Respect everyone’s opinion

Guest CommentaryAugust 20, 2013 

After reading Ellie Schermerhorn's Commentary of Aug. 8 edition of the Star, a friend of mine reminded me of an old bomber pilot's saying — "When you start receiving flak, you know you're over the target."

I find it perplexing that Schermerhorn speaks of logic and historical interpretations, then jumps into discussions of sodomy, X-rated cave drawings, and a wide range of other equally unrelated topics. The facts are, Dr. Atwood is well versed in history and the logical presentation of the material. And he gave a thought provoking summation of Mr. Jefferson's writings on the right of humankind to revolt against tyranny. The comparisons between then and now were quite fascinating. Schermerhorn obviously did not agree. But she had no real answer to the well researched evidence Dr. Atwood presented. So she reverted to her normal weaponry of muddled opinions and name calling.

She also chose to question my opinions and credentials, both worldly and spiritual. I hope to clarify both with this response:

Worldly: I earned a bachelor degrees in history and political science, with extensive graduate work in far east studies. I went on to earn a masters in international relations. I also hold credentials in computer system engineering and data systems analysis with awards in both disciplines.

That background led to my selection as the U. S. Delegate to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels, Belgium for three years. We were negotiating agreements to solve data systems compatibility problems for the 14 member nations. Today, International Peace Keeping Forces around the world still successfully use those systems we negotiated.

So history and the logical application of information are tools I'm well versed in. And, for the record, my "new exotic standard" for evidence is neither new nor exotic. It is the tried and true standard that thankfully has been the rule of law used by judges in our nation's judicial system since its founding.

Spiritual: I am a bible believing, baptized, born again Christian. I didn't earn those credentials. They were given to me. Jesus paid for them with His life. He then went on to conquer death and take his rightful seat next to his father in heaven. From there he has been pouring out blessings upon God's family. He's also been completing preparations to come back and take the members of that family home. When He does, he will put an end the filth that has been growing since the first sin in the Garden of Eden. God promised it to the serpent. Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise. And that is the only "historical context" any reader of the bible needs to understand. Any translation of the Bible that makes that clear, is definitely not "bogus."

All of which leads me to this point. If Schermerhorn had kept an open mind when reading my letters, she would have found that I've never engaged in name calling or demeaning characterizations of her, or any columnist in the paper. That's not my way. It's not the way of any true Christian.

I have merely encouraged them to put such divisive tactics aside and deal with facts instead of politically biased opinions in their columns and letters. My secular education and experience have taught me there is no other way if we are to engage in a truly meaningful dialogue about the very real problems facing us and this nation.

My spiritual education and experience have taught me that all humankind is one body. Each of us were created uniquely different so we could fulfill our special part in the whole that God created. We have a vital part to play in the health and well-being of that whole. So, Ellie, we all have a stake in and something to contribute to the solution of those problems. But we have to come together in a way that respects and encourages everyone's opinions. Sadly, as your commentary demonstrated, that's not happening yet. I pray someday it will.

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