Wow: Crazy Teacher Accused of Branding Students

April 23rd, 2008
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These are only accusations and honestly I hope that they turn out not to be true:

An Ohio 8th grade science teacher has had conflicts with the local public school over religion in the class room. John Freshwater apparently had been doing some bible thumping in science class, teaching the ten commandments, demanding repentance of his students and so on. The school, of course, had to ask him to tone it down and ordered Mr. Freshwater to remove the ten commandments from his classroom. Later he was ordered to remove a bible from his desk, which he alleged violated his first amendment rights, implying that the book was for his own personal use outside of class hours.

An investigation was launched into Freshwater’s behavior in the class room and the allegations got much worse. Students have come forward alleging that Freshwater had burned a cross into their arms using an “electrostatic device” which was apparently some kind of heat-based cutting tool used by the class. Apparently this occurred during some of his “healing” and purification rituals which he was known to have held.

One source states:

According to a parent complaint, John Freshwater used an electrostatic device to burn crosses onto students’ arms. One of the students said the pain was so severe it prevented him from sleeping at night.

“The cross-burning happened during an eighth-grade science class,” Attorney Jessica Philemon told 10TV. “It happened with a science machine that uses an electric shock to cause a burn, and the teacher chose to burn a cross onto John Doe’s forearm.”
Philemon said parents complained to the district after the alleged incident in December 2007.

Given that the accusations are so serious, not simply the preaching in class, which is apparently not being contested but the disfigurement of students by burning, a practice which hearkens to the dark ages as a manner of atonement for perceived sins, one would think that a full investigation would be universally supported. Multiple parties have complained about the incident and others related and nobody is denying that Freshwater was a very outspoken and driven preacher in his classroom. However, Coach Dave Daubenmore, leader of Pass the Salt Ministries, the religious group Freshwater is part of, has demanded that the investigation be ended immediately.

To me, this is highly disturbing, because I know if I were accused of something like this which I was innocent of, I would want nothing more than to have a full investigation with the evidence allowed to speak for itself. The fact that it has taken so long for the full investigation to become public and the fact that Freshwater has been allowed to continue to teach, even after the claims of harming his students physically, seems to be based at least partially on strong support Freshwater has been receiving in the community, a predominantly conservative Christian area of Ohio.

Believe it or not, the recent rally which occurred in front of the school was in support of Freshwater and demanded an end to the investigation. It is not the first of such rallies for Freshwater, either. The local NBC affiliate has stated:

In an act of encouragement, students brought Bibles and wore homemade T-shirts to school, supporting Freshwater. A rally was also held to support him early last week.

While the investigation continues, Freshwater will be allowed to continue to teach, although a monitor will be observing his classes and interactions with student at all times. This has been called a violation of his rights and an act of “character assassination” by many of Freshwater’s supporters.

Honestly, this kind of thing scares me. It’s amazing what a group of angry and ignorant villagers with torches can do.

And no, I’m not implying that *all* Christians or religious people are like this, but the support that one can get by thumping the bible and (allegedly) searing the flesh of school kids is disturbing.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 at 3:00 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Education, religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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74 Responses to “Wow: Crazy Teacher Accused of Branding Students”

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  1. 51
    Psychodiva Says:

            bleh said:

    Why is it that Americans (it´s obvious because I don´t know of any other kind of country that has only left or right to vote) love to label each other. For you guys it´s only left or right, up or down, bible thumper or baby eater, black or white. Never in the world would anyone come to the conclusion that you can be Atheist and against abortion, or Religious and for Abortion for example. It´s possible, I swear. normally humans are very deep. But you think “tell me the political orientation of someone and I know what kind of cereal he/she prefers”.
    You folks are so brainwashed by your competitive livestyle and Government that you just can´t be rational about anything anymore. As long as you people divide each other you will never step forward, but spinning in circles.

    Exactly how I feel whenever I see an argument by the two USA sides – It does get boring and repetetive as well – they need to start thinking outside the box ans seeing things grey rather than black or white- see a little nuance in things and stop assuming that just because the North Americans believe something or think of something a certain way then the rest of the world should too


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  2. 52
    Psychodiva Says:

    oo sorry- and more to the point here- when this sort of thing happens in the UK the teacher is not allowed to continue teaching until the investigation has been completed- why is this guy allowed to continue?


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  3. 53
    Finrod Says:

    The controversy on this thread seemed to die down suspiciously quickly. I wonder if the youngsters who posted in favour of Freshwater ceased because they were all ordered not to view this site anymore?

