Why was letter published?

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In an epic failure of judgment and character, The Augusta Chronicle published a letter to the editor June 15 (“America is godless nation”) that equated gay people to mules. My objection to the letter’s publishing will undoubtedly brand me a member of Oceania’s Thought Police, but what should be more troubling is that The Chronicle apparently deleted all 84 online comments on the letter sometime Saturday afternoon. Why? Is it because, as one commenter mentioned, The Chronicle would not dare print a letter equating black people to gorillas or Hispanic people to rats, and perhaps its editors realized their error? Did the exposure of their hypocrisy make them uncomfortable?

As the largest publication in the region, The Chronicle is a public forum as well as a public service. It sets the tone and topic of discussion in our community, and I would hope its editors feel that debate can be lively without being slanderous. They obviously don’t, as they have chosen to publish letters that clearly are ignorant and hateful toward gay people. But why stop there? Why not publish letters about how the Holocaust didn’t happen or how women shouldn’t vote? What’s the difference?

Is it because gay people comprise a relatively small fraction of The Chronicle’s readership, and offending them wouldn’t have much impact on revenue? Is it because The Chronicle actually agrees with the letter and is willing to sacrifice a profit to make a point? Why else would any journalistic institution promulgate a hypothesis that people whom we know and love are actually, as the letter hypothesized, members of a vast gay Nazi conspiracy?

In Matthew 6:24, Jesus – who said absolutely nothing about homosexuality, mind you – proclaimed, “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” Apparently The Chronicle thinks otherwise.

Andrew Rauch

Evans

Comments (58) Add comment
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Ms.Anthrope
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Ms.Anthrope 06/20/13 - 01:42 am
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well said, Mr. Rauch
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But if you look at the ACES (Augusta Chronicle Editorials) you will see the same contempt toward liberals or progressives or democrats. Their contempt has no limits. They have contempt for gays, blacks, hispanics, females, feminists, prochoicers, environmentalists, federal workers, non-christians, etc .......
...Does the Augusta Chronicle Editorial staff fancy themselves the "rush limbaugh" of the region?

InChristLove
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InChristLove 06/20/13 - 05:04 am
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Mr. Rauch " The Chronicle

Mr. Rauch " The Chronicle would not dare print a letter equating black people to gorillas or Hispanic people to rats, and perhaps its editors realized their error? Did the exposure of their hypocrisy make them uncomfortable?"

Is it possible that there haven't ever been letters submitted to the editor regarding African Americans as gorillas or Hispanics as rats is the reason why, and not hypocrisy at all?

"I would hope its editors feel that debate can be lively without being slanderous"

I did not have a chance to read all the comments but I believe that the editors want lively discussions without slanderous comments and this is the very reason why the comments were removed. This is not the first time this has occurred nor do I suspect the last. If individuals will follow the posting guidelines and remain respectful in their disagreements, I would suggest whole comment sections would not have to be deleted.

So it appears that your frustration should be with the commenters and not so much with the editors being unbiased in choosing their publications. Also, I would be careful quoting biblical scripture, it has a funny way of coming back to bite you. Jesus may not have mention the word "homosexual" but he spoke quite clearly on being sexually pure and about sexual immorality. I suppose the question is whether you believe homosexual conduct constitutes sexual immorality or not.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 06/20/13 - 06:36 am
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You have to love the tolerant
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You have to love the tolerant left. They will defend your first amendment rights.....just as long as you offend anyone but them.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 06/20/13 - 06:37 am
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This writer seems to be the
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This writer seems to be the same one who had multiple posts removed on the topic because he/she would repost the very same things over and over, even though they were told not to. Why post something if you have already been told it will be, and has been removed?

peace4784
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peace4784 06/20/13 - 06:56 am
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America is a godless nation.
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America is a godless nation. The letter writer in question was speaking the truth. Homosexuality is a sin against God's word. God, not the Augusta Chronicle, has a problem with homosexuality. Furthermore, homosexuals, like politicians and all humans, are not above scruntiny.

gurto
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gurto 06/20/13 - 07:17 am
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"I did not have a chance to

"I did not have a chance to read all the comments but I believe that the editors want lively discussions without slanderous comments and this is the very reason why the comments were removed. This is not the first time this has occurred nor do I suspect the last. If individuals will follow the posting guidelines and remain respectful in their disagreements, I would suggest whole comment sections would not have to be deleted."

The letter itself was slanderous towards gay people. His complaint is that the staff at Augusta Chronicle would not find it appropriate to publish a letter comparing, for instance, people of color or women to animals and Hitler. Further, they would not think to publish slanderous letters about any other minority group. And so gay people (as well as transgender individuals) are unique in this regard, where their value as human beings can be called into question by comparing them to such animals as mules or calling them useless by preceding the word with "genetically" or by literally comparing them to Hitler.

