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Catholic Block

Posted 5/11/2005

I read Brian Morton’s column because he is an intelligent man with ideas worthy of examination. His ideas might be contrary to conservative readers, but his weekly column is my favorite read in City Paper.

Brian Morton’s recent Political Animal column was excellent. After reading each paragraph of his “God’s Food Fight” (April 27) I was nodding my head in agreement.

I am a black woman who is 63. As a Catholic and a liberal-militant Afrocentric feminist, I believe that the bigoted political thinking of Pope John Paul II influenced the gatekeepers of the American Roman Catholic Church to defeat the pro-choice presidential candidate in 2004, Sen. John Kerry. White bigots in the Catholic Church voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, even though conservative Catholic members knew that Pope John Paul II was hiding corruption in the Vatican and the Catholic Church system.

As I see it, there is a renewed struggle of white racial supremacy between all churches and the individual states system in America. The “white is right” pope of the Catholic Church wants to have all supremacy in the political and cultural systems of the world.

I do not have a good feeling about the right-wing Pope Benedict XVI. He wants to concentrate on Western European churches and cultures. He wants to influence the political “plays” in Europe.

I am mad as Hades, because Pope Benedict XVI will introduce all Catholics to a religion of “humanism,” not to serve poor people and their value in the world. Instead, Pope Benedict will revive the “Latin” language in the church. Will there be a place in that church for uneducated Catholics? In my opinion, stupidity is now an intellectual pursuit of the gatekeepers of the Catholic Church for the purpose of white genetic survival.

Bertrand Russell once said, “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” I am not going to leave the Catholic Church. I shall agitate the gatekeepers of my faith because I believe that the American Catholic Church should break its ties with the Vatican once and for all. I shall “live on” to help break the tide of bigotry in the Catholic Church. Otherwise, I will drown in the river the “infidels” in the conservative Catholic movement have created to rid the stupid and the dumb people off the face of certain lands in the world.

Larnell Custis Butler
Baltimore

Separation of Foot and Mouth

Russ Smith, I enjoyed your column in this week’s City Paper (Right Field, April 27). There definitely is a disconnect between official political correctness and the way Americans treat one another. Good point.

However, I think that you confuse the separation of church and state as a matter of political correctness. To write that “games like dodge ball are banned at some elementary schools because of perceived excessive competition and Christmas trees are barred so that non-Christians aren’t offended” is misleading; there is a profound difference between banning a game because some parents don’t like competition and banning a state-sponsored display of a religious symbol. One ban is arbitrary, the other is upholding the constitutional principle identified in the 1971 case Lemon v. Kurtzman. In it the Supreme Court set forth a three-pronged inquiry commonly known as the Lemon Test. To pass this test, thereby allowing the display or motto to remain, the government conduct 1) must have a secular purpose, 2) must have a principal or primary effect that does not advance or inhibit religion, and 3) cannot foster an excessive government entanglement with religion.

Alex Csicsek
Baltimore

Spoiled

I used to read City Paper’s movie reviews with great interest, even though I didn’t always agree. But that was several years ago. Sadly, at some point CP’s cinema reviews went noticeably downhill. But I check back every once in a while to see if things have changed.

Ian Grey’s review of Walk on Water (Film, April 27), a truly stirring film (on this we agree), is a woeful example of an unsophisticated effort. Not only does Mr. Grey go through every major plot point from beginning to end (a hallmark of a weak reviewer), thus spoiling for the reader much of the film’s dramatic impact, he also gets much of it factually wrong. For example, the sister did indeed know what Mr. Grey claims she did not, leading to a major dramatic revelation and plot point late in the movie. Though a film viewer wonders or surmises what she does and does not know, this is not the same. And this is just one example of factual error. One wonders if Mr. Grey was focused and engaged in the film when he saw it or was he merely “skimming” it.

The most serious flaw, however, in Mr. Grey’s technique is thinking that reductionist summaries of a movie’s script constitute a review. It takes skill and art to develop one’s own thematic take on a film, a talent Mr. Grey does not demonstrate here. Mr. Grey might take a lesson from Roger Ebert (whose reviews are readily available online) or even from many of the amateur movie reviewers at the online Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB.com), many of whom write far more insightfully than Mr. Grey does. Even the weakest of the IMDB reviewers have the courtesy to announce SPOILERS AHEAD when they feel a need to reveal an important plot point to develop their thesis, so readers may choose to skip over that part. Even Roger Ebert, who is so skilled at giving an insightful flavor of a film without revealing anything, will on occasion resort to the SPOILER warning.

But then, if Mr. Grey adopted the widely-accepted SPOILER alert, there would not be much left to read.

Barbara Ann White
Baltimore

Editor’s note: Jon Dunn of Baltimore won an all-access pass to the Maryland Film Festival by ringing in first with the right answers in our annual Film Fest Frenzy quiz. Congratulations.

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