    Just a bit of idle speculation…


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  4. 54
    DV82XL Says:

            Finrod said:

    The controversy on this thread seemed to die down suspiciously quickly. I wonder if the youngsters who posted in favour of Freshwater ceased because they were all ordered not to view this site anymore?

    Just a bit of idle speculation…

    But of course – they’ve all contaminated themselves as witnesses, both in the investigation and any subsequent court actions in this matter. Bet someone got a gag order put on them for that reason.


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  5. 55
    Chaos Charlie Says:

            nate said:

    instead of getting your facts of a 100% liberal news channal i.e. FOX, abc, nbc, so on

    i love how this guy lists FOX news as a liberal news outlet, when you say **** like that you loose all credibility

            Devoted said:

    I think it should be illegal to deny Christ.

    so i supose your pro Nazi right? cause they were all over persecuting people who denied crist. theres millions of dead jews to prove it.

    long live Cthulhu. lol


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  6. 56
    Wisdom Seeker Says:

    Hello all.
    I’ve taken the time to read through the article and all the opinions published here.

    First of all I’d like to tell you a true story from my own life, which I remembered, while
    reading. During a period in my childhood I attended a christian school. It wasn’t really my choice,
    but anyway it happened. The teacher/preacher there was really a radical/enthusiastic/dedicated
    christian type. In fact his influence was pretty strong and one day I was even persuaded under
    his influence to “trust Jesus”. After that happened, one girl in our class suddenly started telling
    people that I said that “I would rape her and rip her clothes off”. I never even thought anything
    like that, much less dared to pronounce such words. However the principal heard it as did my parents.
    To this day I ponder why that girl said those things.

    Anyway now I don’t consider myself a christian perse. I never did really figure out what one of those
    really was. One day I finally had enough of churches and arguments and feeling guilty and
    all that stuff. So I figured – if God exists, He certainly has to be above all this madness and
    certainly wouldn’t approve of me living in fear and confusion, all caused by church people.
    So I asked God – If you really exist, please show me another way. I don’t like all this church
    stuff. I don’t like christians. I don’t like the Bible. I figured if there was a God and if He
    was powerful, He could show me another way. If there wasn’t a God, well, I wasn’t losing anything.

    Now I do have reason to believe in God. But that’s me. I’m not saying that everyone else has to
    as well. I also believe in intelligence. I believe that without a strong and critical mind, I would
    be much worse off. I also teach others to improve their minds and their thinking. If God is intelligent,
    I can only learn to understand Him better that way, with a clear and developed mind.

    God isn’t the church. God isn’t religion. For those who want to know the truth (truth, by the way,
    is endless and depends on what you want to know about) should just focus on certain questions – What, if anything is God really? How could I even know if God exists? How could I know what or who God really is? Those who love truth keep learning all of their lives. It’s wise to speak about truth concerning this or that. There are facts and essences of things. There is reality behind this or that word. When we are ready,
    we discover a little truth or reality. If we learn some truth about something (even religion) that doesn’t
    necessarily mean that we are owners of “THE TRUTH”. It just means that we have learned something
    important.

    I say let’s learn to speak less and listen more.


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  7. 57
    Batzilla Says:

    this is absurd. this man is accused of BURNING STUDENTS!!! regardless of his religious beliefs, that is not okay. the fact that i felt the need to bring that up in this whole thing just points out how horrifying this whole thing is. it doesnt matter if the man is christian, muslim, scientologist, or anything else, hell even buddhist!!! if the allegations are false, then an apology should be made, thats what happens. this man is no martyr and people have gone through much worse on false accusations. if it is true, then he should be in jail, and for a very long time. the school should really do better psychological evaluations of their employees.

    this investigation is neccessary, and the outcome is important. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION!!!l


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  8. 58
    the admiral Says:

            Devoted said:

    How is that not left? That’s completely secular and opposed to Jesus and his message even if you call yourself a conservative or say you are for good things and morality and living well then you’re not because you clearly deny the Truth which will always set you free.

    We know what Jesus said and he is coming back so if there is any doubt by anyone it will all be cleared on his return. Christ belongs in school because he belongs everywhere and we should never forget him.

    He needs to be taught about in all schools so that the children can learn the Truth and the Good News and be saved.

    I think it should be illegal to deny Christ.

    The Supreme Court is full of left people like you which is why they have tried to stop it. If you are not devoted to Jesus then you work for the devil and they do and so do you!

    Everyone knows it!

    Read up on the early church. Sure, people back then believed that Jesus of Nazareth would return to earth, in the flesh, and would liberate them. but even John the apostle believed it would be by then end of his life, not thousands of years later.

    and as far as being illegal to deny Jesus as Christ: it would be very possible to make the argument that everyone should deny Jesus as Christ. After all, the history of the Church is one of, if not the most blood stained tale around. More people have been murdered for no other reason than to force people to pray to the “King of Kings”. Some of the most sadistic and tyrannical leaders of history have been Popes.

