The pride parade
As a gay man from Arkansas I was thrilled at the chance to unite with not only the gay, lesbian and transgendered people from our state but heterosexuals as well in the recent gay pride parade in Conway. People of all walks of life joined together in the streets of Conway. I could not help but feel a sense of pride as I looked across the colorful and diverse crowd. As the festivities started and the crowd began to move I noticed a small family with young children standing at the sideline waving American flags and cheering the group on. I thought how proud I was to see parents teaching their children acceptance and diversity. I walked on silently thinking to myself what a wonderful place this world is becoming.
As the parade moved forward I was suddenly shown that not all people think alike. As I passed a group called White Revolution from Russellville, a very angry lady looked at me with hate in her eyes as she held her small son’s hand and shouted, “God hates you.”
Others held up signs and shouted thing like “AIDS kills fags.” While I am a firm believer in freedom of speech I was taken aback by use of religion as a weapon of hatred. I heard a person from the parade yell back as we passed, “My God loves you.” What a wonderful response.
As we walked on I could not help being a little melancholy knowing that someone could hate me without ever meeting me and that they were also teaching their children to hate me. What if their children turned out to be gay, would they hate them as well? Would a mother look at her child and say, “God hates you”? Gay people are your children, your brothers, your sisters and your neighbors. With all the hatred and horrific things that are happening, isn’t it time we all stood together as a human race? How else can we create a world that is safe and secure for the future ahead?
Tod Crites
Little Rock
Graven images
Again, I’m scratching my head about the people who are so rabid about the Bible but have not read it.
Take the current furor about the Ten Commandments. The religious right, and at least five members of the Supreme Court of the United States in certain circumstances, believe it is fine for government entities to erect displays that feature this part of the Bible. In lots of cases, these displays are in the form of sizeable granite monuments with (some of) the words of the Commandments engraved thereon.
But, hark! What does the Sec-ond Commandment itself say?
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them …”
Whoops!If those monuments aren’t graven images, I don’t know what is. And how about those bleeding-heart pictures of Jesus? Shoot, how about the Christ of the Ozarks? How about those fish on peoples’ cars? That’s a likeness (although not a good one) of something “that is in the water under the earth,” isn’t it?
These people evidently are in BIG trouble, since the Commandment goes on to say:
“… for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
Tough guy, God: Punishing this particular sin down to the third and fourth generation.
Come to think of it, my great-great- grandfather had the Ten Commandments on his wall. Maybe that explains why stuff keeps going wrong for me.
C.H. Patterson
Little Rock
The drug war
I appreciate your editorial regarding Asa Hutchinson’s “war on drugs.” Should he be elected governor in 2006, let’s hope he does a better job than he did as our U.S. attorney when all the drugs were flowing into the Mena Airport.
I’m 80 percent Republican but I’ll be damned if I ever vote for another Hutchinson.
Mike Graves
Karl Rove, President Bush’s political advisor, said that liberals were traitors because “…they want to see the troops harmed.” Let’s see, what actions could liberals take that would harm the troops the most? They could:
• Start an unprovoked war in a GOD-forsaken hell-hole for constantly changing, ill-defined and imaginary reasons.
• Send half the troops their generals said were required to accomplish the mission.
• Ensure that when those troops arrived in the battle zone they didn’t have enough armor or personal equipment.
• After those too-few and ill-equipped troops were fully engaged we could tell the enemy “Bring ’em on!”
• Insult every other country in the world that might be willing to provide support to those besieged troops.
• And finally, when those troops finally did rotate back to the world, we could underfund the Veterans Affairs Department by a cool $1 billion. We’ve gotta take care of our donors, after all.
If I were a liberal who wanted to “harm the troops,” that’s what I would do.
Paul Nations
Little Rock
Drug testing
The Arkansas Times criticizes expanding workplace drug testing but it is one of the best ways to improve productivity I have ever witnessed. In the aftermath of Vietnam, the quality of more than a few U.S. military personnel had deteriorated considerably. Sergeants and officers spent much of their day with discipline problems instead of military business. At night there were fights and loud music in the barracks. Training and readiness and retention suffered.
Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger introduced urinalysis for marijuana and narcotics and the problem became apparent. The soldiers using drugs were also the troublemakers and malingerers. Drug testing has helped the military to become the world’s foremost defense force. It has also helped many service men and women get help for their problem.
It’s not a violation of dignity or privacy for employees to submit a urine sample for drug testing. People are asked for a specimen quite often for their health care needs. Most employees would be pleasantly surprised at the improved workplace productivity.
Thomas Pope
Little Rock
Political correctness
If we ever open a museum of “Negrobilia” as predicted by Bob Lancaster, I hope to include a laminated copy of Ernie Dumas’ column “Court’s prod needed” wherein he completely rationalized the United States Supreme Court’s legislating in their Brown v. Board of Education decision and the Arkansas Supreme Court’s legislating in the Lake View case.
In Dumas’ view the politically correct conclusions justified the means and the fact that the Brown case has resulted in the dictatorial administration of the schools by the courts for over 50 years and that there is no end in sight for the Lake View case was obviously of no concern.
Now, if we can just get Ernie to tell us the virtues of the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision legalizing the taking of private property for private use, maybe we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
Jim Johnson