July 10, 2007

Erosia

LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to leo@leoweekly.com. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.Minority AffairsI appreciate Dr. Ricky Jones’ message about the 2008 election (LEO, June 27). What an amazing time it is now! Who would have thought we’d have a presidential campaign with two progressive white men, a woman and a black man all as good candidates? I agree that Edwards is excellent, but are we really at a point in our country where we can pick a candidate solely on political ideology? Sadly, some people look at our government to model standards of society. Would it not be more important to have our first woman or black man set a new precedent of what America is becoming? As long as the white man holds most of the privilege in this country, is it not our duty to continue to try and balance the power? I hate to have gender or race sway my vote, but as long as there is discrimination, should we not utilize this opportunity to aid equality? I am in love with the fact that we now have such a choice!Angelyn Rudd, LouisvilleLong-Term Light RailIn response to the Erosia letter “Wrong Rail” (LEO, May 30) regarding the feasibility of light rail in Louisville: It may be true that the population density in cities such as London, New York and Boston are more conducive to light rail, but one of those “forward thinking” and “progressive” cities that happens to be on the West Coast of America (Portland, Ore., population 562,690) has had a very extensive light rail system since the 1980s, and Portland’s population density (3,939/sq. mi.) is less than that of Metro Louisville (4,124.8/sq. mi.). Cologne, Germany — with a population comparable to that of Metro Louisville (1,024,346), albeit with a higher population density, where I lived for many years and happily rode their light rail with my bicycle to work and play — has a wonderful light rail system. The argument is cost effectiveness, to be sure. Yes, Louisville lacks that core inner city hub of business that some of these cities have, and most people commute to downtown in their automobiles. I’m not convinced that adding lanes to expressways is a long-term solution to the inevitable congestion that will come with more growth and sprawl. Minneapolis (which in more enlightened times had a very extensive light rail system) dismantled theirs in favor of buses (like many other cities) and recently finished the first of more proposed light rail lines for their metro area. The ridership of their Hiawatha line has far exceeded expectations.Marshall Kinsey, LouisvilleCreating NutsBen Carl’s feature on the new Creation Museum (LEO, June 13) should be considered as a wake-up call for Kentuckians who care about the educational welfare of their children. I spent several hours touring the museum on opening day and left convinced that Ken Ham seeks to indoctrinate, not educate, children.The pseudo-science of Creationism is only part of Ham’s flawed message. Like his fundamentalist forbearers of the 1920s, Ham blames all of modern society’s real or imagined evils on Darwin’s “dangerous idea.” Therefore considerable exhibit space is devoted to the bitter fruits of Darwinism: crime, immorality, same-sex marriage, the feminist movement, stem cell research ...Although he preaches that racism is furthered by Darwin’s theory, I noticed that Ham’s Eden was populated solely by “pretty white people.” Indeed, Eve looked like she just stepped off the cover of Maxim. I could not help but wonder what would have happened had Denzel Washington and Halle Berry served as the models for Adam and Eve. Well, let’s just say that Ham Land would be out of business by the 4th of July. After all, it’s the gospel truth that most fundamentalists want their Jesus looking “white.”David Hawpe dismissed the whole controversy in The Courier-Journal as a non-issue. However, he is apparently blissfully ignorant of the fact that a recent poll revealed that more than 69 percent of Kentucky’s high-school biology teachers support the teaching of Creationism. Read Ham’s disturbing anti-evolution works. He truly sees himself as waging a jihad against modern science. In a world plunged into chaos by Islamic fundamentalism, we should heed Carl’s warning about the “home-grown” variety of religious fanatics.James M. Prichard, LouisvillePractice the Golden RuleI am responding to Ray Rieck’s letter in the May 30 Erosia section of LEO. It seems that he has been judged unfairly by “intolerant” liberals for his difference of opinion.Forgive me, Mr. Rieck, I will take back the words I used and use your language of Christian civility instead. You have clearly compared homosexuality, my sexuality, with gluttony, substance abuse, disease, narcissism and other undesirable traits and conditions. I called your Christian fundamentalism fascism. Forgive me, I’ll refer to it as a disease instead.In your civility, you enlighten us on sin and homosexuality: “Christianity teaches that we are born with evil bents ... If we’re born with it, it very well might be evil.” And to think I called you fascist and brainless, how intolerant of me! In an effort to be more civil, I will instead refer to you as evil. Let’s see now, that’s evil and diseased — sounds about right.You base your assertions on a couple of quotes from the Bible, period; there is nothing else to back you up but your so-called “faith” and a narcissistic belief that fundamentalist Christians know God’s will for other human beings. You have suggested that the morality of homosexuality is still up for debate; you are wrong, there is no evidence to support your claim, only your diseased and evil opinion and a couple of passages from Leviticus — the very “words of God” that also tell us that divorce is adultery, a sin