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Published: Thursday, 2/9/2006

Tolerance is the freedom to offend?

I strongly disagree with the Feb. 4 editorial that stated "The furor over the cartoons in the Danish publication is unwarranted because it simply impedes the path of tolerance among people with differing customs and religious beliefs."

Since when does tolerance mean freedom to offend others, with no restraints, consideration, or responsibility? How do you think the people of Toledo and readers of this fine local paper will react, if The Blade were to publish cartoons making jokes about the Holocaust or the slavery of African-Americans?

I am both furious and offended by the insensitive and irresponsible act of all the newspapers that printed these cartoons under the banner of freedom of the press. To suggest that the furor over the cartoons impedes the path of tolerance is like blaming the victim for the crime.

Islamophobia is no less hideous than anti-Semitism and should not be condoned. In fact, using the freedom of the press as a cover for spreading hate and incitement impedes the path of tolerance among people.

Phung Vo

Joelle Drive

A Danish newspaper published a cartoon of Mohammed and it got the Muslim world in an uproar. Threats of violence and demands for an apology have come from Gaza, Saudi Arabia, and Baghdad. Some European foreigners were kidnapped and held hostage until an apology was received.

To hear these countries cry about intolerance and religious persecution is comical. In these countries Christians are killed just for being Christians, and you know how loving and tolerant they are of Jews.

As a Christian I hear my beliefs mocked and ridiculed by the news media and television stations almost daily. I hear the name of my Savior Jesus Christ used as profanity. They make blasphemous movies about him and call it art. Does that anger me? You bet. But I've never lashed out in violence against anyone because of it. My God tells me to love my enemies, and to do good to them who hate me. He says that because He doesn't need me to defend Him. My God is big enough to take care of Himself.

Randy Gazarek

Brook Point Road

Does anyone else find it ironic that armed gunmen are storming European Union offices and sending bomb threats to the Danish government in the name of the Islamic religion? Muslims certainly have the right to be upset over caricatures of the prophet Mohammed. They are in poor taste, and similar caricatures of Christian religious figures would draw ire from Christian communities. But would Mohammed himself condone such behavior?

Kevin Decker

Whitehouse

The most interesting thing and the most dangerous thing about the domestic spying issue should be obvious to all, i.e. if the government succeeds in getting away with it, then it will not be dismantled in the future, and its value as a tool of political power consolidation will make it routine, with Democrats doing the same kind of spying when they are in power.

I don't like President Bush or his Cabinet or the GOP, but I would be miffed if the spying were done by a Democratic president as well. It is unconstitutional. There will be few checks left to keep our government from becoming an entity far beyond citizen control, in other words, an oligarchy or worse.

Donald A. Keller

Foxbourne Road

Following 9/11, the government's "Information Awareness Office" began its Orwellian "Total Information Awareness" program, which used automated surveillance and data-mining to spy on all electronic communications. A wide range of groups, both conservative and liberal, challenged TIA. A bipartisan effort in Congress shut it down.

Russell Tice, who has spent his life protecting Americans at the National Security Agency, and has now sacrificed his own career to continue serving Americans first, says the NSA's wiretapping program is likely monitoring millions of people, including the innocent. The program consists of sifting through so many communications that warrants would be impossible to obtain before mining these messages for data. It sounds an awful lot like the TIA program that was rejected by the public and our representatives.

With the front door slammed in its face by the rule of law, it seems like the President has tried to sneak in the back door with another data-mining project. It pains me that we are sacrificing thousands of lives and billions of dollars in Iraq to supposedly protect our way of life, but then we sit on our hands while our own people work to undermine this way of life on our own soil, "for our own good."

I'd rather lose life, liberty, and happiness to a foreign enemy, than to the country that I love.

If we can no longer count on "freedom" in America, what hope is there for the rest of the world? It's time to put politics aside and resist warrantless wiretaps. Throughout history, our heroes have looked past their fears to the light of freedom, and won freedom for us through great sacrifice. If we focus on fear and trade liberty for security, we will have defeated America like no enemy ever could.

Davin Heckman

Adrian, Mich.

Why can't residents embrace Costco? There are likely dozens of Toledo neighborhoods that would welcome a retailer such as Costco with open arms.

Findings in a recent survey conducted by Holographic Data Inc. have found that more than 85 percent of the residents within a five-mile radius of the Telegraph-Alexis intersection will willingly swap nine topless bars, 12 adult bookstores, and 17 massage parlors for one Costco located within a two- to three-mile radius of the targeted neighborhoods.

This would be a win-win for everyone. The Westgate area would not have to deal with another big-box retailer with acres of asphalt, and would gain many new locally operated businesses. The pluses are numerous, the growth of truck and other vehicular congestion in the Central-Secor area during regular commute times would be virtually nonexistent, and the added bonus would be that the Westgate area could boast that they now have the only adult urban village in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, maybe even in the entire Midwest.

L.R. Zeman

Temperance, Mich.

Two recent Forum letters proposed intelligent design as scientifically sound. How could it be, when ID presumes the existence of a supernatural being? Science doesn't encompass the supernatural and doesn't look for supernatural answers to explain unknowns. ID "theory" gained a foothold because many creationists tried to find evidence supporting their conclusions. This violates the scientific method. Scientists examine available evidence and form a testable hypothesis.

ID is merely a way to revive creationism in schools as a "science." This so-called "theory" lacks evidence. Dr. Michael Behe's arguments - based on a flawed understanding of the evolutionary model - were successfully refuted many times by the scientific community. Dr. Behe also views astrology to be a legitimate science.

Contrary to what ID proponents claim, there's no evidence that contradicts evolution.

There's also no "growing consensus" of legitimate scientists rejecting evolution. For more than 178 years evolution has stood the test of time.

Daniel Gordon

Maumee

If Cindy Sheehan has moved to the "far left" as you have suggested in your recent editorial, "Freedom arrested," then where has President Bush moved to? Maybe he should move out of the White House before our constitutional freedoms are moved to a place with no phone, no Internet access, and no forwarding address.

Mel Pommeranz

Francis Avenue



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