Your Opinion: Feb. 13, 2015

Published 6:30 pm Saturday, February 14, 2015

‘Unforgettable’ visit to Maranatha

Station Inn Restaurant one of the best experiences! Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, one of the worst. Brought a tour group of 30 to Americus. Stayed in town & enjoyed a fine dinner at Station Inn: Great service, good food, nice welcome. Had the opposite experience at Maranatha. Expected a wonderful Sunday and ended up with a ruined memory for a lifetime. My clients from central Florida waited forever just to visit the central Georgia area see President Carter in his own element – teaching. But once there we were basically accosted and threatened to do “what” a lay female church volunteer (AKA Gestapo) person wanted us to do at the church service or risk being thrown out. Her words. Lovely welcome for a group of seniors by the way. So warm too .(You know, like they were real troublemakers …) Instead of the uplifting experience we expected, that day – a chance to say thank you to a former president – we got a foul-Mouthed church volunteer who caused a terrible reflection on the church and the President. Certainly the church knows about her (I told the Pastor as well) – yet this abysmal behavior has been accepted and most likely goes on every week … making visitors look at each other, roll their eyes, and say, Really? This is what you want us to remember about your area? Your church? I don’t care what the excuse is – it was the antithesis of Christian. And we won’t forget.

Sheryl Emmett

Daytona Beach, Fla.

Takes exception to Battle’s letter

I generally read the “Letters to the Editor” by Jacob Battle Sr. with some measure of respect for someone who believes deeply in his religion and is willing to express those beliefs. I defend his right to his beliefs just as I defend that same right in others of different beliefs.

I do take exception, however, when someone uses an interpretation of their beliefs to degrade and belittle others who are different (Letter to the Editor on February 6, 2015). This has, of course, been done throughout history, quite notably in the use of scripture by many Southerners (and some Northerners) in the justification of American slavery. Mr. Battle, likely unknowingly, uses a misinterpretation of scripture to justify his persecution of those of a minority sexual orientation.

Irrespective of some traditional beliefs, sexual orientation is inborn, or “created”, if you prefer that terminology. This is overwhelmingly supported by research, and even a cursory review will support this view. Quite simply, people are born gay or straight or in-between, and no amount of condemnation or prayer will change their orientation. (Note: please learn the difference between “orientation” and “behavior”). Condemnation will, however, contribute to their persecution, and that is a very un-Christian thing to do.

And before one quotes Leviticus to support their view, be reminded that cherry-picking scripture (i.e. – ignoring, for example, that Leviticus also supports slavery) and misinterpreting it is less justifiable when we now have such extensive access to the history of Christianity and scripture. The Bible – both testaments – does not mention homosexuality. The word itself was not even created until the 1880s. Jesus says not a word about it. Not one. When the Bible speaks of “men lying with men” being an “abomination,” it is speaking of the practice of pagan fertility rites, not a loving relationship between two people of the same sex. Everyone should be wary of proof-texting.

I would ask of Mr. Battle, and those who feel as he does, to do your interpretations of Christianity a favor and truly research scripture. It will give you a kinder view of the heart of Christianity and perhaps lead you to “Judge not, that ye be not judged” – Matthew 7: 1-3 KJV. (Note: it is widely reported that King James the 1st , who is credited with authorizing the translation of the King James Bible, was gay. But I’ll leave that to others to research …).

Tom Johnson