Your Opinion: Letters to the NEMS Daily Journal

By NEMS Daily Journal

‘Give Hate a Holiday’ event is not a protest
“Give Hate a Holiday” program of October 10th at the Link Centre is a plea not a protest. The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tupelo is sponsoring a day when all of the people of Tupelo and the northeast region of Mississippi are called to remember that we are all members of the great human family. We are all created in God’s image. People of every faith are called to honor God by honoring all of God’s creations. We are called to love our neighbors and welcome the stranger, we are called to neither judge nor seek vengeance.
“Give Hate a Holiday” is the Tupelo UU Congregation’s effort to bring that message to our community. Our program will have a public demonstration at noon on West Main Street in Tupelo to call the public’s attention to our plea. We will present free showings of an Award winning documentary, “Out in the Silence”, which demonstrates how a Pennsylvania community, much like Tupelo, came to grips with the very human issue of homosexuality in their town.
The film will be presented at 2 pm and again at 7 pm in the Link Centre and each showing will be followed by open discussions. Although this film focuses on issues of homosexuality, our plea is for equal treatment for everybody.
My wife and I are citizens of Mississippi by choice, not by accident of birth or demand of employment. We picked Tupelo as our home after research of many states. We have never regretted our choice and find that the people here are good, honest, loving souls. I am, however, troubled about the influence a few people have and use to prevent discussion of contemporary issues, especially the issue of homosexuality. The vast majority of people I meet believe in the teachings of Christianity and they do their best to live according to those teachings. There those few, however, who are very selective about which principles they seek to live by. They will love their neighbor and will treat others as they want to be treated so long as those others are just like them. All who are different in any way, they rush to judge and condemn. Moreover, when they self righteously condemn others of God’s creation, they are so hateful about it.
It is such hate that we seek to put on holiday. Our program will help people understand how some people are made by their Creator in a different way. We do not believe the Creator makes mistakes. We will practice our beliefs in the sanctity of all life and the knowledge that the rights and benefits of this great country are meant for ALL people. Liberty and Justice for ALL.
Bob Spencer
Tupelo

Russell column ‘yellow journalism’
It looks like Marty Russell is again doing what he does best – engaging in “yellow journalism” (“Have We Forgotten the Student in Student Athlete?” September 14.) Yellow journalism – “A type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news…techniques may include exaggerations of news events…used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in unprofessional or unethical fashion” (Wikipedia.)
In the past, I’ve read with amusement editorial letters demanding the Journal discontinue Mr. Russell’s column. As a librarian, I believe in free-speech rights; and I would defend Mr. Russell’s right to pen his column. However, the above column brings several questions to mind.
One wonders why he used as his example a student incident from fifteen years ago when there are ample examples from this past year alone. One also could question why he intentionally misrepresented the facts regarding his chosen example.
Does he see the irony that while he belittles student athletes because “they have advantages other students don’t have,” he misuses the advantages he has as a reporter to denigrate an individual and an individual institution? His targets lack free, regular press access – and thus, no fair way to “level the playing field.”
Is it possible he teaches journalism at a public Mississippi university and does not understand federal laws regarding confidentiality and students’ private academic records?
Can Mr. Russell tell the difference between fact and fiction? He is not only guilty of “exaggeration of news events,” but he also paints for himself a more important role in history than he actually served.
The subject of Mr. Russell’s column is a worthy topic. There are good points to be raised for both sides of this issue. They deserve to be discussed fairly and in a professional manner – with facts rather than exaggerations or misstatements. Perhaps when the panel is convened to address this topic, it would be best if Mr. Russell’s invitation remained unsent.
I am in my 17th year at Northeast – having moved here from another state. I love being a Mississippian and an employee at Northeast. I am proud of my colleagues – our staff, faculty and administration with whom I work. I see evidence of their dedication to our students in helping them achieve their educational goals. It disappoints me – no it angers me – that a colleague at another educational institution would deem it professional, ethical, or appropriate to single out a sister institution as Mr. Russell has done. Shame on him.
Glenice Stone, Library Director
Northeast Mississippi Community College
Booneville