Racist rhetoric

May I just say something about this young man who was turned away from Harvard University because of his terrible racist language (“Harvard rescinds offer to Parkland survivor,” June 19)?

First of all, he did indeed have the right to exercise his free speech. Of course he did. No one stopped him. But that doesn’t mean that decent people should shrug and accept (and defend) what he said.

President Trump recently spoke up about the “censorship” (it wasn’t) of right-wing commentators who were being banned from social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Those people have said the same as, or words very similar to, what this young man said. Even though they have the right to say what they want, I don’t think decent people should be supporting their racist rhetoric, and that includes the president.

Maybe the real problem today isn’t anybody’s rights being denied. Maybe the real problem is that too many people are speaking their minds with no prudence or self-control or thought for consequences. They’re spouting whatever vile thoughts pop into their heads, then complaining when it’s not counted as acceptable commentary. Maybe they have the right, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

I would say, speak about such things, too.

James T. Fuller


A bygone era

I believe the Supreme Court ruled correctly about the 400-foot-tall World War I memorial cross in Maryland (“Justices uphold cross on public land in Maryland,” June 21).

I understand the constitutional principle of separation of church and state, and so do all nine justices. Let’s note that none of them claimed “that’s not in the Constitution,” like some do — they all accept the principle.

But the cross was first raised, not to promote a specific religion, but to honor World War I soldiers in a time when such symbols were closely linked to the war. Its purpose was beneficial, not bigoted.

“A government that roams the land, tearing down monuments with religious symbolism and scrubbing away any reference to the divine will strike many as aggressively hostile to religion,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote. I think he’s right. I wouldn’t want to see more religious monuments — in this day and age, when we need to find reasons to unite, they’re simply too divisive — but we shouldn’t go around removing every monument to the past.

I think this reasoning applies to Civil War monuments, as well.

Most such monuments, in reality, are ignored by most people. It’s only when some find offense in them that they become controversial.

If only we could learn to laugh at them instead, as quaint remnants of a bygone era.

Ed Wyman


Moral values

First of all, I am deeply grateful to the letter writer (“Peaceful profession,” June 21) for his many years of service to our country.

However, while it seems fitting that a person who claims to regard sex as either “reproduction” or “recreation,” (leaving out the expression of love and commitment between consenting adults) also says that liberals “seem to have” no moral values (as opposed to conservatives who do), it is insulting to people he doesn’t know, and an indication that he has embraced an “either/or” philosophy.

As a Christian and a liberal, I feel that my values are firmly intact, as are those of most non-Christian liberals, and, I might add, conservatives with whom I often disagree, but do not label as valueless simply because we have a different world view.

That is the problem with labels and indeed, with “either/or” thinking. Labels are often inaccurate and used as a method of dehumanization, likely the result of what some feel (fear and discomfort) when considering those whom they perceive as “different.” And believing that someone is either like-minded or lacks a moral compass, is simply ridiculous and wrong.

When people begin to view everyone who doesn’t agree with them as “less than,” there is no way to find common ground. We cannot afford to continue on this divisive path for the sake of our children and our grandchildren, and the preservation of this beautiful country that all of us, not just some of us, love so much.

Terri Kirby Erickson


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