I am deeply disturbed that you chose to publish the letter from Joshua B. McCall on Saturday, Feb. 2.
While I disagree with McCall's opinion and know for a fact that some of his statements are blatantly false, I respect his right to his opinion. What I have a real problem with is that you as a journalist would choose to publish a letter that grossly defames another individual, in this case the Rev. Dr. Tom Smiley, with absolutely no justification. My problem is not with Mr. McCall, it is with you and your journalistic ethics or lack thereof.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the church of which Smiley is the senior pastor, but I knew Smiley through business and community activities long before I joined his church.
I know he is a kind, Christian gentleman who does not hate anybody but loves everybody, as the Bible commands, regardless of race, sexual orientation or any other category into which many in today's society seem to want to lump everybody.
I can honestly say that in the 15 years I have attended Smiley's church I have never heard him preach hate toward anybody or any group of people. I have rarely even heard him mention the "gay lifestyle," much less preach against it "from the pulpit every Sunday" as Mr. McCall claims. However, with that said, Smiley will not back down on Jesus, or what the Bible says.
To say, as Mr. McCall says, that Dr. Smiley is a "Westboro wannabe" is an absolutely absurd statement.
I am saddened by the obvious decline in journalistic standards over recent decades, and now it has come to my hometown newspaper. As a Times subscriber for most of the 31 years I have lived in Gainesville, I must say I am disappointed in you, and you have caused me to start considering whether I should continue supporting your institution with my subscription.