Letters for January 24, 2002

More bunny debate

 Christians have rights too: With all due respect, I will never understand the modern liberal mind that is so offended by God and religion and devotes so much time and energy to its crusade of opposing any free expression of faith but then at the same time celebrates with such excitement a piece of art like Clash of the Holidays ("Ax, Lies, & Audiotape," Chuck Strouse, January 17). It is the liberals who created the ridiculous PC movement, the liberals who want to control speech, and the liberals who demand the suppression of Christian free expression, all because they fear one person may be offended. Liberals are so worried about being offended by a point of view they don't agree with, but they take incredible liberty when it comes to offending others. Being offensive has come into vogue among many liberals; it is the cool thing to do, but Lord help the person that offends a liberal!

I agree that censorship is wrong, but liberals clearly do not. A case in point is many public schools, where kids are prohibited from wearing a cross and are not allowed to say the name "Jesus." Students have been suspended for having a Bible in their possession, for wearing a T-shirt with a biblical verse on it, and even for wearing green and red at Christmastime! There is a public school district I read about that has censored the word Christmas from all literature, even the calendar. How can anyone who values freedom support this, especially when the name of Allah, Buddha, and Satan are so acceptable in that same school?

If Mr. Schorr feels he is entitled to offend Christians and devotes his career to doing just that, he has no business being offended by someone else.

Scott Hilbert, MS, CSCS
Director, Student Wellness Center
Florida Atlantic University, Davie

Protecting culture: I feel the need to clarify some of the issues raised in Mr. Strouse's column January 17, 2002. The work by Todd Schorr Clash of the Holidays was moved into a gallery by itself. It was moved prior to the controversy. The gallery in which it was originally placed was full of pencil drawings, and, as Clash is a full-color print, we decided it did not belong in the gallery with the drawings. On January 7, 2002, during the executive board's regularly scheduled meeting, I brought the subsequent controversy up to the board's attention. As a compromise, it was suggested that we move the work of art in question. I indicated to the board that it had already been moved to a separate gallery. The way in which I communicated this to Commissioner Cathleen Anderson was misleading, and I apologized for that.

Past that point, Mr. Strouse has not quoted or paraphrased me correctly. Mr. Strouse came to see me on Friday, the day after the Sun-Sentinel article was printed. I had not yet seen the article, and I had someone bring it to my office while I was meeting with Mr. Strouse. After reading it, I admitted that the information was incorrect because the work had been moved, but not as a result of the controversy, as was stated in the Sun-Sentinel article. I did not say, "But is it our place to point that out?" What I did do was ask Mr. Strouse whose responsibility it was to make sure the information in print was correct. I told Mr. Strouse that I thought the Sun-Sentinel reporter should have spoken to me before moving forward and printing the article. Mr. Strouse agreed with me.

Furthermore, I never declined to comment to Mr. Strouse. In fact, we had a meeting for about 45 minutes (in which I do not recall seeing him take any notes). Toward the end of that meeting, I indicated that I would be calling the Sun-Sentinel right after our meeting to correct the situation. Mr. Strouse asked me not to divulge to the Sun-Sentinel reporter that he was covering this story so that he would not be preempted. I did call the Sun-Sentinel that day, but the reporter was not there, and I left a message. On Tuesday, I spoke with the Sun-Sentinel reporter and Commissioner Anderson and clarified the situation.

The result of my statements continues to remain the same. Clash of the Holidays is in a separate gallery. In an effort to be sensitive to the community's continuing concerns, we have posted a sign outside the gallery notifying visitors of its presence and that its subject matter may not be suitable for children.

Cynthia Miller
Director, Art and Culture Center of Hollywood

Chuck Strouse replies: The 12 pages of notes that I took -- in red pen -- during my interview with Ms. Miller bear witness to how closely I listened to her. The quotes are all verbatim.

These guys got dignity: Let me help Jeff Stratton with the bathroom-attendant deal (Bandwidth, January 10). Bars and restaurants hire attendants for two reasons only: to keep the bathroom clean and to deter customers from trashing it. A pretty lowly gig in anyone's estimation, and more worthwhile to the attendant in question if he or she can make some tips by proffering a towel, a breath mint, or whatever.

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