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Your Views: One group seeks to push its beliefs on all Americans
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Upon reading the article regarding the pro-life demonstration that took place in Gainesville, I am shocked and disgusted that such a "demonstration" still has a place in the 21st century. As an American citizen, I am overcome by the magnitude of freedoms we possess that other people across the world lack.

Religious freedom was what brought the Pilgrims to the shores of New England almost 400 years ago and the subsequent arrival of other settlers and immigrants looking for a world that would allow them to make their own choices.

This display of religion to suffocate the reproductive rights of women is distinctly un-American. We hail our fair city as a haven of progress, where the rich history of our past blends beautifully with the progress of a modern world. However, this demonstration makes me cringe to think about how truly backward people can be in their thinking.

The use of God in the argument of abortion is a device used blindly. It is a vague defense of a complicated topic. It is certainly much easier to say "Jesus doesn’t like it" than to truly consider the issue at hand.

Anti-abolitionists in the antebellum South excused slavery by saying "God likes slavery." Anti-suffragists used religion as an argument against women voting. Passages from the Bible could be manipulated to say, "Women voters will burn in hell."

Just because someone claims that "Jesus doesn’t like it," that does not mean the answer is the correct one. Women are granted rights defended by the Constitution, reproductive freedom being one. The proposition to eliminate abortion and defending it with God’s name makes a statement that individual rights should be thrown away as long as it coincides with the beliefs of a certain group.

As U.S. citizens, we are protected by the Constitution, which binds us all to the belief that we are granted rights that cannot be taken away. Does this mean the rights of Americans are defined by the beliefs of one group of people?

What would also seem a cherry on top on this confection of lunacy would be the use of children as mini-crusaders for a cause that has been diluted and simplified to say "Jesus thinks abortion is wrong." A disservice is being done to these children. The magnitude of this issue has not been expressed to them, nor have arguments to the contrary. Yet these people are perfectly content to plaster signs onto these children and let them act as icons for an issue that they do not truly understand or believe in beyond, "Abortion kills children."

This act is more terrifying to me than anything I have read in the newspaper. It says to me that the individual must sacrifice her rights to comply with the beliefs of a small, but vocal minority. Not only that, her suppression of reproductive rights is smiled upon by God.

I conclude by citing Susan Anthony’s immortal quotation: "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."

Kyle Shook

Fence near restaurant long overdue to avoid tragedy
I appreciate the article concerning the settlement achieved with Pollo Loco’s restaurant and Chuck Frissel’s tragic death almost two years ago.

Chuck was a good friend of ours and we became involved at the time of his death in urging the city to have proper zoning laws in place to install fences or other restraints at dangerous places. Just as the settlement was achieved, the fence was put up.

It is regrettable that it took so long for this to happen; we are all lucky there was not another accident there between Pollo Loco (higher lot) and the adjacent shopping center (lower lot). I hope the city will review their zoning laws with a special eye toward better public safety.

John Beale