Madison County Opinion...

 September 19, 2001

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
September 19, 2001

Frankly Speaking

They have to be carefully taught
Hatred is not natural to the human race. It has to be taught.
How can someone so hate the United States of America enough to destroy themselves along with thousands of other innocent men, women and children? They have to be carefully taught. When we have American citizens who hate people of other races, they were carefully taught.
When people of one religion in Northern Ireland hate another religion so strongly that they attack school children, they were carefully taught.
When millions of Africans die when one tribe attacks and kills another tribe, they were carefully taught.
Consider this: darkness can only exist in the absence of light. There are no "dark" bulbs. Cold is the absence of heat. We cannot build a cold fire. Evil can only exist in the absence of good. Weakness can only exist in the absence of strength.
In the same sense, hatred can only exist in the absence of love. Love comes from God. Therefore anyone who is filled with hate cannot be of God.
Have you ever seen a small child display hatred? They do not have the capacity to hate. They will display hatred only after they have been taught to do so.
That is the way it is with the terrorists who struck America on Sept. 11. They have been taught from childhood to hate Western culture, especially America and Israel. Why? They hate us because Western culture does not agree with their dictatorial religious and political beliefs. These people hate people who are free to think for themselves.
They hate those of us who approach God in our own unique manner.
Here is my fear. Those who hate are fed by more hate. If we respond to the attack with hatred of our own, they are justified. That is why Jesus taught us to love our enemies. That does not mean we ignore the haters.
We must defend ourselves. We have an obligation to seek out and eliminate terrorism wherever we find it. But we must do so with sadness.
We must pray for those we seek even as we take necessary action to eliminate them. We must act to defend ourselves from attack, but we must not act simply for "revenge."
Finding and stopping the terrorists is not enough. While we attack the assailants, we must also seek out and silence their teachers.
Hatred has to be carefully taught. We will never end terrorism based on hatred until we find and stop the teachers of hate. This will be a long war!
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at His email address is

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By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
September 19, 2001

A Moment With Margie

Who are we, really?
By the time most of you read this, you'll probably already have read many, many editorials about the events of Tuesday, Sept. 11.
Most of the ones I have read have been about how the country should respond, how we can help others, about how acts of terrorism made the writer feel, or how life will likely be from here on out.
While I've talked about, felt, and experienced many of the same thoughts and feelings expressed in those editorials - I've also been looking in the mirror a lot.
I see a change in my expression, and in my eyes. I feel different in my skin, my very bones, and in my heart.
I've been asking myself hard questions, like "Who am I and what do I believe, really?" "When 'push comes to shove' what kind of decisions will I make?" and most importantly, "How will I live my life from now on?"
Times of crisis, it has been said, are times when we begin to know ourselves.
Life is fragile - but it was fragile before last Tuesday.
It's true we've grown complacent in many ways. We didn't know how good we had it. Many of us have felt the need to look no further than the end of our own driveways for a barometer of the state of our "world."
But the danger has always been there, only now the things we've read about and heard about in other parts of the world are here, in fact have been here for some time and will most likely be here from now on.
There's no new evil - only new and inventive ways to accomplish hateful acts.
But you know, many of the things we fear most are things we can do little or nothing about, at least directly.
The only real thing we can control is our own spirit. We can get our thoughts in order and we can decide how we will be - and with what demeanor we will face the days ahead.
That is God's greatest gift to us, besides His saving grace - our free will.
Free will to do good or to do evil - that's our choice. Free will to love or to hate - that's our choice too.
I've heard a lot of talk about feelings of "outrage" this past week. But I venture to think the overruling feeling for most of us has been terrible, terrible sadness. Not just for the victims and their families, or for our country, but for all mankind.
A friend told me the other day that his feelings on the matter were fairly simple - besides great sadness, he felt grateful, so grateful, for the life we have here in our community.
I have to agree. Small town life never seemed more precious than in the last few days.
But now even we must begin to face the reality most of the world has known for some time - that all of us are vulnerable, no matter where we live or who we are, and we really always have been.
There's little talk these days of being Southerner or Yankee, black or white, Baptist or Catholic. When it comes down to it, we're all Americans. I hope we remember this when encountering our fellow Arab Americans as well.
But now that our vulnerability as a people has been proven to us by the events of last week, how will we live?
Who are we, really?
That's the big question, in my opinion.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal.
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