follow North Carolina and start back at Labor Day instead of what amounts to almost the first week of August?

Let's give our kids the time and room to be kids, to relax and enjoy this time of their lives, which will be over soon enough.

Karin Whitmore


Who's the idiot?

I was released as an election officer for the May primary after I questioned the Alzheimer's policy taught in training classes. Election officials say a person with Alzheimer's is not qualified to receive voter assistance because of a Kentucky statute that says "idiots and insane persons" cannot vote.

That's a very broad brush stroke to include everyone with Alzheimer's as mentally incapable of voting. Many people with Alzheimer's are able to live normal lives for years after their diagnosis.

My husband, in mid-stage Alzheimer's, still read the newspaper and knew who he wanted to vote for, yet had trouble working the new voting machine. Should he have been denied assistance in the voting booth?

The training classes for election officers emphasize helping those with disabilities, but people with Alzheimer's are excluded. Voting is a fundamental right that many people with dementia still can exercise. Let's get it right before the next election and take Kentucky out of the dark ages.

Susan Blanch


Iraq war not over

Mission Accomplished II?

I think not. We are heartened by the recent withdrawal of combat troop units from Iraq. Yes, Iraqi Freedom has ended and the New Dawn phase begins there.

Yet we must understand our combat soldiers remain. Only a twist of their mission changes. The war continues. Our valorous, stainless soldiers will continue to practice the greatest act of religion: sacrifice.

The great military captain, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, once said: "For some the sacrifice is to the judgment seat of God."

Our joy will be complete only when our nation building abroad ends, and we get on with nation rebuilding in America.

Lt. Gen. Robert G. Yerks