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May 6, 2008

Erosia (Letters to the Editor)

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.Rising AboveRegarding Sojourn’s response to LEO (April 30 issue): The false premises of Sojourn and its correspondence to LEO are easily identified. It is false that all religion is aligned against gay people. It is false that all gays are “liberals” and that all “liberals” are pro-gay. It is false that, in challenging those who wish to dehumanize us, we are somehow intolerant. It is false that being gay is akin to being greedy or some other flaw. Being gay is just simply who we are and is as often an expression of our best selves as our lesser. Sojourn’s hostility is belied by its terminology — the “H word” is not one our friends use.In reality, gays are in the best position to teach others how to cope in a society of opposition, as we have done so our entire lives. Tragically, nothing short of cultural hegemony suits some, and anything short of that is “intolerance.” Give them credit, their tactic of co-opting the language of liberation is clever. Unfortunately, American history clearly shows the tragedy of Christian power. It’s hardly a track record to use as a platform to teach “liberals” and “homosexuals” to be “at peace” with “diversity.”It’s not so difficult to base our purchases on our consistently held beliefs, as Sojourn’s pastor would have us believe. We’ve been doing it all along, as witnessed by the many gay businesses now operating in Louisville. We have enough of our own problems in the community without these condescending attacks on our lives and integrity. Please reconsider attending events at this venue and let your artists know whose “house” they’re playing in, as it isn’t one that welcomes people on their own terms.Jim Gardner, LouisvilleOutside The BookI’m glad that you printed Bob Lee’s response letter (LEO, April 16) to Stephen George’s original article about Sojourn. It gives us a clear example of what far too many Christians think, and helps to illuminate the inherent irrationality of such beliefs.To see it, all we must do is substitute any other “great” monotheism into Lee’s argument: “It’s sad that some people have to label us as terrorists because we believe infidels (like heretics) should be slaughtered. We believe they should be slaughtered because the Qur’an declares it so!”You see, one may imagine that his views are given legitimacy because of his trust in his sect’s interpretation of the ancient writings of some superstitious mystics. But bigotry is still bigotry, and regressive ideas that encourage homophobia and misogyny are still wrong, no matter the religious fervor and hipster facade that accompanies them.Most of us don’t accept “but the Qur’an says!” or “but the Book of Mormon says!” as rational excuses for stupid or dangerous ideas. It’s time we realized that the Bible is no different.Derek Knisely, LouisvilleShape UpIn his column “Healthcare: Commodity or basic human right?” (LEO, April 23), Cary Stemle rightfully laments the United States’ inability to catch up with the rest of the First World and provide some sort of basic universal coverage for its citizens. As much as many of us would like to see something like that happen, I’m afraid that it won’t until more Americans begin to take better care of themselves rather than handing that responsibility off to doctors, politicians, health insurers and drug companies. While Stemle understandably highlights the greed of the medical, insurance and pharmaceutical industries as well as the impotence and/or complicity of our political leadership as reasons for the persistence of the status quo, like many of his sources of information, he neglects to recognize the pervasive lack of personal responsibility as a key factor that is consistently left out of the debate.  Sure, it’s easy to point to other countries that have successful universal-privatized healthcare systems in place and then wonder why we don’t, and then try and throw all the blame on Washington, Big-Pharma and the big-bad-wolf insurance industry. But let us also not forget that the typical sofa-bound, TV/Internet/video game-addicted American eats more sugar, fat, salt and caffeine in one sitting than the average Scandinavian does in a month. Tom Menendez, D.C., SellersburgGettin’ A GripWell, it is obvious that Jim Welp is not very gay. Very queer, yes, with all those tongue-in-cheek obscene comments about everyone without enough money in the commonwealth who he does not like. Obviously he has not traveled very much off of the bluegrass if he believes that the Vatican and Singapore are not wealthy, highly successful city-states.Much less even to begin to compare Louisville — my chosen home — to their fiscal power, architectural grandeur and/or cosmopolitan nature. Let me give him a clue: Every time the price of an ounce of gold or a barrel of oil goes up a buck, they probably increase their wealth — conservatively — by the total of the two-year Kentucky budget. Get a grip, dude.I have a serious question for Welp. If you are really as concerned with how our money is being allocated by Frankfort, as we all are, tell me how can you justify the cost of spending hundreds of billions of dollars at all levels of state and federal government on HIV/AIDS research and treatment programs when it just affects less than 5 percent of the population? The velvet hammer?It really does depend on whose ox and where it’s getting gored, as it were, doesn’t it, Welp? If they just had AIDS/HIV instead of no teeth. Shame on you for the cheap shot.We do not even have to go to the U.S. Constitution; what a silly goose he truly is.Joseph C. Kopacz, LouisvilleSeceding RegretsA suggestion for a future article: Print which minorities/populations it is acceptable to be bigoted about and which are not. I want desperately to believe that Jim Welp simply got carried away, and now that it’s in print, he’s shaking his head and saying to himself, What was I thinking? It’s OK to make a mistake. But fix it immediately, please. And if this finds him feeling a bit defensive and not able to see what he’s done, he should take some time soon to think about whether or not such writing is about building up or tearing down. Which better fits with LEO’s mission? Welp is an excellent writer and could have made his point without it being at the expense of others. Rob Toney, LouisvilleHit The Road, JimI am a 27-year-old artist living here in Louisville. I grew up in Inez, a town of 600 people near the border of West Virginia. I received my education from this state’s most prestigious institute of higher education. (It was certainly not in Jefferson County.) I knew early in life I was not in the right place. The pace of life did not suit me. That said, all of the values I learned growing up there stick with me to this day. Louisville has become my home. I love it here. I am active in causes that make this community and our world a better place to live. Many people in this city, Jim Welp included, would be served well by having been taught those same values. Violent crime was rare, nearly non-existent. I was taught not to be a hypocrite. I respect people regardless of their differences. Calling someone a redneck because they come from another part of this state is offensive and derogatory. It is no different than calling a homosexual an unkind word that begins with “f” or a black man the “n” word. It makes you a bigot just like the people you have decided to stereotype. I am disappointed not only in you for writing an article full of offensive message-board hyperbole, but also in the LEO for running this garbage alongside actual news. My advice to you is that if you truly favor not being a part of the state of Kentucky, pack your bags and leave.McKinley R. Moore, Louisville