January 21, 2009

Inbox — Jan. 21, 2009

Letters to the Editor

Correction

A piece in the Dec. 17 LEO Weekly “Loserville” article incorrectly stated that Frolio’s Pizza was closed. Located at 3799 Poplar Level Road, Frolio’s has been in business 42 years and is going strong (call 456-1000).

Stinging Hypocrisy

I continue to be amazed at these self-righteous religious types who think their evangelical religion is a bastion of morality (regarding “Queer Ain’t Christian” by Mark Weatherholt in the Jan. 14 LEO Weekly). As a proud gay man who grew up in Louisville, I’ve often felt the sting and fury of these pseudo-Christians, as have countless other minorities through the years, from African slaves to Native Americans to Chinese immigrants. It isn’t pretty.

I remember the early days of AIDS in Louisville, when men and women were dying every week. Most of the men were gay, and many of the women were drug users. Early AIDS activists looked around furiously for help from anyone, including the churches. Not a single evangelical church stepped forward. Were it not for the good nuns from the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, these people wouldn’t even have had a nursing home to go to.

On the other hand, when a student from a local evangelical seminary visited Glade House, a home for people with AIDS, to help out, her school almost expelled her when they found out.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” I wholeheartedly agree. Most gays and lesbians I know try to follow the teachings of Christ religiously, and there are a few good Christian churches in this city that live up to the name and accept us. As for the rest, I don’t think even Christ himself would be caught dead in them.

David Williams, Old Louisville

Queer Religion

I noticed a letter in the Jan. 14 LEO Weekly Inbox section that I feel compelled to respond to. In Mark Weatherholt’s letter, he attempts to defend the idea that marriage is meant for only a man and a woman. I feel that Weatherholt needs to understand that using the term “queer” to defend his opinions on marriage is ridiculous. Perhaps he does not understand that the term queer in and of itself was intended to be a derogatory term for homosexuals; however, much like the term once commonly used to demean African Americans, the homosexual community has internalized it and turned its meaning into something akin to a badge of honor, using the term amongst our fellow community members to express our solidarity and our pride for having suffered at the hands of such mindless bigotry.

In short, what Weatherholt is attempting to do is justify his position on same-sex marriage by misusing a term he so clearly does not understand.

He goes on in his justification by invoking the concept of marriage as seen through the eyes of the “Lord our God” — which is fine to use to define the concept of marriage within your own household, or to use the definition amongst those who think and believe the same way as yourself. The problem begins when you start to force others to define the concept of marriage in that same way. I do not consider myself to be a Christian and should not be forced to define my relationship in those terms. This is exactly why our god-fearing Founding Fathers inserted the idea of a separation between church and state, to avoid a majority group imposing their beliefs and their will upon a minority that may, with equal conviction, feel exactly opposite.

I would challenge Weatherholt to defend his opposition to same-sex marriage without invoking any religious ideology. It has been my experience that once you remove the ability of those who oppose same-sex marriage to hop on their religious high horse and keep the topic strictly within the bounds of human rights, you find the argument quickly disappears.

Scott Howard, Old Louisville

Obscene Gibberish

This is a response to the letter from Louis Blase in the Jan. 7 LEO Weekly. I respect his opposition to gay rights. I even acknowledge that reasons might exist to support his point of view. But you won’t find any of them in his letter.

The attack on Kate Welsh is full of the obscene gibberish that oozes from right-wing talk radio. Sadly, and as Mr. Blase’s letter proves, this toxic psychobabble corrupts meaningful debate and puts a premium on bigotry.

When bozos like Rush Limbaugh have conniption fits about “you and your kind,” who can they mean? Is it gays, immigrants, blacks or women, or is it just whomever they are supposed to bully that day of the week?

Their sadistic intolerance never seems to change. Only the marching orders do. Just when America made us think these clowns were no longer fit for survival in the 21st century, the bullies are back, except now their complete lack of self-awareness is slightly entertaining, in addition to being tragic.

Chris Hoerter, Highlands

Kudos to Kate

Kudos’ to LEO Weekly for Kate Welsh’s column. I always enjoy reading what she has to say. Her column is well written, well reasoned and thought provoking. Her point of view as a young gay female is something that all of us liberals and conservatives — whatever your politics — should listen to.

The issue of gay marriage is highly controversial. Any long-term family law practitioner like me will probably tell you that at the very least, some sort of civil union for gays and straights in long-term relationships should be the law. When long-term non-marital relationships end, the courts need more guidelines to sort out property issues, in particular.

