I am writing to express concern that the officials responsible for choosing entries for the Fourth of July parade did not understand that the Christian faith is to be upheld even in secular events.
If those who want to celebrate their Christian faith are told that their entry cannot offend others, how is it that secular floats that are offensive to the Christian faith are accepted? That is, all entries celebrating the Christian faith were limited in what could be presented so that none could object to the presence of a church related float. Yet, amid many floats that truly did not celebrate the Fourth of July, there was one truly offensive float with the banner 'the tabernacle.' Please consult a dictionary to confirm to yourselves that the very word 'tabernacle' is truly reserved to describe only that which upholds a religious belief.
A float displaying young people skateboarding on a ramp contained on a large vehicle is truly not celebrating any faith belief. Why was this float with this banner accepted as part of the fourth of July parade? What could possibly be the connection between a secular pastime and a truly sacred place upheld in the Christian faith?
When Christians are told that a separation of church and state limits their religious freedoms, yet, widens the expression of worldliness for secular society, even to the point of offending religious beliefs, then we, as a nation, have truly not understood the founding fathers of the United States truly wanted for us all to be one nation under God.
This letter is in response to the pictorial images of the Brainerd Fourth of July parade in the July 5 issue of the Dispatch.
How ironic that the two young brothers who are serving our country to help keep our freedom and were chosen to be the marshals for the parade had their picture (in black and white) relegated to page 6A and who should make the front page in living color no less, but the peace marchers.
Yes, everyone wants peace, there certainly is no argument there, but this was an Independence Day celebration made possible by those early patriots who fought so desperately for freedom from British rule. We still, over the years, have had to continue to fight for our freedom and unfortunately it does not come free.
It is now entering the 12th week of the United Steel Workers Local 5859 strike against Aitkin Iron Works. These men have been working without a viable contract for over a year, have given up many benefits, accepted a wage freeze and have gone along with just about everything that management has thrown at them in order to avert this strike.
They are not only fighting for the basic rights they have earned as steel workers, but for their jobs as well. Now they are expected to accept the unacceptable, total and complete job insecurity. No more seniority rights, and continued morale-busting layoffs, which management is now calling furloughs. Then, if you are called back to work, you will be reinstated at 70 percent of your wage. If you don't accept those terms, you will be fired.
I hope the community will continue to support these steel workers, and help them reach a just conclusion to this strike. These men have given many years of service to this company, helped to make it a successful business and they do not deserve to be treated in such a way.
Loyalty and respect have to come back to Aitkin Iron Works, not just from the labor side, but from the management side as well. When this strike is finally settled, in time, healing will come for all involved. Unfortunately, the longer it drags on without resolution, the deeper the wounds become. This strike must come to an end for the good of all concerned, and for the community as a whole.
Spirit of '04
I would like to thank Nancy Cross and the Brainerd Community Action for the well organized and well run parade on the 4th of July.
The parade spectators also deserve to be commended for their enthusiasm and excitement. I was overwhelmed by the support our float received along the parade route. Even though we were at the end, the crowd still had the energy as though we were the first entry. Seeing the spectators' positive response to our patriotic music and theme from old and young alike, brought tears to my eyes.
Remember we all have wept in public and in private for family and friends who have fallen during times of military conflict. Who can deny the feeling of every note of a patriotic song vibrating through our body, while tempering the burning desire to "correct" those around us who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hats, or even stop talking. The odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, our soldiers defend our rights. Let's continue the positive spirit throughout the year. United We Stand.
Robert L. Fitzsimmons
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.