Letters to the Editor
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Note from the Editor:
I received a letter in the mail last week which could only be described as hate mail. As I don’t holster my mouth very well and I often make my feelings on a variety of subjects well known, the fact that I get mail expressing opposing views to my own, does not come as a surprise. However the subject of religion seems to draw even more fire than politics. Having said that, this letter went way beyond the normal difference of opinion kind of thing.
I put a lot of thought on how to handle the letter. It was obvious that I couldn’t put it in as a letter to the editor as it was not signed. Whoever wrote it was a bit of a coward and didn’t have the fortitude to stand up for what they wrote. It was sent simply to hurt, and hurt it did. It insinuated that I am a fool to believe in Christ, and my paper is a useless rag not worth reading. Also that I should not be using up editorial space for my own opinions and that I stifle the opinions of those with opposing views to my own (see the information at the bottom of this page that has been there for 16 years).
I find it unfortunate and disheartening that in this country we still find it OK to persecute others simply for their beliefs, be they Muslim, Bhudist, Christian, Agnostic or atheist. In desperation for an answer to my frustration, I decided to let my entire staff read this thrash letter. Most were disgusted at it’s content, but two decided to act on their feelings and write a couple of short notes in support. I normally do not encourage my staff to respond to letters of this nature, but in this instance, I broke the rules. I hereby enclose them for you to read.
As a current employee of the Pipestone Flyer, I would like to address the author (s) of a recently received letter addressed to our owner and publisher, Ted Okkerse. The writer (s) apparently did not have the courage or integrity to sign it other than by stating it was from “friends and neighbours in Millet”. To begin with, no “friend” would ever send such a hateful and spitefully written letter anonymously, and regardless of whether or not they agree with Ted’s philosophy on life or religion, he is entitled to express it as a basic right and freedom held by every citizen of this country .
I am not a particularly religious person myself, but I respect others’ right to live by whatever doctrine they believe in, if they feel it makes them a better human being and gives them personal satisfaction and comfort. I have never found Ted’s views - whether expressed verbally or in print, to be offensive or intrusive as was suggested in the letter by a former disgruntled employee. What I find offensive is the personal attack against someone who works tirelessly (past normal retirement age, by the way) to put out a weekly paper that is for the sole benefit of the local communities in Leduc, Wetaskiwin and Counties. He has proven to me that he is not in this purely for financial gain, but to try and make a positive difference in the lives of local citizens and their businesses.
I feel sad for the person or persons responsible for authoring such a close-minded written assault as it seems they have too much time on their hands. Perhaps they should use that time wasted on something more positive and helpful both to themselves and the community of Millet. By the way, I write this out of my own free will and am a happy and satisfied employee of the Pipestone Flyer, a paper I am proud of and admire the ethics and values it also employs.
Linda Doerr, Production Manager, Pipestone Flyer
I just wanted to let you know what my thoughts are on the editorial you wrote and the ensuing conversation we had about it. After a lot of thought, I realized that you are, indeed, a lucky man. As you know, I am spiritually agnostic but have a fair grasp of Christianity and most of its precepts.
The reaction that hit me the strongest regarding this situation is that God sends us people to test us. This is, I'm sure you would agree, not the first trial you've undergone from Up High. This is just one more.
God doesn't test the strong of faith with weak trials, either. He also doesn't make these tests harder than we can possibly withstand. You, however, are doubly blessed. This was a strong attack on your faith which bespeaks the extremely strong faith God must see dwells within you. To have God recognize that great faith is one blessing.
The other blessing is that God gave you the strength, the courage and the wherewithal to fight back in a way that exalts Him.
You should be extremely proud you were chosen for such a trial and can take much satisfaction in your response.
Well done. Chris McKerracher, Writer, Pipestone Flyer