    If the man called Christ really did come from heaven and damn people to eternal hell, the deepest pits there would be quickly filled by the fear-mongering dooms-dayers and the hate mongering hypocrites.

    You say I’ll go to hell. I say having your opinions and outlooks would be more spiritual bondage and torment than my hell ever could be.


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  9. 59
    Liz Says:

            nate said:

    ok i do have my facts straight, he didnt brand anyone the student is an atheist i know him personally and i never saw anything on his arm that even remotely resembled a cross. and it wasnt more than one student that said that. it was one single student, and mr.freshwater never branded anyone.just shut the f*** up! all of you bloggers out there need to pull your head out of your butt and get all of your facts stright, instead of getting your facts of a 100% liberal news channal i.e. FOX, abc, nbc, so on

    Are you sure you know the kid? I think you’re just pulling somethin’ outta your ass to put online. Did he wear sleeveless shirts? Teacherman might’ve burned the kid on the upper arm.

    Anyways…there are a lot of teachers out there (well maybe not a lot, but enough to piss me off all through my middle and high school years in the south) who’ll push their religion on students. Lucky for me, my 8th grade science teacher was…not quite…atheist…it had something to do with numbers.

    Whatever. My art teacher in 9th grade told me (and my older brother who was a year ahead of me) that we were going to go to hell because we had “satanic” symbols on our jewelry. And yet I was his best student with the highest grade average. I just looked different, and wore a pentagram ring as well as the ring my boyfriend gave me with the seven planetary symbols (my brother has assloads of piercings everywhere). He forbade me to draw a pentagram on my final portfolio cover, but I did it anyways, and it brought my grade down. I left the class a couple of times because of it. He preached to us constantly in the class, but nobody complained. He was a nutcase and did way too much acid in the 70′s, but he never burned anyone.

    In defense of the teacher, some students are just that ****in’ spiteful.

    Still, I agree with a lot of people here, until the cops/whoever get to the bottom of the investigation, he should not be allowed to teach. Damn, people are stupid. Particularly bible-humping (I prefer that term to bible-thumping ^^) maniacs who try to preach in their classrooms.


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  10. 60
    george Says:

    Local paper has assuances from parents attorney that photos do exist of the cross burned into student’s arm


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  11. 61
    reasonable Says:

    i would like to apologize to all of those who have had such interactions with those people who are calling themselves “Christians”. i am a firm believer in Christ and i stand firm against what most of those people are saying. i don’t think it should be illegal for people to deny Christ because i believe God wants us to choose to follow Him. i don’t think that teacher should be preaching in the classroom because it’s against the laws that have been set before him and the Bible talks specifically about obeying law authorities. but i also don’t agree with the people who say “live and let live”. i will tell you my beliefs but will in no way force them on you. if nothing else you’ve learned a little more about the people you live around whether you think i’m crazy for believing what i believe in or if it all makes sense to you. Christ came to this earth to fulfill his Father’s plan and to be an atoning sacrifice for all our sins. i don’t believe on any level i’m wrong but you have every right to believe that i am. i hope every day that i don’t come across as one of the Christians that so many of you have come in contact with that have given such a bad name to Christianity. i think the closest thing that to this that comes to mind is the view many people around me have towards black people. i live in an area that was at one time heavily populated by white people and has now become a place where white people are an extreme minority. there are a lot of stupid black people that give the race a bad name when i know plenty of black folks who are great people. so i hope you meet some good Christians who know why they worship the one they say they worship and quit running into all these folks who are talking out of their rear end. i will not be banned from looking at this sight from any one so keep posting and i’ll keep responding.

    ~a reasonable mind

    oh yeah . . . if any Christian claims to know it all he/she clearly has a lot to left to learn. God is to vast and complex to even attempt to comprehend in this lifetime.


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  12. 62
    Ashareem Says:

            nate said:

    . . . get all of your facts stright, instead of getting your facts of a 100% liberal news channal i.e. FOX, abc, nbc, so on

    Now that’s a Fair and Balanced statement if ever there was one…


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  13. 63
    Wisdom Seeker Says:

    reasonable wrote:

    “so i hope you meet some good Christians who know why they worship the one they say they worship and quit running into all these folks who are talking out of their rear end. i will not be banned from looking at this sight from any one so keep posting and i’ll keep responding.”

    So why do you worship the one you worship?


