To the Editor:
The First Amendment should have discouraged a letter such as the one that appeared in the Wave. The authors complained that there was no manger on 116 Street, but there are menorahs in many places. Now, admittedly, I did not ride up and down the peninsula streets looking for any religious symbols in particular, but I have seen many menorahs displayed—in the windows of private homes and apartments. The writers of the letter are not, of course, complaining about the menorahs on private property, so they must have seen many menorahs on public property. I only know of one menorah displayed on 116th Street. But I am puzzled as to what other public streets or buildings hosted menorahs.
Why is it necessary that we must display our religious symbols on public property? We are opening a Pandora’s box. For every religious holiday, whether it is Hindu, Moslem, Buddhist, Sikh, etc. the people who profess such a belief, in all fairness, must also be allowed to display their symbols on public grounds.
When the delegates of the Continental Congress reviewed an early draft of the Declaration of Independence, a number of changes were made. Two such changes were in the first sentence of the second paragraph: “We hold these truths to be sacred, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights….” Benjamin Franklin, a religious man among other things, said that the word “sacred” was too religious in nature and that government has no business in religion. So the word was crossed out and replaced with “self-evident,” and “inalienable” was changed to “unalienable.” Also note the words “their Creator.” I find it interesting that Jefferson, also a religious man, did not write “our Creator” implying that the delegates (government to be) worshipped the only true God. He knew, as did the delegates, that a man worships his God in his own way and government will not, should not, take away that right, nor impose upon it in any manner. The First Amendment made it law. In 1947 the Supreme Court, in Everson v. Board of Education, issued the following statement: “Neither a state nor the Federal Government…can force (a person) to profess a belief or a disbelief in any religion… participate in the affairs of any religious organization or groups and vice versa.” (italics mine)
Religious symbols of any kind do not belong on public property, whether it is a building, street, or park—except in the case were it may be occupied as a home by an elected official (such as the White House, Gracie Mansion, etc.).
STEPHEN S. YAEGER
Pike’s Justified War
First & foremost, Bob must realize that being patriotic and having pride in America does not mean you must agree with the horrendously poor decisions of our government. That’s democracy.
It’s unfortunate that Bob Pike is one that still believes the delusional fear that Bush & his cronies are still trying to spew as truth. He writes “finding no weapons of mass destruction is irrelevant, complications and unforeseen problems have arisen.....”. Complications! The Iraq campaign is a total disaster of monumental proportions with no way out and no way of succeeding.
The fact is that Iraq & the world is now a more dangerous place due to the Iraq war. Ask any world leader except Bush and they will tell you so. As evil as Saddam was, he was the lesser of the 2 evils of religious fanatics taking over Iraq. The U.S. created such a mess in Iraq that there is so much hatred for America throughout the world. Bush is the best thing that happened for terrorism. He is the poster boy for Al Qaeda recruitment.
Our poor boys are sitting ducks in Iraq, fighting an unwinable war. The government doesn’t even supply them with proper equipment & treats them like dirt when & if the get back home. Is this Bush’s version of “support our troops”? Bush is the war criminal. Unfortunately, when young men die in an unnecessary war, we need to try to legitimize it to help legitimize their deaths
This country has gone in a dangerous direction. Religious conservatism has taken hold. It’s the American version of the Taliban. Just as dangerous. “...respect the office of the Presidency...”???Bob writes. The conservatives spent $100m to impeach a President for having sex in the Oval Office and reelect another who commits treason by lying about reasons for going to war. A whole nine months wasted on Monica while the world looks at us & laughs & Bin Laden completes his plans for 9/11. What stupidity. Bush’s lies about going to war have caused thousands of civilian deaths & destruction. Not to mention the 1400 and counting American deaths of young soldiers over 20,000 coming home disfigured.
Bob, if you want real national security, the government must pull out most of our soldiers spread out all over the world & bring them home. Use these troops to shut down & secure our borders. Tell all these countries that we made a mistake & we’re sorry. We cannot be the world’s police force anymore. Tell the European Union & the UN that they are in charge now. Suspend the billions in financial aid we give away every year to every country on earth (except for food). Suspend immigration until further notice. Only then will we start to have some sense of real homeland security.
