Gary L. Cannon
To the editor:
The news about objections to the Confederate flag on license tags points to a disturbing development taking place in our society. Will I live to see the day when history must be rewritten, with vital facts omitted, because they might offend some people?
I've mentioned to my wife that if we could afford it, I'd like a vanity license tag with our last name on it. But some folks feel that President Lincoln was a tyrant who manipulated the U.S. Constitution to his advantage. Would such plates offend them? And, even worse, what if my name were Sherman, and I had vanity tags with my name on them?
Would I offend someone from Georgia? What if I were a Palestinian and my neighbor belonged to an organization that included the Mogen David symbol, and he had this on his license tag? That would seem to me a sign of unjust oppression. Should he be barred from such a tag?
To cause offense unnecessarily is always wrong, I agree. But do some of the "offendees" need to have thicker skins?
Back about 20 years ago, I edited a small magazine. For the cover of a February issue, I decided to have a picture of George Washington. After all, we all like George, don't we? "First in war, first in peace," and all that. But I forgot that some copies would go to Canada!
I received an irate reply from a Canadian subscriber who informed me that Washington was "an opportunist" and "a traitor" (his exact words). Wow! Had I stuck my editorial pencil into my mouth!
My concern is this: Must freedom of speech and expression be consigned to the trash heap to avoid offense? If so, let's be honest with ourselves and admit that the Bill of Rights was a noble experiment that isn't practical. May that day never come!
Rev. Edward James took issue with Allan Powell's view of creationism in last Sunday's Herald Mail. May I take issue with Rev. James?
I have an engineering background and was raised as a preacher's son in a fundamentalist United Brethren church, so I can perhaps look at the issue with some objectivity. As far as I am concerned, Creationism is a non-issue and, if I wanted to take a cynical view, I would suggest that it has been promoted by some Christians as a way to teach religion in the schools. (I am not generally opposed to certain religious teaching in the schools).
Christian acceptance of creationism as an article of faith need not conflict with an evolution theory based solely on scientific study. Even the Pope's recent statement to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences supports the theories on evolution as being sound as long as they accept the creation of God's work. In connection with the Pope's statement, Keith Fournier, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice in Virginia Beach, Va. and a deacon in the Catholic church states that "Christians can accept the view that the material conditions for the emergence of the human species may have developed by evolution, as long as the immediate creation of each human soul by God is affirmed." (Sarasota, Fla. Herald Tribune, Nov. 9, 1996).
Rev. Jones's lengthy presentation is quite impressive and was obviously culled from many sources. I was disappointed in the closing paragraph which was totally out of context with the subject matter. The use of the terms "arrogance and intellectual dishonesty" to describe Mr. Powell is demeaning. The last sentence which asks how many books on creation science he has read is both demeaning and insulting. I have read Mr. Powell's columns for years and I am sure that, as a scholar and educator, he does extensive reading before presenting his views.
Harold G. Martin