Ten Commandments display
Sullivan County Courthouse
Church bulletin discount unfair to the community
To the editor:
The brochure for the Appalachian Fair in Gray mentions that a $2 discount will be given to individuals holding a church bulletin. This is another attempt for the religious community to persuade, insist, or demand church attendance or suffer the consequences. Volunteerism in the Volunteer State just isn't what it's claimed to be, evidently. The masses shouldn't have to even be asked or presented with such an option at such a public event as the fair. The reaction to lots of people may be that they just won't go. How will this be handled? Is it the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
I won't tell you I don't go to church if you don't ask, but will pay the full (or increased) price. What happens when someone in front of someone else at the ticket counter says, "Oh, I have a church bulletin, and I want a discount," and the persons behind make a stink about it? Also, can't church bulletins be stolen and distributed to individuals who wouldn't set foot in a church?
The whole idea of this is bigotry from a private sector. Businesses cannot discriminate against others at such a public event. Someone may try to see a lawyer about this one. I hear that courts have ruled in favor of the defendant in a suit brought against the business, based on written laws to govern the actions of businesses. Fairness must be in all things.
Church Hill, TN.
Support Carletta Sims
I'm writing this letter in support of Carletta Sims and her stand against religious discrimination at the Gray fair. This is part of a growing pattern of Christians (meaning Protestant only) getting special privileges while all others are treated like second class citizens. This wasn't against just atheists and deists this time, but against anyone that didn't attend church on a regular basis. What can we expect in an area where local government, such as the Sullivan County Commission, can harass, threaten, and railroad anyone that doesn't go along with the Falwell fundamentalist agenda? This has nothing to do with religion.
As reported in a previous article in the Herald Courier, most so-called "Christians" can't name the Ten Commandments, have never read the Bible, and according to a Mr. Whitaker in a letter to the editor, never follow any of it anyway. (Why Hang the Commandments at All)? What we have is an exclusive type of social club for members only who want to force their beliefs on everyone else or at least silence and exclude all who oppose them.
Where does it end? Will church attendance be criteria to get a business license or bank loan? How about an extra tax on non-church goers like they used to levy on Jews? The Sullivan County Commission has already given the Falwell fundamentalists an exclusive right they refuse to give anyone else. Didn't Jesus say something about love thy neighbor? (He didn't say love your fellow Protestants or is it just a "denominational" issue?)
All I can say is keep up the good work Mrs. Sims. If only two of us stand up to these bigots, so be it. I would also like to commend several other letters to editor writers for expressing their views on these issues. I do have a word of warning for all of those that sit in silence while this goes on: Speak up or the next time your business may get railroaded or your freedom of speech, religion, and everything else will be threatened.
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Quoting the Kingsport Times-News (1-18-2004)
Sullivan County Tennessee attorney Dan Street on the Ten Commandments,
"It seems clearer and clearer and clearer that we are promoting a particular religion, and that's a violation of the Constitution. The Constitution is the one document that protects minorities, and just because most people feel the Christian faith or the Jewish faith is the right faith, that doesn't mean they have a right to impose it on everyone else.
Plenty of Christians and Jews who may follow the Ten Commandments, but don't believe they should be displayed in public buildings. Most of the time, however, those people don't come forward with their opinion because they are afraid of being chastised. People think if you want the Ten Commandments down you're an atheist, and that's just not true.
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