Then we would now be able to spend this money on OUR citizens. Health care, education, poverty & unemployment, & real homeland security.
Baby Jesus Took A Walk
Regarding the Letter to the Editor by Catherine Moran in your December 03, 2004 edition, titled “Where’s Jesus”, I have a response.
Rockaway legend alleges that the manger scene on 116 Street was pilfered 25 years ago, by unnamed miscreants who spent a too long of a night at P.J. Curran’s philosophizing. These miscreants decided to take Jesus and his three king friends out proselytizing to various Rockaway establishments, where the unbelieving were known to congregate. In defense of the culprits, the kings had been heard complaining about being thirsty after a long journey.
It was during this mission that Jesus and the Kings went missing. I second the call made by Catherine Moran and say now 25 years after they have gone missing “Where’s Jesus on Beach 116 Street?”
Christmas Tradition Returns
My hat is off and a halo for C. Moran, M.D. Kelly, A. Rohman and C. and W. Diffly for not being afraid to voice their opinion on something that’s been a tradition for years on Beach 116 Street. Thanks to everyone who helped get the crèche back. Walter Blum must be smiling down.
Where Will This End Up?
I would like my voice heard in requesting the return of the Christmas stable to Beach 116 Street. This has always been a part of our Christmas heritage and it is unbelievable that the stable is missing this year. All over the world the stable symbolizes the birth of Jesus.
As a Catholic I would like our public representatives to do something about this immediately. If we let this go now where will it end up? There will be no part of Christ in our Christmas. It is not about a tree, it is about the birth of our Christ. Many people are upset about this and we want to be heard.
EILEEN V. MCCOOL
A Mean Spirited Letter
At this time of the year I admonish your newspaper for printing such a prejudiced and mean-spirited letter “Where has Jesus Gone?” in the December 17, 2004 issue.
The writer laments that there are no mangers seen anymore at X-Mas displays. As an example, they mention Beach 116 Street. That display for the holidays shows a large X-Mas tree and reindeer but no manger.
Instead of addressing this problem to those civic associations that are responsible for holiday displays, the writer of this letter takes a different slant. They say by not having a manger scene next to the X-Mas tree and reindeer, why do you display a menorah? According to them perhaps, the people who celebrate Hanukkah are receiving special treatment. In other words, if you do show the manger scene, don’t show the menorah. The only symbol I know of for representing Hanukkah is the menorah.
The Little North Pole
A special thank you to all our family, friends and neighbors for helping us make “The Little North Pole” such a huge success.
Juvenile Diabetes is a disease that affects millions of children, and this holiday season, we give thanks to all those who came out and supported our cause.
A special thank you to: The New York City Police Department; The New York City Fire Department; The New York City Sanitation Department; The Rockaway Theatre Group; The Breezy Point Pipes and Drums; The Louis Benes Dance Studio; Pauly Walnuts; Rag Time; The Wave; Le’Cole; Beach Bagels; Plum Tomatoes; La Nora; La Caribe; Belle Harbor Steakhouse; P.S. 114; Little Red Wagon; Visitation Academy; London Lenny’s; Esposito Pork Store; El Caribe; Pino’s Pizzeria; East Meets West; Claudine Larsen Perlier Products; Strands Hair Salon; CyberZone; Black Widow Exterminating; Belle Harbor Chemists; Senory Star; Ciro’s; Video Waves; Siobhan Keenan; Sammy’s Variety Store; Papa’s Pizza; Tiberio; Beach Club; Aero’s; Snug Harbor; St. Francis de Sales; Kelly’s Place; the residents of Neponsit Beach; Marco Polo Restaurant; LaBagel Delight; Townhouse; Not Just Chicken; Caputo’s Bakery; Joey Paratta; Pete Christiansen; Gregory Kusher; Raphael Buio; Vanessa Buio; Richie Stonis; Anthony Lag; Ellen Lynch; Doreen Lynch; Megan Boyle; Terry Boyle; Judy Kenny; Audrey Pheffer; LuAnn Gamberdella; Francis Abbracciamento; Alan Zwirn; Maureen Milazzo; Mike Sullivan; Jerry Stanskey; Joe McGoorty; Michael Agostino; Don Hart; John McLaughlin; Chris LaMure; Tom Lynch; Liz Sulik; Pat Corby; Geraldine Chapey; The Berkshire Financial Group; The Cowan Family; Joseph Addabbo; Mr. & Mrs. James Kelly; Mr. & Mrs. James Perrillo; Mr. & Mrs. D.J. Surgue; Mr. & Mrs. Jack Tarus; Mr. & Mrs. Terry Williams; Mr. & Mrs. George Grecco; Mr. & Mrs. San Said; Mr. & Mrs. Tom Cann; Mr. & Mrs. Keith Manfre; Mr. & Mrs. Shamus Barnes; Mr. & Mrs. George Pelito, Beverly Baxter, Bob Cirillo and Mr. & Mrs. Klein.
