Letters for March 25, 2004

Justice of the Church: Trevor Aaronson's March 18 article, "Father Gomorrah," is interesting but fatally flawed by a common misstatement that continues to plague the movement toward civil marriage equality for us gay and lesbian citizens. Aaronson says, "Father Reid has wedded dozens of gay couples, sanctifying their marriages before...
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Justice of the Church: Trevor Aaronson's March 18 article, "Father Gomorrah," is interesting but fatally flawed by a common misstatement that continues to plague the movement toward civil marriage equality for us gay and lesbian citizens.

Aaronson says, "Father Reid has wedded dozens of gay couples, sanctifying their marriages before God just as other priests make holy unions of husband and wife." This statement is twice incorrect.

First, since the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, no religious person can "wed" anyone who cannot get a civil marriage license from the state. Father Reid might have performed some sort of religious ceremony, but he did not "wed" any un-state-certified couples.

Second, no priest makes "unions of husband and wife." That is effected when marrying couples sign the civil contract and their signatures are witnessed by a state-authorized person. States generally "automatically" authorize ordained religious figures to be such witnesses. Any subsequent religious ceremonies take second position.

Because many people fail to keep the distinction between civil marriage contracts and religious ceremonies, they refuse us gays and lesbians the rights of civil marriage. They perceive "marriage" as part of the same religious tradition that they claim condemns homosexuality. They fail to understand that those traditions and condemnations may have import in their sanctuaries but may not have any bearing in our legislatures.

Donald Cavanaugh

South Palm Beach County

Is the name of the game: I read with great interest Bob Norman's March 18 article, "Cardiac Cronies." Unfortunately, it reinforces assumptions I have made about competence and integrity in the practice of medicine in South Florida for many years. While the problem of lining one's own pocket is confined neither to Fortune 500 CEOs nor Florida, it is common knowledge in the Northeast that "snowbirds" are targets for financial exploitation by doctors in private clinics, especially if these patients are considered wealthy. The salaries of country-club cardiologist Dr. M. Chizner and Dr. Gill exemplify outrageous waste.

As a recently retired physician from the Northeast who enjoys three months in Florida escaping from winter, I have always counseled my friends, relatives, and even myself that if one were to become ill in Florida, the only question to be asked is, "Will I die in the next six hours?" If the answer is no, then the prudent thing to do is to fly back home to get proper care, usually by a physician connected to a university hospital. If the answer is yes, one has no choice but to get acute care in Florida, knowing that doctors like those Norman describes abound. One must also be aware of the potential for unnecessary tests or medical procedures -- and that the primary interest of some doctors is to make money and pay off their Porsches or yachts.

Norman's observations are well-appreciated.

Norman Courey, M.D.

Via the Internet

Not the knife: I am grateful to Celeste Fraser Delgado for writing a comprehensive, well-researched piece ("Cuts You Up," March 18). It helps get the word out. Home birth is a choice for women in South Florida. Jonathan Postal's pictures are exceptional.

I had both my children at home with midwives on the Farm. Now, 28 and 23 years later, those births remain the high points of my life. I wrote these words to honor Johnnie, Cher, and Haile Durham and their midwife. It's called "Show Me Your Original Face."

"We hold, love and support her/your mother to be, keep the vibes/kind and sweet. We are blessed/the fortunate ones, the midwives/invited here because you've decided/today is a good day to be born.

"Your mama takes her contractions/in the rocking chair, in the bath/out walking with your dad. We feed her/make her tea. I bake blueberry muffins/which she gratefully throws up. Vomiting/helps open her up with the power/of unhinged bones, tissue stretched.

"The photographer arrives, just in time/Your head crowns and mama pushes/pushes, getting the hang of it now/We see a little ear and then your cheeks/sweet lips, and your head is out, stuck/for a moment, your hand cradles your chin/Corina tugs, levers your head a bit --/out come your shoulders and fists.

"Your baby body squirts out/on a wave of water and blood/and you cry, the sweetest cry/the sweetest punch. I cry and pray/praise God and Goddess for this/blessed event, we lay you/on your mother's breast, and you/show me your original face."

Diane Larson

Cooper City

This weekly rag ain't just crapola: I believe everything Bob Norman has written about the North Broward Hospital District (and a lot yet to be written) is true. Why hasn't the local media reprinted Norman's material or done investigating of their own? Isn't that also part of this sordid mess and story?

John Shook

Fort Lauderdale

Oh yeah, and the game too: Congratulations on Sam Eifling's fine piece on the local cricket scene ("A Worldly Pitch," March 11). That was a clear, concise explanation of the rules but much more. Eifling's story really captured the spirit of the game and those who love it.

I am not West Indian, British, or anything even close, but many, many moons ago, in upstate New York, I was dragooned onto the local cricket team (they were very short-handed). I was probably the world's worst cricketer. Most times, I couldn't buy a run, and I dropped my share of easy catches. But nobody got upset, and I was always part of the group. I loved every minute of it.

Many of the players were excellent athletes and serious about the game, but what I most welcomed was the social aspect of cricket. At every match, entire families came out to watch, visit, picnic, enjoy the weather, and kibitz. Often, there were parties and dances to honor visitors.

I hope that the new park gets built and that we can get some of the World Cup matches here. Meanwhile, I urge everyone to get up to Lauderhill for a Saturday evening and enjoy the night air, the music, the food, and the happy people watching much more than just a game.

Donald Berger


He's almost Jimmy Breslin: I'm a 56-year-old former high school English teacher who now works as a psychotherapist at the Center for Human Potential in Fort Lauderdale. I spend most of my limited free time as an activist, writing letters against our corrupt, corporate-run government and military.

I recently discovered New Times only because it's in the lobby of my new apartment building in Boca Raton. I'd had misconceptions about New Times in the past, thinking it was mainly advertising for young singles. But there it was, and I was desperate to read a paper because I can no longer bear reading even the New York Times. How wonderful it was for me to discover that there are still some real reporters who are actually employed in this deteriorating society of ours. Bob Norman is obviously a man of courage and integrity, as well as a topnotch investigator, writer, and reporter. I can't remember when I've read anything in a newspaper as fine as "All the Governor's Men" (March 4). Bravo!

M. Estelle Spike

Boca Raton

Or some facsimile thereof: I agree with the letter by Bill Lemocks (March 4) that said Mel Gibson "is no anti-semite." I saw The Passion of the Christ twice because it was so thought-provoking. The person who wrote that the people who are charging Gibson with being prejudiced are caught in the very act of being prejudiced themselves. He hit the nail on the head. It's funny how ironic that is!

If the skeptics actually saw the film with an open mind, they would see the truth of the message and the heart behind it.

I'm a new fan of Mel Gibson (his life and work).

Robin Kay

Pompano Beach

For your kind, supportive words: This letter is to inform you of the total failure of your paper in this community. A friend of mine had wanted to purchase an ad with an alternative paper, but we then saw that stacks of your paper sit around all week and nobody picks it up and reads it. Your editors and their assistants are too narrow-minded and ignorant as to what is truly news and fail to have a proper editorial perspective and layout.

In other areas beyond Broward and Palm Beach, New Times and other alternative papers are much more read. You need big editorial staff changes or should just give up and shut down.

Harvey Paulsen

Pompano Beach

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