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Letters: Separate languages divide the country

One of the greatest achievements the world has ever seen was the American experiment: From many, one.

People from all over the world came to be free, to live in this wonderful melting pot, to be a part of the American dream. You don't hear about a Russian dream, a Chinese dream or a Spanish dream.

The very differences that immigrants brought to America were assimilated into our culture, and we had a common language to enable us to communicate with each other, to build and grow. Why on Earth would anyone want to break us up by destroying our ability to understand one another?

If we are to sustain the greatness that is America, we must maintain our common language. English is our language, and the rest of the world needs to know English to do business with us.

My dad came from Europe after World War II, after the rest of his family had been brutally slaughtered. He passionately loved this country. He learned to speak English, and he made sure that we kids would speak it as well. You do no service to English learners by mandating bilingual education ["Bilingual boost: Regents set to require districts to give more help to non-English-speaking students," News, Sept. 16]. You only degrade our wonderful culture.

Larry Mogen, Dix Hills

What happened to the patriotism of being an American? When many of our parents and grandparents came to this country, learning English was one of their primary goals in order to earn a living. The adults went to night school, and the children learned English in school, from friends and listening to the radio. There was no free lunch.

Why bother to work harder when things are made so much easier? Why even work when there are so many free choices?

School taxes are constantly rising because more teachers are needed to accommodate the growing population of non-English-speaking students. Next, Regents exams might be given in Spanish as well as English. I hope not.

Are we so manipulated by political agendas and political correctness that we are losing sight of the fact that we have one national language -- English?

Pat King, Merrick

Hicksville church welcomes diversity

I read with interest Bishop Robert Alan Rimbo's comments in "When church stops being a safe haven" [Opinion, Sept. 15]. I could not agree more with the bishop's opinion and the assessment of his Lutheran synod, prompted by the outcry over illegal immigration.

When I joined Hicksville United Methodist Church in 1988, it was predominantly a Caucasian church. Because of forward-thinking pastors and a welcoming congregation, we have become a diverse church, reflecting the demographics and needs of the community.

We have a black, female, Caribbean-American pastor, and our ministerial staff includes Indian and Japanese assistants. We share space with a growing Korean congregation and have services in the Indian languages of Telugu, Tamil and Hindi, along with English and Korean.

Several Alcoholics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous groups meet in the church, and we have housed Sandy volunteers from around the nation in the last two years. We recently started a regional immigration ministry and will sponsor a "know your rights" workshop at St. Ignatius Loyola Roman Catholic Church later this month.

Our congregation has experienced the vitality that diversity has brought to our church, and we want to keep it relevant to our community.

Rae Schopp, Westbury

Editor's note: The writer is chairwoman of the Pastor Parish Relations Committee of the Hicksville United Methodist Church.

Poor choice to describe adoptees

I was dismayed that the news story "Double stabbing" [Sept. 13] reported that the family involved "had nine children of their own and had adopted other children over the years."

As the mother of a child who was adopted, I can assure you he is my own child. As a psychologist who specializes in helping families formed through adoption, I know that some children wonder how much they truly belong in their families.

Newsday does not help by perpetuating the stereotype that children who were adopted are somehow less than full members of their families.

Eva M. Ash, South Huntington

Brookhaven mandate is nanny statism

Brookhaven Town is an example of the nanny state meets big brother -- a horror movie ["Town mandates home monoxide detectors," News, Sept. 10]!

So the smoke detectors in all my bedrooms, plus the combination smoke-carbon dioxide detectors on all levels of my house, are not good enough? Now if my town, Oyster Bay, goes nuts, too, I'll have to spend $150 for a digital carbon monoxide detector?

Where does it stop? How about radon detectors? The food in my refrigerator may kill me, too. Dust! Molds can be deadly!

Health is a personal responsibility. Government encroachment on our personal lives is the worst crime we can allow.

Jo-Ann Nowodzinski, Jericho

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