Feb. 13 Mail: Big City Pride, God's Existence, Downtown and More


Where’s the Big City Pride?
Regarding the Editor’s Note from Denise Reagan and Downtown [“Do You Identify with Downtown?” Jan. 23]: Thank you, Folio Weekly. Thank you, Denise.

It is about time someone finally recognized that there is not a “Downtown” for people to take pride in affiliating themselves with in Jacksonville. It truly is sad for me as a longtime resident, 30 years now, and as a parent of two teenagers.

When people ask me where I’m from, proudly I say “Philly,” as growing up in and around Philadelphia and local suburbs was filled with many fond memories of local flavor and culture. That is the major element in my pride, the local aspect of culture. The variety of cultures and peoples and foods and arts mingle and become home.

The flavor of home though is like any fine recipe: Add a pinch of this and a dash of that until perfection is made. It’s the same with a city. It needs an influx of different peoples, different ethnicities, colors, cultures, genders and, yes, sexual preferences. This variety is what makes a recipe unique and gives it the flavor of home.

Unfortunately, in Jacksonville, we have a lack of respect for those who are different. And we've lost several opportunities for new flavors to come into town because we were recognized as a city of hate by one business owner when the amendment to the human rights ordinance failed to pass. Not only did it fail to pass, but the City Councilmembers who voted against equal rights were publicly celebrated by a large downtown church and it was broadcast on YouTube. Really? Celebrating hate?

I want my children to be proud of where they grew up, here in Jacksonville. There is so much history and beauty here, but again, no “Big City Pride.” Unfortunately, I feel that Jacksonville will never amount to anything until we are free from those who oppress and belittle the differences that we should be sharing and celebrating. I hope to see the day when equality helps fuel the vibrancy that this beautiful town deserves.

Jennifer O’Donnell

My gosh, that’s 4,015 teens a year who die from texting. Seems our priorities in this country are really messed up. We stress the gun issues and let things like this slide.

Commenting on “A Major Distraction for Minor Drivers”

Equality for Everyone
Absolutely. EQUALity should be across the board — not one group, race, religion, gender or sexual preference, etc. It's about time for this city to embrace and welcome change. If we ever want to move forward as a community, we need to create an environment that fosters growth in individuals, families and businesses. The citizens of Jacksonville and America deserve the same rights and protections. Bottom line!

Commenting on “Should the Jacksonville City Council Reintroduce an Amendment to the Human Rights Ordinance?”

Cheers for The Specktator
Every single time she writes something, this lady “gets it” and frankly makes nonsense so darn sensible I am baffled! If I could read her every day, I think I would be more interested in local stuff — I know I would be more interesting to all those around me. I wish I could sneak her wit into my pocket and then ask her how to respond to all the dumb stuff (people) I see each day. Welcome to Folio Weekly! See you hopefully sooner than later!

Commenting on The Specktator’s “Jags Should Be Playing in the Super Toilet Bowl”

Brave New World
I’m not sure I’m really ready for this new big online world of Folio Weekly, but I'm 100 percent sure I’m glad The Specktator is here to make it make sense.
P.S. Jags playas: It would be super if you could take your business where it’s needed. The Town Center has emptied out the businesses of Arlington. Try a nice Arlington restaurant once in a while, huh?

Commenting on The Specktator’s “Jags Should Be Playing in the Super Toilet Bowl”

A Few Points About Downtown
They can’t even build a parking garage for The Landing. How many years has it been?

The majority of citizens won’t cross the river if their lives depended on it.

Most people don’t feel safe because they might run into people different from themselves.

There is no major attraction to draw people downtown unless it involves city business or a trip to the courthouse.

In the age of strip malls, parking kills any desire to go downtown. Most people, if they can’t pull right up to the door, forego the stop altogether.

Are they ever going to finish that apartment building across from the JSO?

Bums scare people.

Every media story about downtown is about how terrible it is.
We are not an urban culture. Never have been, probably never will be.

Commenting on “Do You Identify with Downtown?”

Tide Is Turning for Unreason
In the Jan. 30 Folio Weekly, Jeremy Racicot penned an emotional letter, “Tide is Turning for Gay Rights,” to address one previously written by William H. Shuttleworth. In his letter, Racicot recommends defiance of the Christian God. Throughout, Racicot raised a number of issues but failed to address any of them with any logic or coherent consistency. The most important of which is the question of God's existence, which rises to the forefront and actually becomes the fulcrum of Racicot’s letter. Thus, God’s existence and any response are inextricably linked. Let’s examine further.

First, no reasonable, thinking person believes the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School is anything less than a tragedy. But that opens the discussion about how we know the massacre of innocent children to be a tragedy.

Racicot suggests if the Christian God allowed such a tragedy, that “such a sadistic, sociopathic being is to be defied, not worshiped.” Racicot is mistaken, because his response presupposes the Christian God exists: That is, the eternal, uncreated, creator of the universe and author of all life within; the giver of moral law, the standard by which all things are referenced and defined; the God who created mountains and sunsets; the God who knit into the fabric of our being an affinity for music, landscape, dancing and art; the God who designed the beauty of sex and laughter; the God mighty enough to number the stars and gentle enough to fashion hummingbird wings; the God who created each person with intrinsic worth and value; the God who loves and created us in His image and provides a remedy for the thing the Bible calls sin; the God who is our means to know salvation and our hope for the future; and the only God to claim, I AM. This God’s reality certainly warrants worship, not defiance.

The question of whether God exists is the most important question in life, and must be considered as part of any analysis of Racicot's statement, that such a “being” is to be defied. In essence, Racicot's presupposition of the Christian God's existence says, “OK, the Christian God exists but I don’t understand or like His ways; therefore He is to be defied.” I don’t doubt Racicot's sincerity or very real struggle to comprehend evil in this world, but his proposed response to God is rife with unreason and patently absurd. The Christian God who designed the universe and gave us life, meaning, inherent worth and value might well have reasons for doing things which are beyond our understanding, including allowing tragedy to unfold.

Without God, all things are acceptable, the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary included. Might I also point out that if we are to employ Racicot's recommended response toward God, we would be operating in the same defiant mode as the Sandy Hook shooter.

However, there are a number of good questions which Racicot indirectly and perhaps unintentionally identified that help us consider our response to God. Where did we come from? What is the meaning of life? Where do our objective moral values come from? Where are we ultimately going? Instead of defiance, I offer that there are logical, well-reasoned answers to what posture we should have toward God.

In the genuine pursuit of the answers to these hard questions, I recommend the fantastic authorship and scholarship of Amy Orr-Ewing or William Lane Craig as you work to find reasons for the only appropriate response to God.

Jonathan MacDonald

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