Like Tim Sampson (The Rant, August 26th issue), I once was involved with a church that thought they were the only humans on Earth going to Heaven, and that anyone disagreeing with them would be toast for all eternity. I even went so far as to attend one of their colleges with the intention of becoming a minister. Luckily, along the way, I discovered that I was far too loving and gentle a person to preach fire, brimstone, hatred, and bigotry for the rest of my life. I decided to trade my vengeful and vindictive god in for a more loving, accepting, and tolerant one.
I have reached the conclusion that virtually all of the world's major problems are a result of the "My god's better than your god" silliness that pervades our world. The argument over whether a mosque should or should not be built close to the site of the former World Trade Center is a great example of the divisive spirit of all religions. Spirituality is not found in churches or mosques. It's found in people. It's not about how much we can hate, judge, and condemn. It's about how much we can love and forgive.
I just want to say thank you for Tim Sampson's Rant. The sad thing to me is that those who are intolerant, angry, and poorly educated will not read the piece. Maybe a series of large pictures would draw their attention — something colorful, with guns, nearly naked women, and cans of beer.
I would like to point out one error. Barack Obama was a long-time member and supporter of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. The United Church of Christ is very different than the Church of Christ. The Church of Christ could be that congregation Sampson belonged to as a child, since the Church of Christ holds the belief that only they are going to be with Christ after this life is over. The United Church of Christ is an inclusive, universalist, open, and affirming denomination within the Christian faith. Locally,you know it as First Congo, Holy Trinity, and Second Congregational churches.
With a long history that goes back to the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock, the United Church of Christ is a large denomination that focuses on social justice. Jesus stood up for the underdog. That's why the flag-waving, patriotic churchpeople of Memphis would probably accuse him of being a socialist and nail him to the cross all over again.
Regarding "Lane Change?" (August 26th issue): On August 14th, I was riding down Island Place on Mud Island. It is a prime example of a bad street for cyclists — a very wide road with no dotted line down the middle separating lanes. There are no areas designated for cyclists. Cars sometimes park on the sides of the street, but often there are none. I ran into the back of a parked SUV. I broke two teeth, had a concussion, and would probably be dead (or have serious brain injuries) if I hadn't been wearing my helmet. My bicycle is now totaled.
I don't remember anything that happened 10 minutes before the wreck. That wreck could have been entirely my fault. Or, as usually happens on that street, a car could have come up on my left and approached me too close for comfort, causing me to panic and wheel further right.
I think this anecdote is useful for business owners in Cooper-Young. I understand the need for lots of parking, but as someone who was raised in Cooper-Young, I think we should consider safety, too. Four parking spots is a fairly small loss when compared to cyclists' safety.
Everyone is making a big deal of a resolution that will — supposedly — prevent discrimination against the LGBT community. (I say "supposedly" because in Tennessee, a no-contract state, employers do not actually need a reason to fire an employee.) The TEP does not want a generic resolution that bars discrimination for any non-merit factor. However, by naming specific sectors of society as being protected from discrimination, one implies that some groups will not be protected. Isn't it better to say, across the board, that if one does one's job well — or is capable of doing the job well — no other factor may be considered in hiring or firing?
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