2002-07-13 / Letters

Stop Bashing Catholics


Dear Editor;

I would like to start by saying that I respect the fact that you served in our country's military and taught in our public school for 33 years. These are very noble professions and you should be proud of those accomplishments.

That being said, I take issue with last week's "From the Editor's Desk" column. I'm not going to argue the point whether the words "Under God" should be left in the Pledge of Allegiance. I do take issue with your statement, "I have nothing against Catholics or Protestants." You devoted an entire column stating that Christians, particularly Catholics caused your "silent suffering" because your were "forced" to say "Under God" in high school and because you were forced to hear Christian prayers on your naval ship because there didn't happen to be a Jewish chaplain aboard your ship.

I'm not sure what the religious breakdown was in the US Navy at the time you served, but I can only assume that, if the general population is any indication, perhaps there weren't as many Jewish servicemen in the Navy. I'm not sure who is to blame for that. You also stated that a Rabbi had to be flown in from France when a Jewish doctor was killed to perform the first Jewish service on an American man of war in 100 years. You seemed outraged that the Catholic chaplain was proud of that. I'm not sure why you had such a problem with it, but again, the Catholic chaplain was to blame for your outrage.

Mr. Schwach, your anti-Catholic views have been documented in this newspaper for years. It is well known and has been discussed among the Rockaway Catholic community since I have been reading this paper. Many Catholics I know have stopped buying this paper because of your slant. Rockaway's population consists largely of Jewish and Catholic people, and your publication can be a great tool in improving relations between these communities. Instead, you seem to prefer to create hostilities between the two. It's a real shame.

By the way, the song, "God Bless America," was written by Irving Berlin. He was a Jewish man from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This song is now sung at professional baseball games in the seventh inning, and I sang it in my early Catholic school days. I suppose I could protest and attempt to get it out of the stadiums because Mr. Berlin's "God" is not my "God." Would I do that? Absolutely not. I don't care if Mr. Berlin was Jewish, Catholic, Hindu,
Muslim or Buddhist. I was proud to sing it in Catholic school and I'm proud to sing it now.

MATTHEW E. MCLEAN


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