Editor's note: The following letters all address stories about Fort Mill Mayor Danny Funderburk forwarding a chain e-mail that claims to prove presidential candidate Barack Obama is the Antichrist. One of those stories was published on our Web site on Sept. 29 and another appeared in the Oct. 1 edition of the Fort Mill Times. The letters below are grouped by writers condemning Funderburk and those who wrote in his defense.
Mayor Funderburk blundered in e-mail
All of these letters were sent by e-mail. Some, however, are not included because the writer's identity could not be verified. Others were not included because they contained language we do not consider appropriate for a family newspaper.
Danny Funderburk is an embarrassment to the citizens of Fort Mill and in fact, all citizens. Either he is totally tone deaf, or worse, a racist and a bigot who has no place holding public office.
With the Internet, it only takes a few key strokes to check facts on most subjects, and the fact that he did not do so in this instance shows his lack of judgment and character. If he has any character and decency, he should do the right thing and resign from his position and let someone who is better qualified take over as mayor of Fort Mill.
Doe Ridge Lane
First, I do appreciate your running the story on your page titled "Mayor's
Obama e-mail causes furor." Second, I for one am very disappointed and outraged that the myor of Fort Mill would not check his sources before passing along such a chain e-mail.
Does Funderburk not understand the facts of history? The Book of Revelation was written by St. John the Divine around the year 96 C.E., while Muhammed did not die until 632 C.E. And Islam did not become a religion until years after Muhammed's death. That's well over 500 years later. What version of the Bible does Funderburk read? There are no credible translations of the Book of Revelation that I know of that mention the word "Muslim," nor such an interpretation.
These lies about Barack Obama have been on blogs and e-mails for some time, but that does not make them true. I fear that these lies are racism wrapped in religious terms. If Funderburk does no more investigation about information than he's done in this matter, what does that say about his judgment in other matters that effect Fort Mill and York County?
The Rev. Dr. Sam L. Slack,
Legend Oaks Court
Saying that he was "just curious" about the possibility of Barack Obama being the Antichrist, Mayor Danny Funderburk forwarded a chain e-mail that suggested as much. In defending his actions, Mayor Funderburk said, "I was just curious if there was any validity to it." The mayor also said, "I was trying to get documentation if there was any scripture to back it up."
Is he serious? Even worse, Mayor Funderburk's idea of performing research in an effort to find biblical scripture to "back it up" is to forward on a chain e-mail that was debunked several months ago. The supposed biblical scripture that his e-mail was referring to doesn't even exist!
Here's a suggestion for the mayor: If you're going be a Bible thumper, at least read the book! Oh yeah, forwarding a chain e-mail is not considered a valid method for getting documentation to back up a vacuous claim.
What an embarrassment.
It's a real shame that someone we should have respect for seems pretty small-minded (if we judge him from his actions).
I really hope he can rethink his skewed ideas on religion and how an elected official should conduct himself. Or maybe his constituents can help him out.
With all the intelligent and well-educated people in Fort Mill, how did the town end up with the likes of the current mayor? His e-mail was wrong and scandalous, though not libelous in the legal sense. The people of Fort Mill certainly deserve better than this so-called leader.
Just when you think you've seen it all, along comes Mayor Funderburk.
Mayor Funderburk's active participation in sending our vile hate filled e-mails about the first African American and Democratic Party presidential nominee is beyond contempt. As the elected leader of Fort Mill's town government, he should be raising the bar high, not rolling in the gutter. His actions call into serious question his judgment, character and fitness for public office.
He says in the Fort Mill Times article that he was "curious." As the Times pointed out, it takes about five seconds for anyone with the slightest amount of intellectual capacity to find out what Funderburk was spreading is complete and utter nonsense. Additionally, to make matters even worse, Funderburk further states, "I know how ingrained my faith is." Yet he totally misquotes the Good Book of his faith. Here's one for the Mayor: "Thou shalt not bear false witness."
What business, civic, social or cultural organization(s) would have anything to do with Fort Mill when our mayor in engaged in such repugnant, religiously-bigoted, racist and hateful activities? Well, maybe the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nation or skinheads would.
