Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Taking freedom for granted

I have it easy. The biggest challenges I face each day are making it to class on time, trying not to get in a car wreck on my way to work and matching my socks. I take freedom for granted. The men and women who served in our armed forces made it possible to have such simple worries and concerns. They fought to defend my freedom on the front lines of the battlefield. For more than two centuries, beginning with the American Revolution, men and women bled and died to obtain and preserve the liberties taken for granted today. The concerns these American soldiers have faced throughout history are very different from mine. Would they have enough rations for the next day? Would they freeze to death in the night? Would they have the strength to hold off pressing forces? Would they lose a limb today from a precariously placed car bomb? Would they be alive tomorrow? Because I did not see the bloodshed and hardship of war with my own eyes, I have been charmed into thinking freedom is an automatic part of life. Sadly, this is not the truth. In fact, in China today, citizens do not possess the freedom of speech. The Internet in China is closely monitored by the government. Message boards and social networking websites are censored to prevent any anti-government sentiment. Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist, was sentenced to a 10-year imprisonment in 2005 for releasing a document belonging to the Chinese Communist Party overseas to a Chinese democracy website. Yahoo! China handed over the journalist’s personal details to the government. Li Zhi, Jiang Lijun and Wang Xiaoning all tried to promote democratic reform in China under the government’s radar. But all three are currently imprisoned in China after the government Intercepted messages they sent on the Internet. People in other countries, such as the citizens of China, wish they had the freedom I take for granted. Freedom was not a gift. It is not free. It was fought for and won by our founders. If Americans spent one day as citizens of a country that lacks the freedoms we enjoy, they would have a better appreciation for the liberties we forget about everyday. It’s easy to forget what a precious commodity freedom is, when one isn’t on the front lines as a soldier. Many American men and women fought and died in my place. I owe the freedom to live a peaceful life, obtain a job and build a home with my family to the heroism of the individuals in the armed forces. They have a hard job, so I can have...

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Mosque near ground zero a no go
Aug24

Mosque near ground zero a no go

New York natives are scheduled to receive a new building near where the Twin Towers once stood, a building the majority does not want, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf proposed to build the Cordoba House, a 15-story Islamic community center two blocks away from the site of one of the greatest tragedies in our nation’s history. A poll of New Yorkers showed that 52 percent are opposed to the Muslim center being built in that location, while only 31 percent are in favor of it. The Cordoba House project would contain a performing-arts center, gym, swimming pool and a mosque. The fact that there is a mosque is almost in small print. The term “cultural” or “community” center only misleads the non-Muslim world. Let’s be clear. It’s a mosque. According to Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, as quoted on Newsweek’s website, “The time for a center like this has come because Islam is an American religion. We need to take the 9/11 tragedy and turn it into something very positive.” The proposed building is having just the opposite effect on the minds of New Yorkers, though. It is adding fuel to the fires of anti-Islamic sentiment. Many who argue for the creation of an Islamic center near ground zero cite the First Amendment as their trump card, but the constitutional right to freedom of religion is not in question here. No one said Muslims cannot worship. In fact, there are more than 100 other mosques in New York City. The First Amendment means that Americans have the right to worship however they choose. It does not mean they can build a place of worship wherever they choose. In fact, there is a church whose congregation has been trying to rebuild their place of worship for the past eight years. It was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks when one of the towers fell on top of it. According to Fox News, negotiations to rebuild the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which once stood near the Twin Towers, were stalled last year and will not be revived, according to government officials. While the Greek Orthodox Church will not be built near ground zero, the mosque’s progress is moving forward, despite public opposition. Muslims have a plethora of other mosques in New York City where they can worship in fellowship. Ground zero is a very sensitive area for Americans, and Imam Rauf needs to respect this and build his “cultural center”...

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Stoplight wanted
Apr27

Stoplight wanted

Editorial by Staff UMHB’s main entrance, along with several others, lies on FM 317. The street cuts straight through Belton, leaving retail stores and restaurants in its wake. The busy thoroughfare brings traffic, especially during peak hours from the town to the light at 6th Street, which leads to I-35. During these busy travel times, students at UMHB must fight oncoming traffic and the many turning motorists to get to and from campus. Senior mass communication/ journalism and Spanish double major Crystal Donahue lives in the Huckins apartments, which are nearest to the intersections. “I am shocked there haven’t been many accidents already,” she said. “There are many times I’ve pulled out of a parking lot thinking, ‘I’m not going to make it out.’” Huckins residents often find a circle of three cars all turning in different directions and blocking each other from moving. Honks and tire squeals make the danger of the road evident even from inside the apartments. Many think a street light at the 10th Street intersection would relieve the congestion and allow those turning to safely enter and exit campus without risking their lives pulling into chaotic traffic. High school students visiting campus for the first time also would not receive their first impression of the university while waiting in a turning lane for a never ending stream of cars. However, a light could also bring more danger to the area. The SH 317 bridge that passes over train tracks right before the school entrance limits drivers’ visibility. It was the same bridge where an elderly woman died in 2007, perhaps due in part to the low guardrails. Traffic speeding over the hill would not be able to see cars backed up waiting at the light. Garrett Pekar, a sophomore mass communication/journalism major, does not want more lights in his commute. “A light would stop the crosstraffic, but what happens when you are part of that traffic?” he said. “We, as students, drive on FM 317, too.” “When I am at Wal-Mart and want to go to get something to eat across town, I don’t want another light to come between me and Whataburger,” Pekar said. FM 317 is owned by Texas, and it’s the state’s responsibility to address the road’s problems. The only hope for change comes in communication among UMHB, the city and the state. It is quite surprising and fortunate that there hasn’t been a tragic accident on the extremely dangerous intersection already. Sadly, it often takes a fatality to make people realize that something needs fixing. This problem should be addressed soon, especially as both the community and the university are...

