Tuesday, October 2, 2012
My column each week in this and other newspapers represents my opinion on various matters. I have never expected everyone to agree with my points of view. I anticipate dissent and objection to what I write. It’s what editorial opinion is all about.
However, I do not expect apparent mockery from those who do not agree with me when it concerns my religious beliefs. But, alas, a reader recently in a letter to the editor chose to ridicule my religious expressions. He claims that he is doing so “on behalf of the citizens of Pawleys Island.”
I have expressed my religious views upon occasion and once again I don’t expect all readers to agree with them but this letter writer unmistakably implies derisively that I claim to speak for God. I have never indicated any such notion. I find his remarks offensive.
All I did in the column that the reader responded to was indicate that although my heart is with those who would like to keep Pawleys Island just as it was years ago; it is unlikely that the community will ever again become the small seaside village it once was. The letter writer appears to be a proponent of the “Don’t Box The Neck” movement but it also appears that he may not understand that his sort of ridicule is not the way we do things around here. Disagree if you must but remain civil about it. Good advice I would think for those who want their view to prevail.
Now, there are certain things that I don’t allow to go unanswered. Casting aspersions on family, country, mothers and religion are among the actions most likely to raise the ire of true Southerners and most other folks throughout the land. In fact, my last fracas that resulted in a physical engagement occurred when I was in Basic Infantry Training in the US Army over at Ft. Jackson. One of my fellow recruits called me an SOB and even though he did so in a jocular manner, it was something that no Southern lad has ever allowed to go unchallenged. It didn’t — and the word quickly spread among the recruits from afar that in the Southland, SOB was an expression you uttered at your own peril. I outgrew physical confrontation years ago, but I don’t mind taking on verbally, one and all, who choose to hurl inappropriate words in my direction.
Therefore I must address remarks made by Terry Munson of Pawleys Island.
Mr. Munson is no stranger to anti-religious views. In a letter to this paper last December, he mourned the death of a somewhat famous atheist. In fact, he called the death “a great tragedy for Georgetown, America and the world.” I don’t know about worldwide sorrow but I failed to notice any local mourning for this or any other atheist. Just the chapter titles from the best-known book by Christopher Hitchens, whom Mr. Munson eulogizes, is enough to discourage most readers. For instance: “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” “Is Religion Child Abuse?” and “The New Testament Exceeds The Evil Of The Old One.” These few examples surely give you reasons why many of us might not want to celebrate the life’s work of such a person.
In his letter to the editor last year, Mr. Munson made statements that may have indicated his own disdain for religion. He said in referring to the dead author’s work, “His blazing intelligence glimpsed in childhood that god (sic) is the product of man’s imagination and not the other way around.” He added that according to the author, “… only the egomaniacal believe that a being who created the universe has put together a special plan; … that religion is grounded in fear and wishful thinking …”
Mr. Munson chose to comment on his view of my relationship with God by writing a piece that is hard to follow and the reader is not really certain of what he is talking about. I suppose Mr. Munson’s remarks were a feeble attempt at utilizing the literary devices known as farce and/or satire. It is a most difficult thing to accomplish and most writers shy away from it because it takes a great deal of intellectual writing skill to pull it off effectively. I believe Mr. Munson failed in his effort. All he accomplished was to offend me and a great number of his neighbors.
In the meantime, he has resorted to Email to send me data designed to educate (re-educate, alter?) my beliefs in God. I’m afraid what several universities failed to do, a few Emails will prove to be equally unsuccessful.
Mr. Munson and everyone else for that matter have a perfect right to express an opinion and although I may vehemently disagree, I will not ridicule his core beliefs. I will, however, quote him accurately and although he might find it offensive, I will do what any good person of Judeo/Christian leanings must do — I’ll pray for him.
John Brock is a retired college professor and newspaper editor/publisher who lives in Georgetown County. He can be reached at this newspaper by mail or by Email: email@example.com.
Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.