I imagine that the staff at the Augusta Chronicle was trying to maintain a relevance on the gay marriage issue, with the supreme court decision coming up. And in the spirit of that, they decided to publish a letter about gay people. But the question of whether or not gay people should be allowed to exist, which is the topic of the original letter, is open-and-closed book. Yes. Duh. Should women have the right to vote? Is slavery an immoral practice? Did the Holocaust really happen? Does asking these questions imply that we are willing to accept 'no' from any of them?

It's a very clever move by the Augusta Chronicle to publish this letter. In doing so, they have managed to respond, in a sense, to the complaints about censorship and homophobia they were receiving online. While I'm not particularly convinced they understand why publishing the original letter was a poor ethical journalistic choice, they have at least shown that they are willing to hear criticism... and offer it up for discussion, I suppose.

gurto
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gurto 06/20/13 - 07:29 am
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re: Humble Angela

"You have to love the tolerant left. They will defend your first amendment rights.....just as long as you offend anyone but them."

The Augusta Chronicle retains the right to publish exactly what they wish.

The author here is not criticizing the author of the original letter for his homophobic remarks. He is criticizing the Chronicle for choosing which letters to publish in such a way that is vaguely unethical -- a journalistic no-no.

Further, he is criticizing the Chronicle for deleting comments on the basis that they were slanderous, when in reality the letter itself contained slanderous remarks. He is criticizing the inconsistency.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 06/20/13 - 07:32 am
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So gurto, are you saying that

So gurto, are you saying that the AC needs to be biase and pick and choose what gets printed? Seems like that would be selective journalism. In life you have to take the good with the bad. Some letters you'll like, some you won't. Maybe yesterday was your day, today is mine.

Ms.Anthrope
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Ms.Anthrope 06/20/13 - 07:57 am
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I missed reading...
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all of the comments to the letter "America is a Godless Nation".
I think the ACES should restore all of these comments for everyone to read. What are they hiding?
.
here is their policy: "The Augusta Chronicle comments are enabled for a robust but respectful conversation, not for personal attacks or harassment of others. You agree not to make racist, obscene or hateful remarks. Please stay on topic. Read the full policy."
.
So when the ACES posted the letter "America is a Godless Nation" , were they abiding by this policy??????

effete elitist liberal
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effete elitist liberal 06/20/13 - 08:09 am
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double standard?

ACES has a very detailed set of standards for comments by posters, including bans on "...vulgar, profane, abusive, racist or hateful language or expressions, epithets or slurs..." Is this "censorship"? If not (and I do not believe it is), why does ACES not hold LTE writers such as Hogue to the same standards?

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 06/20/13 - 08:14 am
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The writer seems to be
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The writer seems to be criticizing the ACES for not being fair and balanced because they didn't post letters calling people "gorillas" or the such, but they can't publish such letters if they haven't received such letters. The writer is implying that they HAVE received such letters but failed to publish them.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 06/20/13 - 08:22 am
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"In Matthew 6:24, Jesus – who
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"In Matthew 6:24, Jesus – who said absolutely nothing about homosexuality, mind you.........."

Jesus also said nothing about bestiality, pedophilia, drunk driving, identity theft, or jaywalking either.

Don't you just love when people (most of which don't even believe the writings in the Bible) try to use the bible to prove something it wasn't meant to prove?

Ms.Anthrope
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Ms.Anthrope 06/20/13 - 08:30 am
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exactly, HA
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The bible is irrelevant. It should be left on the shelf to collect dust.

gurto
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gurto 06/20/13 - 08:39 am
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re: InChristLove

"So gurto, are you saying that the AC needs to be biase and pick and choose what gets printed? Seems like that would be selective journalism. In life you have to take the good with the bad. Some letters you'll like, some you won't. Maybe yesterday was your day, today is mine."

I presume AC does not publish every single e-mail letter they receive. They already choose what gets printed / put online. Departing from opinion articles, they choose which stories to write about and pursue. Why hasn't the AC published a piece about the living conditions in Chechnya? I'm not going to assume they have some sort of bias in the global political landscape because they choose not to write about something.

As I stated previously, journalists are expected to maintain a certain level of ethical behavior in choosing which stories to publish. Just as they (presumably) would not publish an opinion piece about how having women in the workplace is wrong, or about how people of color should never have been freed, they (presumably) should also respect the common dignity of homosexuals. And publishing a letter that likens them to both mules and Hitler is not respect.

proud2bamerican
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proud2bamerican 06/20/13 - 08:39 am
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homophobic

@Gurto...Here we go again with the hypocrisy that both sides are often guilty of..."The author here is not criticizing the author of the original letter for his homophobic remarks. " The word "homophobic" itself is used as a very "judgmental", critical, demeaning, and/or " hateful" way to describe someone expressing their convictions about homosexuality. Yet you hear the term used mockingly and hatefully against those who disagree all of the time. I grow so weary of hearing how people who oppose your beliefs are so hateful and judgmental when you are clearly guilty of it yourself when using terms such "homophobic" in a mocking way to describe another. Let's all try to practice what we 'preach'.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 06/20/13 - 08:43 am
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Slander

gurto posted:

The letter itself was slanderous towards gay people.