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Neuman says farewell to school she loves

If I could have magically told my freshman self how fast college was going to fly by, I might not have believed it – even coming from my own lips. I don’t think I would have believed how much I would “grow up” either. I can still remember crying (sometimes secretly, sometimes not so secretly) nearly every time I called home. Being three and half hours’ drive away was hard. I am so thankful difficulties like that have stretched me, challenged me to know why I believe what I believe, and have given me loads of fun and new friends along the way. In just a few short days, I will be crying that I have to leave this place. The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor is truly special. Not too long ago, I was walking through the Quad and had one of those “flood of memories” moments. I remembered the first time I got a tour of the campus. I remembered the first day of Welcome Week when my parents drove away, leaving me in a dorm room full of half-unpacked brown boxes. I remembered putting off homework to play intramural flag football games (Go Fightin’ Mongeeses!). I thought about the time my roommate and I made a snowman, Lil’ Jack, from the ice shavings in our mini-fridge. I remembered being freaked out by the first round of finals, and making a gazillion note cards for a biology test. I remembered eating sandwiches for lunch in Hardy almost every day, and being so excited when my roomie and I got to move into Huckins our sophomore year. I remember some of my biggest fears that now seem silly – like Did I choose the right major? Does so-and-so notice me? How am I going to get all this homework done? Did I take on too many tasks? My advice to my fellow Crusaders who still have time to serve: Activities are good. Get plugged in to something you love and that keeps you busy (if you let yourself get bored too much, you’ll feel lonely). Meet lots of people, and remember to take the time to build close relationships with an inner circle. When your freshman-year crush doesn’t ever ask you out, don’t worry! Though it may feel like everyone’s getting a ring, not everyone is. Waiting for God’s timing is worth it. Too much procrastination can hurt your brain and your heart. Find the balance in your schedule – between scholarship and recreation. Enjoy it! My mom once told me that college was one of the most fun chapters of life. They say time flies when you’re having...

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Animation outshines most other film styles

By Emily Keahey Action movies no longer rule the box office, but neither do thrillers, horrors or romantic comedies. The movies that are the most impressive are the animated films. These cartoons should no longer be thought of as for kids only. Compare two movies that recently premiered in theatres: The Clash of the Titans and How to Train your Dragon. The action-packed mythological movie, Clash, was highly publicized and had quite a few big name stars in it, but the film is a huge disappointment. The story line is flat, the acting is so-so, and the supposedly awesome Kraken, is lame. On the other hand, the animated movie, How to Train your Dragon, about a young Viking is absolutely amazing. The story line appeals to viewers of any age, the characters are both humorous and engaging and, personally, I left the theater wanting a pet dragon like Hiccup. With the increase in 3-D films it is no surprise that both of these movies took advantage of the newest Hollywood trend; but what is surprising is that How to Train your Dragon was far superior in that category as well. In fact, in most cases the animated films are much better in 3-D than live, action movies. Another reason why live action movies are becoming increasingly disappointing could be because the acting is lacking. It seems that it is becoming easier to leave the theater and find an actor’s or actress’ performance completely unconvincing. Animation movies do not have this problem because whatever emotion the character displays is going to be believable because it is, after all, a cartoon. Live movies are just not producing the same level of material that the animated movies are. With the release of Up, 9 and The Princess and the Frog, animation stole the box offi ce. In fact, Time magazine’s top three movies of 2009 were all animated. The highly anticipated live movies like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Jennifer’s Body and Land of the Lost were a complete waste of time, money and brain cells. Animated movies are not only appropriate for children to see, which is becoming increasingly more difficult to find today, but even the most cynical college student could find enjoyment as they watch them. The animated movies are fun and give older viewers a glimpse back at their childhood and the innocence and simplicity that surrounded it. It would be a lie to say that there have not been any live movies to come out recently that were not good, but in comparison to the animated movies, they just do not compete. Animated movies have stepped up...

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Is sex addiction real?

By Sarah Sattelberg Accountability for one’s actions seems to be lost in today’s society. Many appear to believe they can act however they wish with no consequences for poor moral choices. Some blame their inexcusable behavior on addictions. Tiger Woods and Jesse James say their extramarital affairs were caused by a sex addiction. This leaves questions: Is this a true medical or mental health issue or a way not to answer for their wrongdoing? Addiction is typically considered chemical dependence on a drug substance. When addicts don’t have a fix, they go through withdrawal. A lack of promiscuous acts cannot make an individual physically ill. Woods has been a role model for many young Americans. He appeared to be the picture of perfection on and off the golf course. When he fell from his pedestal, the real man came out through the slew of women he had bedded. His stint in rehab and apology appear to be sincere. One nagging problem lingers. A monetary interest was at stake, so was his speech heartfelt or wallet felt? Jesse James was not an athlete but the cool guy married to the sweetheart of the big screen, Sandra Bullock. When the skeletons came tumbling out of his closet, he admitted only a small amount of wrongdoing. His stint in therapy was short lived as he left when Bullock would not take his calls. It would seem he cares little about whom he hurt. These men are not the first nor will they be the last to blame their poor choices on something they supposedly cannot control. What does this cycle of behavior say to the youth of the country? Soon anyone will be able to blame any socially unacceptable behavior on mental illness. Coddling is the new method of discipline. Excuses make everything better. The next generation will lack any moral compass if role models like Woods and James are not culpable for their sins. Saying you’re sorry and checking into rehab does not make up for cheating on your spouse with strippers and porn stars. Excuses do not equate to remorse. Rehab does not mean that one is clean. Blaming a nonexistent medical problem for a moral failure makes the incident all the more disgusting. No one should take Woods’ apology at face value. Actions speak louder than words, and this former fan is waiting for him to show his true...

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