Apparently, Armstrong watches too many movies about video-game designers, because the ones I know aren’t nerdy, just hard-working men (and women) who put a lot of time and effort into what they do after having gone to school and studied many long hours to master their skills. Speaking of making assumptions about culture, he would do well to take a good look at the way he sees white males.
I am more than a little tired of hearing many blacks say whatever they want about whites and thinking that it’s OK. It’s not. If Armstrong, and anyone else, wants to bitch about how whites see blacks, then he needs to begin that change from within the black community. I do not watch music videos, nor do I play video games, but I do work in a West Baltimore neighborhood where every day I see the kind of behavior, dress, and lifestyle that ends up, as Armstrong says, “perpetuated through the media.” I’ll gladly give him a tour and show him many examples.
I would like to compliment Brian Morton on his most recent column (“True Lies,” Political Animal, June 22). Since I took a couple shots at him some weeks back, I’ve been reading his column a little more regularly, and I was shocked by this one. It was literate, brutal, and dead-on. Nice work. Meanwhile, I hope the rest of us get behind Howard Dean soon and stop acting all nervous and twittery just because the white, Christian, racist, classist, misogynistic, homophobic, warmongering liars in the Republican Party don’t like it when he calls them out.
No, No, God Is Love
Once again we have a letter writer who has not really researched her Bible (“God Is Hate,” The Mail, June 22). Judith Evans would be well advised to read What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel Helminiak. It contains a quite thorough explanation of the entire book of Romans, not just the passage that Ms. Evans quotes out of context.
Not being Muslim, I am not qualified to address the apparent condemnation of homosexuality in the Quran, as mentioned in the interviews in your Queer Issue of June 15 (“Separation of Church and Hate”); all I know is that further interpretations of the Quran were officially halted some 500 years ago. But when it comes to the Bible, I’ve got this one down cold: Virtually all of the Bible verses that have been interpreted as anti-gay are, in reality, condemnations of the idolatrous practices of the competing religions that surrounded the Jewish people. These practices included male prostitution, which numbered “underage” boys among its hustlers.
Sure, “it isn’t logical to say that ‘God loves’ something He says He hates”—indeed, it would be illogical, if He actually had said it. Unfortunately, it will take several more of these kinds of letter exchanges before a critical mass of the population finally realizes the truth.
My sudden, surprising Sapphic Awakening at midlife sent my ego packing for parts unknown. But the expanded love that took my ego’s place has brought me only blessings. My love with my lady is pure and amazingly free of manipulation or ulterior motives; even my husband (to whom I’m still married) is impressed. It is truly wonderful that I can look upon a beautiful lady and be allowed to show her just how beautiful I think she is. Every signal I’ve received indicates that God heartily approves.
Rosanna E. Tufts-Prothro
Separate the Hate
While reading “Separation of Church and Hate,” I was shocked to find that none of the religious officials addressed the most important issue concerning the church and homosexuality. In all their studies, did they not find that we all sin, and all sin is the same? Do they not know that it is not our place to judge? It’s a very fine line between the judgment of God and the judgment of church officials/attendees. Too many step over the line.
When the church sins in judgment, it is not correctly representing what the church is all about. It is literally pushing its congregation and the world away.
I am not sinless. God made me human. Why are my sins any different? If I am to judge, I am just adding another check to my sin list.
I am not saying homosexuality is right or should be flamboyantly displayed. It’s not up to me. I am saying we need to get rid of our self-righteous egos and look at our own inequities.
For many of us it’s a tired old argument—gays, God, and scripture—but thanks for airing it once again. As someone who considers himself both gay and spiritual, I’d like to react to some of the things your interviewees brought up.
Deacon Paul Weber: I will agree that many of “the teachings of the Catholic Church are somewhat misunderstood,” but when it comes to homosexuality I don’t think this is the case. Pope Benedict XVI, when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote that homosexuality is a “grave moral disorder.” It’s pretty clear that he was speaking about homosexuality and not just those who practice it. He also taught that for sexuality active gays and lesbians it would be better to not enter relationships where there would be more occasion of sin. Please consider how saying “sexual activity outside of marriage for any orientation is not considered to be morally acceptable” to people who cannot contract a valid/legal marriage is really rather cruel.
To Larry Thompson, I ask that if you “believe that everyone has been created in the image of God,” then am I a flawed creation? Did God make a mistake? Is my sexuality a birth defect? It is certainly not something that I chose!
You say, “I don’t believe that scripture changes with the culture.” Does this apply only to sexual morality? What about the Old Testament requirement that a young woman must marry and bear the children of a man who rapes her. Is this something your church requires?
Jesus clearly condemns divorce, even calling those who marry a divorced person adulterers. Does Mount Pleasant Church accept men and women who have divorced and remarried? And if we do not adapt our faith to the times, we would still be practicing slavery, something that St. Paul endorses.
It seems to me that when you focus on gays and lesbians (who make up less than 10 percent of the population) you are using time that you could use to put your own houses in order.