Here is the definition from my dictionary:

slan’ der, n. [ME. sclaunder, from OFr. esclandre, from LL. scandalum.] — the utterance or spreading of a false statement or statements, harmful to another’s character or reputation: legally, slander is spoken, as distinguished from libel, which is written.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Getting past the obvious (i.e., the letter was written, not spoken), we see that slander involves an individual. You can slander a person, but you cannot slander a group.

Secondly, the offense is against the individual’s character or reputation. The letter writer did not address the character or reputation of anyone.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 06/20/13 - 08:45 am
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Homophobic
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Good point. The word "homophobic" would be a fear of homosexuality. This is not the same as believing it is morally wrong. I suppose those who are "pro-choice" could be called infantaphobic.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 06/20/13 - 08:48 am
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Missing

EEL, I read the letter of June 15. There was nothing in it vulgar, profane, abusive, or racist. Nor did it contain hateful language or expressions, epithets or slurs. It contained the letter writer's opinions, and the newspaper used its discretion to publish it. Let's not toss out the first amendment in our attempt to squelch public debate.

RMSHEFF
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RMSHEFF 06/20/13 - 08:54 am
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Good point HA. When one

Good point HA. When one tries to use Scripture to to defend homosexuality they are treading on thin ice.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 06/20/13 - 08:57 am
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Read it for yourself.
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Read it for yourself. Nothing vulgar, profane, abusive, or racist.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/opinion/letters/2013-06-15/america-godless-...

RMSHEFF
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RMSHEFF 06/20/13 - 08:59 am
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I wonder if black people are

I wonder if black people are "offended" by the writer equating skin color to a lifestyle.

effete elitist liberal
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effete elitist liberal 06/20/13 - 09:05 am
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LL

"Nor did it contain hateful language or expressions, epithets or slurs."

"So are mules"? Hogue was equating homosexuals with animals, was he not?

deestafford
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deestafford 06/20/13 - 09:06 am
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"....phobic"

I too am tired of hearing someone be called ...phobic; e.g., "homophobic", "Islamaphobic" and it goes on and on. "Phobic" means fear of something and to the left when someone disagrees with them it is a fear...Hey! Wait a minute. Maybe the left is "truthophobic".

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 06/20/13 - 09:09 am
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No...he was equating the
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No...he was equating the qualities of intelligence, hard working, and successful in their endeavors as being the same as mules, meaning that those qualities do NOT make up for the immoral behavior. That in no way equates homosexuals with mules. Obviously you didn't get it.

effete elitist liberal
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effete elitist liberal 06/20/13 - 09:10 am
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HA

Might mention that my dictionary defines homophobic as " intense hatred or fear of homosexuals or homosexuality," not just fear. Does your dictionary leave out the "hatred" part?

gurto
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gurto 06/20/13 - 09:14 am
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re: proud2bamerican / re: Little Lamb

"I grow so weary of hearing how people who oppose your beliefs are so hateful and judgmental when you are clearly guilty of it yourself when using terms such "homophobic" in a mocking way to describe another. Let's all try to practice what we 'preach'."

If it pleases you, I will refrain from using the word homophobic. He was being criticized for his remarks. This is not a violation of his first amendment right.

==============

"Getting past the obvious (i.e., the letter was written, not spoken), we see that slander involves an individual. You can slander a person, but you cannot slander a group."

Ah, true. Maybe I should not be using the word 'slander'. I hope you do not hold it against me for using the word provided by Rauch.

"Secondly, the offense is against the individual’s character or reputation. The letter writer did not address the character or reputation of anyone."

Hogue stated that homosexuals were attempting to indoctrinate children, and that their behavior was insulting. They were compared to Hitler twice. But I will concede that he did not target an individual person and therefore it is not technically slander.

"Let's not toss out the first amendment in our attempt to squelch public debate."

I'm surprised that you would bring up the first amendment. This is not a first amendment case. The first amendment states that the government may not enact legislation which prevents the freedom of speech of individuals, or of the press. In criticizing Hogue, we are not in violation of the first amendment. If we were to enact legislation against his speech, or if the government were to have his letter removed, we would violate the first amendment. As it stands, if the AC were to remove his letter (or not have posted it at all), it would not violate his first amendment right.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 06/20/13 - 09:16 am
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Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 06/20/13 - 09:16 am
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Karradur....No one said
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Karradur....No one said homosexuals are mules....except for you.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 06/20/13 - 09:24 am
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I have good eyesight...so do
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I have good eyesight...so do hawks...does that mean I'm equated to a hawk? Of course not. Most people with no chip on their shoulder can see the difference.

effete elitist liberal
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effete elitist liberal 06/20/13 - 09:31 am
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HA

Wouldn't it then follow that simply because many homosexuals have the attributes of intelligence, hard work, and success in their endeavors, intelligent people would not equate them with mules? Just trying to follow the logic of your own argument....

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