In his recent visit to South Africa, President Obama spoke at the University of Cape Town. He quoted Mandela, "No one is born hating another person ... if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love..."
I wonder what comes naturally to the Middle Eastern societies, love or hate? The followers of Islam have been on the forefront of the world news. Sunnis and Shiites are killing one another. We have witnessed hate and fear, which has divided them. There is a need to learn of love and mercy in healing their strife-torn lands. In Syria, the hate amongst the Muslims is over their sects. President Asad is Alawi Shiite. Seventy-five percent of the population are Sunnis, the rest consists of Shiites. The bitter hate and enmity between them goes back to the seventh century fight over who should rule the Muslim community. The Shiites claim they are the family of Mohammed, therefore, legitimate religious and political authority over all Muslims.
Perhaps Muslims can learn to love since they learned to hate years ago. They can learn to love during the next 1,400 years, I hope!
While I am not surprised by the conflicting opinions regarding the media's treatment of Paula Deen, I am completely appalled by the letter writer who argued that the N-word is a "contraction of Nigerian." It is true that the N-word, the Niger River in West Africa and the countries Nigeria and Niger all share the same Latin root: "niger" which means "black."
These names, I should point out, were imposed by European colonists upon the people of West Africa. But it is an absolute falsehood that the N-word is a contraction of Nigerian. The N-word was used throughout the colonization of Africa and the slave trade and in no way reflects any derivative of a nationality.
Not only would any Nigerian be offended beyond words by this statement but suggesting the N-word is a contraction also paints the N-word as having a benign meaning, It does not. I am shocked that anyone could be so misinformed to even suggest the N-word is a contraction of Nigerian.
As we consider public policy on the meaning of marriage in this country, I believe we need to understand that we can have same-sex marriage or we can have religious liberty, but we can't have both.
We have seen this wherever same-sex marriage has been legalized. From Massachusetts to Washington to Canada to Denmark, religious institutions and individuals whose consciences do not permit them to condone the practice have been compelled to do so.
Religious liberty is the freedom to live by your religious beliefs. If your beliefs are that you must love your neighbor and that homosexuality is wrong, then supporting the homosexuality of the neighbor you love is contrary to your religious beliefs.
Legalizing same-sex marriage gives legal status to a practice that is contrary to the beliefs of many religious people. But their failure to support the practice -- whether in their businesses or in their speech -- will be actionable, as we are already seeing in places where same-sex marriage is legal.
By conscience, religious people will not be able to support something that, by law, they will be compelled to support.
Religious liberty and same-sex marriage are incompatible. You can have one or the other, but not both.
SUE HUGHBANKS, Signal Mountain
The North Shore community's opposition to the current colors of the Hamilton Lofts has me shaking my head. This community tries to present itself as a progressive and offbeat part of Chattanooga, but when someone tries to infuse color and character to a development, the majority of residents immediately turn into generic suburban mode and are only satisfied with colors that are at home in a 1970s kitchen. If these people traveled to celebrated offbeat cities like San Francisco, Austin, Portland or even Atlanta's Little Five Points neighborhood, they would see that these bright colors are embraced and add a weird vibe that the local residents are proud to display.
If you are going to describe your neighborhood as offbeat, then please try to live it and not just say it.
JAMES GORE, Guild, Tenn.