Originally created 08/17/00

'Chronicle' doing the wrong thing



I write in response to your editorial cartoon showing the American Civil Liberties Union as a "Grinch" stealing a symbol of the Ten Commandments. It's consistent with your column questioning motives of the ACLU's suit after pursuing two years of proposing compromises.

I'm disappointed that you promote keeping a religious icon as an official Richmond County seal because I believe all Americans (including Augustans) should be encouraged to be open-hearted about their neighbors' religious beliefs.

I'm sure you're aware that a growing number of the good people in this nation, and in the Central Savannah River Area, have excellent ethics which are neither Western nor Judeo-Christian.

Doesn't this government-promoted image (the seal) command worship of one particular God and bias against all other religions? If non-majority icons (e.g.,the Star of David, the Taoist Yin-Yang, or the Hindu Ganesh) were exclusive symbols in government documents, wouldn't there be protests and calls to the ACLU?

I believe this legal case will be decided on the law, and not by public opinion. Suppose The Chronicle took a pro-active approach to framing discussion, instead of a reactive "win-lose" position which enflames controversy and poisons the probable legal outcome?

Instead, will your editorials continue to pressure public officials to waste tax money in "saving face"? Isn't it more courageous to challenge the public to take an enlightened view?

When we look back in 50 years, will this controversy show a "healing" editorial policy, or a time of divisiveness in the face of a healthy multiculturalism?

Please don't promote more negativity and "majoritarianism" around issues of religious tolerance, compassion and inclusiveness which are at the heart of the religious liberty guaranteed by our state and federal constitutions for 200 years. Your promotion of sensitive solutions to questions of both culture and ethnicity is the responsible leadership role.

As your favorite media icon says, "Now go do the right thing" and reconsider your stance.

Nina Benedetto, Augusta