punishable by death.You, Albert Mohler and millions of fundamentalists have contributed to the right-wing culture of hate that permeates our society. Every time you call us sinners evil, every time you ignore the facts and turn your back on the truth, you contribute. Every time you suggest that homosexuality is a treatable “condition,” ignoring all evidence to the contrary, you contribute. There is no debate, there is only right and wrong. Every time a GLBT person is violently attacked, beaten or murdered because of their sexuality, you are to blame; their blood is on your hands. Thousands of GLBT teenagers commit suicide every year, in large part because of your lies, your fundamentalist belief system that will not accept any fact that contradicts your prejudices. Your cult is evil and diseased, and you are unwilling to look at how you contribute to the rage against a hated minority. The Golden Rule, a concept embraced by every world religion and by atheists and agnostics, might be a good treatment for your disease.Michael Lenhart, LouisvilleFree FreedomIn his Erosia letter (May 23), Kent O. Sublett makes clear that he conceives of freedom as something that is given to one by others. Were it not for the presence of the U.S. military, he argues, Americans would be unfree because, presumably, the military gives civilians their freedom. (“Freedom isn’t free,” as the bumper stickers read.) Thus, the refusal of LPAC and others to recognize that their freedom has been given to them is either ingratitude, if that freedom is given with no strings attached, or theft, if it isn’t.This conception of freedom, however, confuses freedom as an important political value with freedom’s enabling conditions. For example, I have the right to leave my house and move freely about my neighborhood. In order for me to be able to do that, certain enabling conditions must be in place: For instance, I must not be imprisoned in my own home. If someone did imprison me in my own home, the enabling condition would no longer be present; my freedom would be disabled. But that wouldn’t mean that I lack the capacity or the right to move around my neighborhood. The best way to explain why my imprisonment was wrong would be because I still had both the capacity and the right to leave while imprisoned.By the same token, even if the U.S. military’s presence protects the enabling conditions of my freedom (by, e.g., preventing the Nazis from taking over the homeland), the U.S. military neither gives nor takes away from my inherent capacities and rights. I have my freedom independently of what the state and its agents do, or even if no state exists. This attitude toward freedom can be found, among other places, in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. These hold that the state’s role is not to give us our freedom, but to respect and protect the freedom we already have.Sublett has made no argument for why we should follow him in identifying our freedom with its enabling conditions. I would be eager to hear his defense of this theory, along with its inevitable rejection of the political values enshrined in the very form of government the U.S. military purports to defend.Brian Cubbage, LouisvilleThin-Ice TheoriesIn a rather odd attempt to referee two “sides” debating sexuality within the context of Leviticus, Kent O. Sublett cites the alleged argument of the “Gay Rights side” that “God made me this way.” Sublett challenges that side to go to Kosair Children’s Hospital and tell parents of children with birth defects that the tribal god did it. Since no one would apparently be so cruel or stupid, i.e., “have the guts” to do this, we must conclude that birth defects, and by Sublett’s implication, homosexuality, are due to this “fallen world.” OK. If humans are entirely responsible for imperfection in the universe, then go to Kosair, if you have “the guts.” Tell the parents there that they (parents and children) are to blame. Remind them that somebody went and munched an apple or pear from a tree right in the middle of the damned garden, thereby breaking the “laws” made by the tribal god “for the operation of the universe.” Really? Laws for the operation of the universe? Are we talking the rest mass of a proton or the don’t-covet-thy-neighbor’s-ox-or-Hummer kind of commandment? Help us out: Is it pi or Planck’s constant or the immutable don’t-have-sex-with-a-menstruating-woman rule (or maybe a man having sex with a woman during her period while lusting after another man)? The third law of thermodynamics or that eternal women-shut-up-in-church thing? (Yeah, “New Testament,” but Bible is Bible, eh?) Curiously, the universe apparently has operated much the same for well beyond 6,000 years (unless eating that prohibited persimmon or forbidden fig cosmically screwed up the speed of light).To suggest that modern discussion be confined to interpretation — and not the relevance — of texts rooted in ancient Israel and the Roman Empire may be as appropriate as using Aristotelian physics to plan the next shuttle launch. Who wants to ride?Thomas L. Stratton, LouisvilleKing Coal Reigns SupremeGov. Fletcher has done a horrible disservice to Kentuckians by giving more than $2 million of state money to coal-to-liquid projects. Fuel made from coal is not cheap or good for the environment. One ton of coal only produces two barrels of fuel. More than 430 miles of Kentucky streams have already been buried because of mountaintop removal mining, and coal-based fuels produce twice as much carbon dioxide as petroleum-based diesel fuels. We don’t need to destroy the environment to become energy independent. We need to urge our politicians to invest in sustainable and renewable energy and to stop wasting our tax dollars on King Coal.Beth Bissmeyer, Louisville