A donation box will remain outside “The Little North Pole” until Sunday, January 2, 2005. This holiday season we will raise more than $100,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the new Children’s Diabetic Center at Peninsula Hospital.
So far everyone that came by, donated money or helped with this event – I thank you.
God Bless You and Happy New Year.
JOSEPH MURE & FAMILY
Demise Is Exaggerated
In your column last week you said that someone else had to take over the Menorah on B. 116 Street since “the JWV is out of business.” Post 258 which meets on the third Sunday of every month at Temple Beth El is definitely not out of business.
We are older and move slower and many of us have passed on or moved but we are still here. You even list our meetings in each issue although you have the wrong date.When we have special events, you often print pictures of us. Post 258 of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America is definitely still in business.
There is also a less active post in Far Rockaway but they too are still in business.
The reason we are not officially participating in the lighting of the Menorah is that when the new Menorah was given as a gift to the community, the two gentlemen in Florida who bought it wanted to give Belle Harbor something worthwhile after they heard all about the plane crash here. They sought out a synagogue in Belle Harbor listing on the internet and found the only one listed was Ohab Zedek. They sent it there. Any arrangements that were made were done without our (JWV) input.
Please correct this t impression
SARA S. BERGER
Light On Logic
I read with interest and amusement your most recent editorial. Your belief that a Menorah is a secular symbol because “it represents a Jewish festival, not a holiday in the strict sense of the word,” is very light on logic and way off the mark. If you equate a Menorah to Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer or Frosty the snowman figurines, in my mind this is sacrilegious. The fact that you describe the Menorah in the same sentence as the word Jewish gives it a religious connection. The festival is related to an event in Jewish religious history and is certainly not secular. Frosty and Rudolph are in no way part of the Christian tradition related to the birth of Christ.
I believe that we need to recognize not only some holidays but all. We need to get away from this political correct thinking and start respecting the religions and cultures. By ignoring these events we are moving further away from any individuality in our country. I hope I am not violating the Constitution by exercising my freedom of speech and wishing you a Happy New Year. By the way, the calendar we follow is based on Christianity, but perhaps that disturbs you too.
We’re Going To
The Beach Channel High School Marching Band would like to thank all of our sponsors for helping us get to Disney World. Among our many contributors were the Port Authority of NY & NJ, Bob Simmons, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, City Councilman James Sanders, Jr., Dr David Morris, Walsh Properties, Inc., Eddie Hazel, Jacob & Phyllis Domfort and Democratic District Leader Lew Simon.
Father Jack’s Transfer
One of the big stories in the Rockaways this past week has been the announcement by the Bishop of Brooklyn, the Most Reverend Maurzio, that the current pastor of St. Genevieve’s Roman Catholic Church, the Reverend Jack Cullinane is to be removed from the parish due to the shortage of priests in the Brooklyn Diocese.
Father Jack has been beloved by his parishioners for many years and it seems hard to accept this surprise turn of events. I would think that Bishop Maurzio would have discussed this transfer with the people of St. Genevieve’s parish beforehand.
At a time when there is a dangerous lack of priests in the diocese, the Bishop transferred Father Jack without any input.
It remains unclear what the Bishop has in mind for Father Jack, and/or his next assignment and most unfair for the parishioners of St. Genevieve’s. The loss of a great priest like Father Jack, in a country-like parish in Roxbury will leave a void in our community.
JOSEPH JAMES BURNS