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  14. 64
    reasonable Says:

    first i’d like to correct my typo: “sight” should be “site” . . .

    now to answer the question. i worship the One i worship because He deserves to be worshiped. I believe that He created this entire universe and everything in it that is good. i believe He created all of man kind, including you and i. i don’t know about you, but i’m going to worship someone who is that powerful. then after all of the thousands of years of the people He created disobeyed Him and often showed hatred toward Him, He sent His son to die on the cross for them/us/those who haven’t even been born yet. THEN after Christ lived a perfect life and proceeded to take the sins of the world on the cross, He rose from the grave 3 days later. i don’t understand how anyone is not amazed by that. i don’t know about you, but when this world is over i’d like to be on that Guy’s side. He’s done some pretty amazing things and He is still doing some amazing things, and there are still amazing things yet to come. i worship the one i worship because He is great and glorious, because He is omnipotent and omnipresent, because i like the fact that i can’t understand everything about Him, but most of all because He loves me and the Bible tells me so.


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  15. 65
    Corn Bread Says:

    CHRISTIANITY – The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree… Yeah, that makes PERFECT sense.

    Religion is ridiculous.


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  16. 66
    reasonable Says:

    i’d like to say that you’re being ridiculous . . . but in not so many words, you got it spot on . . . the human race does a lot of ridiculous things . . . at least the ridiculous thing i take part in brings me eternal life in paradise . . . and by the way Christianity at perfection is not a religion, it is a lifestyle


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  17. 67
    Wisdom Seeker Says:

    Corn Bread wrote:

    “CHRISTIANITY – The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree… Yeah, that makes PERFECT sense.”

    Actually until one has actually studied something with a sound, analytical mind and actually tried something, it’s not really right to form one’s own opinion about it. That goes for world religions too. The sad thing is that when it comes to this or that religion, people don’t take the time to really study it and see what it’s really all about at the core. I find this true about eastern religions and about christianity too. In fact the biggest cause of conflict and misery in our world as I see it is total misunderstanding and ignorance, Misunderstanding and ignorance come from people, who don’t know how to get to the core of this or that subject, religion, etc. Christianity is actually spoiled by people, who call themselves christians, as we can even see in this blog. The article here about Mr. Freshwater is just another example of stupidity by someone, who calls himself a christian. When one gets to the core of something, say christianity, one finds that it has nothing at all to do with the ten commandments. The ten commandments are actually a part of judaism, not christianity.

    I do find that the longer I live in this world, I do actually see more and more “evil” per se in people. I see more and more that people need to learn to love others and forgive them. That, again, would be a core belief of christianity.

    As far as the garden of eden story, that was written by people way before anyone even imagined christianity. I’m sure that that story has much more to do with symbolism and mystery, that anything literal. Christians too, need to work on their critical thinking skills and it wouldn’t hurt if they opened an ear to people from other religions and ways of life once in a while. If they really believe in God, they should allow God to teach them in different ways.


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  18. 68
    DV82XL Says:

            Wisdom Seeker said:

    Christians too, need to work on their critical thinking skills and it wouldn’t hurt if they opened an ear to people from other religions and ways of life once in a while. If they really believe in God, they should allow God to teach them in different ways.

    The reason you don’t see much of this happening is that a person develops the skill of critical thinking, all religious belief comes under question.

    Christianity demands the worship of Christ crucified, that is to recognize that it is through this blood sacrifice that salvation is effected. To believe this it is necessary to believe that you are tainted with original sin, thus it’s impossible to ignore the roots of this faith in all its bloody and illogical whole.

    If you choose to worship an uncrucified Christ, then the message is no different than many other philosophies – in fact it is rather simplistic and incomplete.

    That’s why logic and religion have always had a strained relation – in the end they’re not really compatible.


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  19. 69
    Emily Says:

    Anyway now I don’t consider myself a christian perse. I never did really figure out what one of those
    really was. One day I finally had enough of churches and arguments and feeling guilty and
    all that stuff.


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  20. 70
    alb4 Says:

            reasonable said:

    i’d like to say that you’re being ridiculous . . . but in not so many words, you got it spot on . . . the human race does a lot of ridiculous things . . . at least the ridiculous thing i take part in brings me eternal life in paradise . . . and by the way Christianity at perfection is not a religion, it is a lifestyle

    I totally agree, especially with the last part. Christianity isn’t about doing what’s right and not doing what’s wrong, it’s about living for God, loving people, and forgiveness. By loving God and building a relationship with Him, you become more like him. By becoming more like him you start to live like Him, and that’s where all the rules of right and wrong come into place. The “christians” who try to be perfect WITHOUT God and through their own work end up becoming bitter, crazy people, such as the king of Spain during the Inquisition. Now, I’m not saying Christians are perfect, because we’re not. The difference between us and everyone else is that we have the Creator of the universe by our side helping us live each day in this complex world we live in.


