Letters for December 15-21, 2005
Jesus Community College
We don't need no lousy teachers. Preach! How is it that expressing an opinion is a crime? It seems to me that James Johnson's only complaint is that Lulrick Balzora does not agree with him ("Proselytizing 101," Trevor Aaronson, December 1).
Don't students have the right to drop the course or disagree? What are you so afraid of? If the teacher were of another faith, there would be no problem. Academic freedom should not be limited to those we agree with.
Chair of the Department of Psychology, Palm Beach Atlantic University
Palm Beach Gardens
Only one textbook needed: Your article was both enlightening and confusing. It protests Christian professors who strongly insist that Christianity is the only way to salvation. My question is: What's wrong with that? To understand Christians, you would have to understand this basic principle; people practice religions because they believe they are true. In the case of Christianity, they are only repeating what the savior said: "No one can go to the Father but through me." If you didn't believe that were true, you wouldn't practice Christianity, would you? This is like complaining about a chocolate fudge sundae for being too sweet or a double martini for being too strong.
Your protagonist I suppose was James W. Johnson, now an ex-professor of BCC. He is suing BCC because he lost his job over his questioning of teaching techniques on religion. You made a critical error by not revealing a possible agenda of Johnson's until deep into the article. Johnson is a gay former priest in the Catholic Church. The problem is that he tried to validate homosexuality when he taught his religion courses at BCC by spinning Catholic history to include a few gay saints.
This is a heartbreaking issue for me, because so many people I know and respect are gay. But the Bible says no, period. That's not "fundamentalism," as Professor Johnson whines; it's called "literacy," as in "I can read, and the Bible is legible." But this is not a condemnation of homosexuals. No kind of sexuality could ever be endorsed by a spiritual God.
I recommend to Johnson that, rather than suing, he study more about Christianity. He would understand that his homosexuality means nothing in Christianity or any religion. Christianity is not about your own justification but justification through God's son, Jesus Christ.
Somebody Had to Say It
He's stark naked: I've been waiting for someone to say the emperor has no clothes (Bob Norman, "Spreading the Plame," December 1). Thanks.
It wasn't about oil, was it? I couldn't agree more. Spreading democracy isn't like spreading peanut butter, something easy to do if you just have the right surface and a knife.
Even in the U.S. a place we brag about as the showplace of democracy women and African-Americans didn't have the right to vote in elections until the 20th Century. If we waited for the Iraqis to adopt "democracy" at the same pace Americans did, it would be another 200 years before their government and political culture looked anything like our own.
I don't believe Muslims are incapable of adopting democracy. But "even in America," religious beliefs conflict with politics.
So let's ask ourselves why the brain trust advising our learning-challenged president didn't foresee the mess we are now in. Perhaps all this talk about democracy was just an afterthought.
Jon R. Koppenhoefer
Hallelujah, he speaks the truth! Yes, sweet Jesus, yes and yes and yes again! Kudos, laurel branches, and all other such trophies as testify to Norman's standing up and lending truth to power. In their faces! At last! The smarmy, puffed-up, sanctified bastards. I thought maybe I was the only one who threw the goddamned New Yorker across the room after getting through one more Goldberg scare job, one more Iraq as idee fixe job, one more America über alles job. Fuck... I didn't read the rag for two years. Only picked it up when Sy Hersh started appearing in it. Remnick, Packer, Friedman, Kristoff... Sweet Jesus, where do they find these cocksuckers?
One can imagine them sitting at the feet (or wheels) of Charles Krauthammer, beaks open like baby birds, taking it in... And these idiots think of themselves as liberals. I say a pox on all their houses. This war to paraphrase John Huston on the act of murdering an elephant in Africa was worse than a crime; it was a sin. And these righteous, modern, American-century, homeowning, golf club-belonging, flag-waving, screwed-in establishmentarians were its cheerleaders. If the Bush crime family deserves its day in the dock, in the Hague these fuckwits deserve a public shaming high noon, Times Square, live and on tape. So, again, thank you. Sincerely. And cover your ass.
Going Out? Get Paid. Clubs Editor Wanted.
New Times is looking for a new clubs editor. We want someone who is intimately familiar or willing to become so with Broward-Palm Beach's darkest, most out-of-the-way dives (as well as its trendiest hot spots). We want someone who knows how to have a good time and pay attention to details, someone who values the city's entertainment scene and wants to spend 25 to 28 hours a week getting paid to cover it, both outside the office prowling the town at night and inside the office compiling the city's most comprehensive clubs listings by day. Send a résumé and cover letter to Tony Ortega, Editor, New Times Broward-Palm Beach, 16 NE Fourth St., Ste. 200, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301, or e-mail your credentials to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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