Opinion: Troy Mayor is 'Encroaching on our 1st Amendment Rights'
"Everyone needs to put themselves in the shoes of the the religious minorities of Troy ... and realize that this is unacceptable behavior for an elected official," writes Troy resident S.L. Gross.
The following letter was originally submitted to Troy Mayor Janice Daniels and Troy City Council. It is being republished as a letter to the editor per the author's request.
Dear Mayor and Council Members,
The Mayor has what looks to me like an officially sanctioned Web, Facebook page and Twitter account. And on her personal web page, she promoted an event to introduce Christian teachings to non-Christians.
As a non-Christian, I take offense to this. It is not my mayor's job to tell me that I am of the wrong religion and that I must convert to hers. I have heard from some East Asian Troy neighbors that Westerners came to their countries, even in the recent past, to forcibly convert the people to Christianity. Now the East Asians have come to Troy and their Mayor is telling them they aren't the right religion.
Christianity is a beautiful religion. Some of my favorite people practice Christianity. That isn't the issue. The issue is that her personal page looks to me like an official page and it is promoting one specific religion and promoted that Whose Your Neighbor event held by a couple who, if you read their website, want to convert non-Christians to Christianity. If the mayor want to partake in this behavior, more power to her, BUT, take the government titles off of her website, and Twitter and Facebook accounts.
This town is multicultural and multi-religious, and we should be allowed to practice our own religion and partake in our own culture. I believe that the mayor is encroaching on our First Amendment rights.
Mayor, put yourself in the shoes of a non-Christian. Go to the local synagogue. Go to the local Hindu temple. Meet the people. We are just like everyone else.
Mayor, tell me, is it right for Christians to tell non-Christians that they are going to burn in hell? Because that has happened to me. Religious bigots have also told me they wanted me to die or go back to where I came from because they were so against my religion. So, do you still think trying to push your ideology on other people is ok?
The children of this city will see that the Mayor promotes her faith over all others. Is that fair for religious minorities? Troy's religious minorities ARE NOT second class citizens. And if you push your religious ideology, you will cause a great rift in this community. You will lose citizens. Cultural, racial, sexual and religious minorities have the same rights as everyone else. Troy is not just for white, straight, Christian people!
I would ask that any evidence (wording and photos) that makes the mayor's web site, Facebook page and twitter account look like an officially sanctioned Troy Mayoral/governmental account be deleted from the accounts and that no personal ideology or philosophy be allowed on the mayor or council members' official Troy biographies.
I would also ask that a public relations person write the Mayor’s State of the City address because it needs to be free of religious ideology. One’s religion is personal. If she want to preach the gospel, she should become a preacher.
Everyone needs to put themselves in the shoes of the the religious minorities of Troy – Hindus, Jews, Sikhs, Muslims, and Buddhists and more, as well as those who practice no religion – and realize that this is unacceptable behavior for an elected official.
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