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  21. 71
    DV82XL Says:

            alb4 said:

    Now, I’m not saying Christians are perfect, because we’re not. The difference between us and everyone else is that we have the Creator of the universe by our side helping us live each day in this complex world we live in.

    What breathtaking hubris! You have deluded yourself into believing that the whole universe exists for you. The arrogance of such a stand can only come through ignorance of just how small and meaningless this world is in the vastness space and time. Worse you base this viewpoint on the ravings of the madmen of a minor desert peoples that were the doormats of the ancient world – constantly being invaded, or driven into slavery – that salved their pride by making themselves out to be a ‘chosen people.’ This would be funny if it wasn’t the same thing that abandoned kids do when they fantasize about powerful parents that cannot openly acknowledge them, but are still helping them in secret.

    Grow up and face the truth; it’s pathetic for adults to have invisible friends.


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  22. 72
    BleedingHeartVegHead Says:

            bleh said:

    Why is it that Americans (it´s obvious because I don´t know of any other kind of country that has only left or right to vote) love to label each other. For you guys it´s only left or right, up or down, bible thumper or baby eater, black or white. Never in the world would anyone come to the conclusion that you can be Atheist and against abortion, or Religious and for Abortion for example. It´s possible, I swear. normally humans are very deep. But you think “tell me the political orientation of someone and I know what kind of cereal he/she prefers”.
    You folks are so brainwashed by your competitive livestyle and Government that you just can´t be rational about anything anymore. As long as you people divide each other you will never step forward, but spinning in circles.

    Oh oh. Here we go. But you’re really no different from us then…apparently we Americans like to label everything, just as you have labeled Americans as wanting to label everything. So you must be an American yourself, because you’re labeling us, like we Americans like to label everything. Please…get off your European (I assume) high horse and get educated.

    It’s obvious you’ve never taken the time to have a real conversation with any American. You just watch your tele and see what all those “News” channels have to say and take your conclusions from there.

    Your whole comment was rather ridiculous. You’re basing it on a complete stereotype, and that is just as ignorant as saying you can’t be religious while also believing in abortion.

    The fact is, the majority of Americans dont really care for the two-way party system either…its just what is glorified in the media…And many, many Americans (or PEOPLE as I like to refer to them) ARE very deep and DON’T label everything as either “black or white.”

    To my real comment: This teacher should absolutely be fired. I think all teachers should be NEUTRAL while they are in the classroom…after school is out and the students have gone home, they can believe whatever it is they want.

    But school is supposed to be place where you are EDUCATED…not brainwashed or manipulated…and our kids deserve to hear from both sides of the spectrum so they can come to a conclusion all on their own, without missing any information.

    There IS a place for God and religion: and its called CHURCH.


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  23. 73
    BleedingHeartVegHead Says:

            Psychodiva said:

    Exactly how I feel whenever I see an argument by the two USA sides – It does get boring and repetetive as well – they need to start thinking outside the box ans seeing things grey rather than black or white- see a little nuance in things and stop assuming that just because the North Americans believe something or think of something a certain way then the rest of the world should too

    Again, you must be another one of those Euro-trash idiots who only knows about the US via Television. And if you had an ounce (or shall I say pint…liter?) of intelligence, you wouldn’t believe it.

    If you all think America is such a stupid place, then why would you even bother taking time to “see an argument by the two USA sides” or even commenting on a story that happened within the US?

    America DOES NOT …repeated once more for the idiots…DOES NOT…see everything black and white… YOU…yes YOU…just see what is portrayed by the media. And they’ve got you exactly where they want you, because you are stupid enough to buy into their lies and claims.

    I think it’s really sad that many people outside of America try to put ALL Americans into this one category. You’re very ignorant in your beliefs.

    If you’ve ever been to America, or taken the time to discuss something of substance with someone who is in America, you might be surprised to learn that not everyone in America is either liberal or conservative, Atheist or Christian.

    Its why we’re often referred to as the “melting pot” of the world…because the ARE so many different cultures, ideas, beliefs in this place.

    Please, GET EDUCATED! For your own sake…Please do it.

    Intelligent people know that there are definitely more than “two sides” to America.


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  24. 74
    DV82XL Says:

    I think it’s funny how people from a place that still echoes with the sound of jack-boots crunching in the streets, and the screams of the victims of death-camps, who had to call on the Americans to save them from themselves, can take such an narrow view of that country to-day.


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