In my opinion, Mayor Funderburk has proven himself both unfit for public office and a major embarrassment to all the good people of Fort Mill. It is time for him to resign so Fort Mill can move forward and live up to its motto as a progressive place to live.
James D. Thompson
Put facts in order
I had read a previous article about Danny Funderburk's unacceptable behavior regarding the chain e-mail incorrectly suggesting Barack Obama is the Antichrist and a Muslim, so I was pleased to see the article on your front page, above the fold. However, imagine my surprise when I read Jonathan Allen's article and rather than being told this was a vicious rumor perpetuated by a city official that should be removed from office, I was led to believe Obama had indeed attended a Wahabbi Muslim school and was even provided with details about Wahabbi Muslim's beliefs, and it was not until I reached the seventh paragraph that I finally learned the story has been debunked by several responsible news media.
Had I not had prior knowledge that this rumor was false and had only read the lead of Allen's article, I would have been badly misinformed.
As a graduate of the University of Missouri's School of Journalism, I was taught to write news stories in what we call the "inverted pyramid" style where you begin with the most important information: Funderburk knowingly passed along a chain e-mail with incorrect information suggesting Barack Obama is a Muslim and the Antichrist. This lead is followed by less important background information: Funderburk's lame rationalization for why he forwarded the e-mail and information regarding the Wahhabi beliefs.
Allen would do well to keep this in mind when writing future news stories. He might also check his biblical facts before referring to the Bible. The Book of Revelation is singular, not plural.
Criticism of Mayor Funderburk was unfair
God Bless Mayor Funderburk! First of all, that's pretty shady that his personal e-mail got exposed like that. Is there no privacy anymore? Furthermore, this is still America, right? I hear we have the right to free speech, or am I just making that up? People's opinions and ideas are what makes this country so great!
Nations Commons Street
I find it absolutely ridiculous that the Fort Mill Times decided to run a story about Mayor Funderburk sending e-mails to family and friends on the front page of its Oct. 1 edition.
If I recall correctly, freedom of speech is still a freedom that we enjoy in this country and it is a freedom to which even elected officials are entitled.
Since Mayor Funderburk was not using his office or representing the town to promote a particular view, there is absolutely no foundation for any of the "furor" the Fort Mill Times portrayed. I wonder if Jonathan Allen and the editor would also run a front-page story if they found out the mayor had a good laugh watching the stupid portrayal of Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live"? The answer is probably not!
I am willing to bet that just like the majority of the mainstream media, the Fort Mill Times has a strong leaning to the left while trying to maintain an illusion of impartiality. This is obvious from the article because most of the writing was an effort to bolster the premise that Obama is not a Muslim and how that is only a myth that media outlets have supposedly debunked. Above all, I think the article was just an effort to put the name Obama in front of gullible potential voters and at the same time discredit Mayor Funderburk.
Wow, a two-for-one deal! But no thank you!
This letter is regarding the current e-mail situation involving Mayor Funderburk. He simply forwarded an e-mail. Don't we all do that?
The content in the e-mail is just an opinion on questionable facts of an investigative reporter. Why is he not being put under the microscope? Or better yet, why is no one making a fuss over the person who sent the e-mail to the mayor?
It just seems people enjoy trying to stir up controversy and trouble to see how far it will go, and it sickens me.
Do people not have anything better to do or write about? What did he do that was so wrong other than forward an e-mail to family and friends that had been forwarded to him about political candidate Barack Obama? Would this have been blown up if were about Senator McCain?
Mayor Funderburk never stated he believed or agreed with the content in the e-mail, so what is the big deal? Does he not have the right to read and send e-mails involving political candidates? Why is it so important if he did it when we all do it?
Mayor Funderburk is a wonderful asset to the Town of Fort Mill, and I fully put my support behind him.
Enough is enough about the Mayor Funderburk e-mail. He was not the creator and he didn't endorse it.
Thousands of people forward e-mails every day. I think we should be more concerned about child predators and pornography.
Mayor Funderburk is a small-town boy with compassion, honesty, intelligence and strong family values.
I am proud to live in this little Southern town where our mayor is truly a Southern gentleman.