After reading “Separation of Church and Hate,” I cannot agree more on what David Flaherty said about the sacrament of marriage as being “celebrated and conferred not by the priest, but by the two people that come forward, by the making of vows.” It is about love between two people, regardless of their gender, race, or religion. It is unfortunate that church and state govern this union.
Marriage is not necessary for procreation and mutual love, and procreation and mutual love are not reasons for marriage to exist between people of the opposite sex. Furthermore, our world is already overpopulated; the procreation argument holds no water. Mutual love can and does exist between two people whether they are married or not, or whether they are of the same gender.
When my husband and I married in a Roman Catholic Church 14 years ago, the priest made it abundantly clear that since I was a Protestant and he was Catholic, I must sign an agreement to raise our children Catholic. No problem there since we never had children. This signed agreement was a violation of our freedoms. I really don’t think God would have minded how we chose to raise our children, which brings me to another pet peeve: “God” as some kind of male figure that will judge us on that final day. I do not believe that there is going to be some white-haired man in the image of Charlton Heston telling me why I will or will not make it past the Pearly Gates.
The scriptures are stories of old. They do not represent what is going on in today’s world. People need to get their heads out of their butts and realize that they cannot hold the scriptures responsible for how they should live their lives. People are not being held accountable for their actions. What we need is mutual love and respect, not a set of religious and social dogmas that stifle this expression of mutual love and respect.
I feel compelled to respond to the letter written by the assistant U.S. attorneys who prosecuted me, as their petty retort once again misleads the citizens of Baltimore (“Eddie Vetters,” The Mail, June 15). I stand by the statements made to your reporter, Terrie Snyder, during our interview and would like to point out to your readers that the prosecutors never address the statements that appear in her story but once again attempt to distract the public from their conduct in this case.
I would like to start by correcting their opening statement. There was never an allegation that any federal funds were misused in any way during any part of my case. I used the privately raised funds the same way previous Baltimore police commissioners had.
Otherwise, I am going to simply restate the facts as I told them to Ms. Snyder.
Fact: I was indicted for buying combat boots the day after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Fact: I was indicted for buying a rescue tool the day after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Fact: I was indicted for several Orioles baseball games when, in fact, Baltimore police officers made up the majority of the 30 or so attendees. “Personal friends” of mine accounted for two to four per game. I was charged for the entire evening’s cost as if my two friends ate $1,000 worth of food and drink at each game.
Fact: I was indicted for buying Baltimore Police Department uniform shirts when, in fact, I contributed $231 of my own money toward their purchase.
Fact: The second pair of shoes alluded to in the letter were also police shoes, purchased from Dan Brothers. I was indicted for those as well.
Fact: I was indicted for lying about taking the police commissioner of Seattle to dinner when he, in fact, told federal investigators that we indeed did have dinner.
Fact: I was indicted for paying back my father $9,000 he had given me as gift toward the purchase of my home.
Fact: I am not the only person who believes that the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office was politically motivated. The deputy attorney general forbade Maryland’s former U.S. attorney, Thomas DiBiagio, from doing any more public corruption cases in a very public rebuke, and an assistant U.S. attorney resigned because of the “dangerous” direction the office was taking.
In all my 24 years as a police officer, I have never seen conduct as appalling as that of the U.S. Attorney’s Office during my investigation, and it seems I am not the only one who feels this way. I can think of no other case where the U.S. Department of Justice was compelled to intervene for the protection of American citizens against one of its own. Thankfully, for Steven Amos and the City Council, the DOJ stepped in when it did. Who knows who would have been next?
Edward T. Norris
Lightly Browned Norris
Interesting letter from the prosecutors in Edward Norris’ celebrated trial (“Eddie Vetters,” The Mail, June 15). Their bone, apparently, is that Norris still won’t own up to the many sordid misdeeds that he committed and admitted to under oath as part of his plea agreement. He failed to mention, minimized, or misrepresented these misdeeds during his City Paper interview and tried to make himself look like a nicer guy.
Well, duh! The trial is over, after all. And anyway, why the federal case? What was the straw that broke the camel’s back? Certainly it wasn’t the black robe or the $1,000 ball game. Even the federal government has bigger fish to fry. So, what was the big stink that caught the attention of the feds? Norris seems to think it was the mortgage application “lie.” I certainly don’t know, but doesn’t the other stuff seem, in comparison, like chump change? That Norris paid back anyway?
Aside from the Norris case, something bothers me. I learned from television that, when accused, I am presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Further, if I can’t afford an attorney, the court will provide one for me. Really? Cool, but what if defending me costs $500,000, as Norris says his attorneys said it would? If I can’t pay, how is my court-appointed attorney going to do against three federal prosecutors with unlimited resources? Innocent or not, once accused, am I not toast?
Thank you for running that informative article on Maryland’s upcoming third-party candidate, Kevin Zeese (“United State,” Mobtown Beat, June 15). As voters, we need to know as much as possible about all points of view—not just what the two parties want us to hear. Good job all around, folks!
Santa Monica, Calif.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201