Drastic Times

Weird, Interesting or Disturbing News and Current Events along with some unsolicited opinions. Pretty much anything that I believe to be of interest, including politics, religion, conspiracies, values, corruption, etc.

Four children have been sent home this week from Gainesville Schools for being in violation of the school district's dress code. All of the children involved had been wearing shirts with an anti-Muslim statement, according to an article in the Gainesville Sun.

On their front, the T-shirts had a verse from the Gospel of John: "Jesus answered I am the way and the truth and the life; no one goes to the Father except through me," and this statement, "I stand in trust with Dove Outreach Center." The message "Islam is of the Devil" is on the back of the shirt.

One of the children involved, a 15 year old girl from Gainesville High School, said the decision to wear the shirt had been hers, and not her parents. She said the "devil" statement was aimed at Islam's beliefs and not its followers. She said, "The people are fine. The people are people. They can be saved like anyone else."

It's interesting what this girl had hoped that the believers of Islam could be saved from. Could they be saved from the hatred that her church was trying to spread? A more important question would be whether children who are members of the Dove Outreach Center could be saved from the narrow-minded teachings of their own church.

Although the child was trying to protect her parents in saying the decision was her own, her father showed that he was by no means above ignorant statements of his own, saying that society has grown "so tolerant of being tolerant" that free speech is eroding. In selectively protecting those parts of the Constitution that benefited him at the moment, this student's father apparently forgot that America not only has freedom of speech, but freedom of religion as well.

Some of the blame for the ignorance of the Dove Outreach Center's congregation must be placed with the church's Senior Pastor, Dr. Terry Jones, who said, to him, spreading the church's message was "even more important than education itself." When interviewed about an anti-Muslim sign in front of his church, Dr. Jones said, "The purpose of the sign is to expose Islam for what it is. It is a violent and oppressive religion that is trying to masquerade itself as a religion of peace."

It's my opinion that all organized religions are oppressive. While Islam may have had its share of violence and hypocrisy, Christianity is far from innocent itself. In fact, messages of hatred such as those of the Dove Outreach Center and the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, may place Christianity on the top of the hypocritical list.

Fortunately, the general population of Gainesville does not agree with the Dove Outreach Center's message of hatred, and according to an examiner.com article, they came out in droves to protest the sign.
People of all faiths and backgrounds came out with their own signs such as, "Who Would Jesus Hate?" "Love Thy Neighbor," and "God is Great. Love not Hate." The protesters have pledged to stay there until the sign comes down.

Pastor Eve MacMaster, of the Emmanuel Mennonite Church, said of the crowd of protesters, "I am blessed by these good people. They're great. Secularist, Muslim, Jewish, Christian whatever. This confirms my belief that this is a pretty good place to live."


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