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Ignoring religious freedom puts soldiers in danger

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Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 7:12 am, Wed Apr 20, 2011.

I would like to speak to the citizens of Lodi on a personal matter; it's also an American matter. I am talking about the Constitution of the United States of America. The First Amendment: What does it mean and how far does it go? Does anyone really know?

I would like to publicly voice my anger over the provocative actions of this fraudulent man of God, the Rev. Terry Jones, of Gainsville, Fla. On March 20, Mr. Jones burned the bible of the Muslim faith — the Qur'an — which has incited anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world. I thought the KKK was dead, which brings me to the point.

I'm speaking on the issue because my very near and dear nephew Dennis Gonzales Jr. just returned to Lodi fresh off one of those isolated fire bases located in the mountains of Afghanistan. Dennis — "D.J." — is home for just 10 or so days to meet his first newborn daughter and spend lifetime days with his wife, Amber.

D.J. is a proud soldier and will defend God, country and family. I guess he'll also defend the right of this reverend to place his life in further danger. I love you, D.J.

Daniel Gonzales


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 9:55 am on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    Of course we should speak out against such stupidity; but there's no law against being stupid. And that pesky little First Amendment evidently provides this idiot the absolute right to do what he did. As for him "speak[ing] only for one sad, demented, hateful lost soul and not for anyone else," isn't he the pastor of a church in Florida? As such I'd say there are those would disagree with this assessment. So let's at least try to be honest about the situation, even if it is distasteful to recognize it.

    Now what about those whose reaction to this man are clearly out of line? What should we do about them? Oh, it’s courageous for sure to rightfully call out this so-called pastor hiding behind the First Amendment. But here we have people losing their heads (literally) over the burning of a book. It’s interesting how that little tidbit doesn’t seem to collect the same sense of ire and despicability that’s aptly placed on Jones’ narrow shoulders. Where is the labeling of “evil” and “vile” as it should pertain to them?

    Tell me though, which action(s) were worse – the burning of the Koran or the murder of innocent human beings in response thousands of miles away from the place where the offense was committed? This is where I would assign a much higher level of evilness and vileness. But I keep forgetting that Islam is a peaceful religion.

    And while I am a Christian and would be incensed over anyone burning The Holy Bible, I still recognize it as a book, albeit a very special one to me and millions of others. But to kill an innocent person as an acceptable response? THAT would be considered evil, vile and despicable in any Christian’s eyes; and hopefully also through the eyes of any decent human being regardless of their spiritual belief.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 9:14 am on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Steve... I agree with what you said should be done... we should speak out against these kind of things.. it is the right thing to do... however, even if everyone in USA as a group did as you suggest, it would not reduce the risk to our soldiers in any way... or reduce the anger or resentment felt in the Muslim world who sees our system as a threat to their society...as my post outlined below, the anger generated was a symptom of a much larger problem. I thought your post was well stated.... you offered a positive possibility.

  • trista aquino posted at 10:50 pm on Wed, Apr 20, 2011.

    trista aquino Posts: 119

    Well said Mr. Schmidt!

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 7:17 pm on Wed, Apr 20, 2011.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2677

    Jerry asked what should be done.

    One would think the answer to this question should be clear. While, as American's, we have to tolerate this hateful man's acts of bigotry, as human beings we should stand up and condemn his actions in the clearest terms and let the world know that when this man speaks, he speaks only for one sad, demented, hateful lost soul and not for anyone else.

    A wise man once said all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. The time is now for good people to denounce this vile man and his evil actions.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 11:27 am on Wed, Apr 20, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    I join Mr Gonzales in his spirit and intent in not adding fuel to the fire in doing things that would
    increase the danger to our soldiers... we need to avoid inciting anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world, by behavior they find intolerable (like women with veils)

    I borrowed a paragraph below, that to me, summarizes why there is such anti American sentiment... in my opinion, there is very little we can do to avoid this anger... unless... we change our system and way of life...as they perceive that our way of life is in direct conflict with theirs... we (our system) must be defeated in their eyes...

    Islam seeks to elevate the clergy above the citizen where in the West all citizens are equal, including women, and the clergy lacks any natural overpowering authority. In the West we rely on the rule of law and individual conscience rather than a clergy imposing rules. Islam attempts to manage its followers with an almost endless list of rules. Rules covering almost every facet of life, when to wash, when to pray, what hand to use for different tasks, rules governing trade and personal appearance. In the West the citizen is given much more flexibility in their behavior and dress on top of spiritual freedom. In the West we are free to interpret scripture where in an Islamic society only the clergy is permitted any freedom to interpret scripture. Islam is a faith which was born married to the state. Islam is self-contained in that the faith provides the morality, a system of thought, a system of law, rules for trade and rules for personal behavior. In its fundamental form Islam believes it must control the state as government power is required to enforce and defend Islam. A primary fear being, rightly or wrongly, without state support Islam will wither as Islam has nothing to offer a modern citizen of a modern state

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 9:23 am on Wed, Apr 20, 2011.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    What should be done, Mr. Gonzales; what do you suggest?

    Is it your contention that because of the acts of one seemingly misled pastor (whom you refer to as a "fraudulent man of God") that the First Amendment should be interpreted differently? How would that work, exactly? There's this rather vague reference to separation of Church and State that permits churches to teach and preach pretty much whatever they want without governmental interference. Just as you had the right within your letter to specifically and harshly describe your feelings about one man's religious practices, you then rather gently refer to "[the burning of] the bible of the Muslim faith — the Qur'an — which has incited anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world." Unless I'm not mistaken, you are actually blaming the killings - which included many beheadings - on the burning of the Quran. They hate us, Mr. Gonzales – the burning of their book is just an excuse to resort to violence again.

    As a former member of the U.S. Armed Forces, I can certainly understand the concern you have for your nephew. But I think your anger is misplaced. The "anti-American sentiment" of which you write has been ongoing for a very long time. It really doesn't take much for radical Islamists to take to the streets. But if we were to believe for one moment that by weakening our Constitution they would begin to like us, then you’re as misguided as Reverend Terry Jones. And it is your nephew’s turn now to defend the speech of both of you – and the rest of us as well.


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