To me, what is important is not gender when we consider relationships. What is important is the emotional commitment the parties bring to the union. In an increasingly fractured society, sanctioning long-term gay relationships by allowing marriage can only help our community’s stability.

Write on, Kate.

Joseph Elder, Highlands

Bewildered Park

As an active participant and organizer of Friends of Otter Creek Park, I am bewildered by the interview with Mayor Jerry Abramson in last week’s LEO Weekly, wherein he briefly speaks of closing Otter Creek Park, which will provide the city $180,000 in savings.

Mayor Abramson implies that by shutting the park to visitors, he is saving it by generating interest. While it’s true that our group in particular did not exist before the closure was announced, it’s a bit of a stretch to say closing OCP has generated a positive effect. Mainly, this action has saddened, frustrated and angered a large number of people from across Kentucky and Indiana — and the world beyond.

Why wasn’t any action taken by the mayor before Dec. 2 to keep the park open? Certainly the economic downturn that Louisville has been suffering through was not unanticipated. Why was there no effort to find revenue from other sources, whether in the form of entrance fees, additional recreational fees, membership fees, donations, partnerships, etc.? Louisville has a number of private/public partnerships dedicated to serving its citizens. The Olmsted Parks Conservancy, in particular, could provide a model for how citizens could be better involved in operating the park.

Whereas many of the other interests affected by the mayor’s budget cuts are organized, until now nobody spoke for the many people who use and love Otter Creek Park (which attracted some 500,000 visitors per year). Our group, which consists of some 6,000-plus members from all over the world, came together as an ad-hoc gathering of approximately 300 citizens at the park on Dec. 7.

The Friends of Otter Creek Park is ready, willing and able to work with Mayor Abramson or any other official, organization, charity or group interested in reopening Otter Creek Park to the citizens of Louisville and the city’s many visitors. Mayor Abramson, we’ve got serious questions to be answered, and we’re hoping to hear from you. Look us up on Facebook.

Joel Hunt,
 co-chairman, Friends of Otter Creek Park

Greening Jerry

I enjoyed the interview with Mayor Abramson (Jan. 14 LEO Weekly). I never thought he would be the mayor of Louisville while we were attending Seneca High School, back in the Stone Age.

I think the mayor was sincere and correctly pointed out that some folks are self-centered and refuse to deal with reality (the nation/city is busted). I was disappointed that green issues were not brought up in depth. Louisville has atrocious air quality, which the mayor ignored until some outside scientists were brought in for their research a few years back. Most importantly, our country and Louisville has to think mass transit from this point on. We cannot continue to build more roads and bridges and expect everything will be OK. A true civic leader thinks 25 to 50 years into the future. I hope the next mayor will be more visionary.

Bill Tribble, Georgetown, Ind.

Enraged and Engaged

I read Mayor Abramson’s characteristically verbose interview with great interest. In it, he says he thinks “citizen engagement” is great but “citizen enragement” is bad. He defines the latter as “not sharing the facts” or “framing the issues in a way that enrage [sic] rather than involve.” How ridiculous!

In truth, the episodes that have upset the mayor most — the library tax, the bad deal he negotiated and rammed through on the Center City project, and his exercise of absolute and arbitrary power over taxpayer money for things like the Downtown Development Corp. — are instances in which citizens got the facts and then got involved. The mayor is not used to that and doesn’t like it.

The mayor then asks, “Where are the people who said, ‘Don’t worry about the libraries’?” If he wasn’t trying to enrage rather than involve, he would have to honestly admit that no one ever said that. And if he and his library director had not petulantly delayed providing a revised library plan to the Metro Council — something that only just belatedly took place — those who do worry about the libraries would be further down the road to doing something about them. If the mayor’s plan had passed (which it didn’t after citizens got the facts and got involved), Louisvillians would be laboring under a new tax during this economic recession.

The fact that the mayor chafes so much when citizens dare to disagree or question him on matters involving their money just goes to show that he has been in power too long. Perhaps the next time he goes to Washington, hat in hand, begging for federal money, the new president will ask him to stay. Then new and fresh-thinking leadership can be a possibility.

In the meantime, we citizens of Possibility City have every right and reason to be enraged.

John David Dyche, Lyndon

 

Enraged

By Ed Springston
Well said Mr. Dyche. The fact is the Mayor is not used to being questioned on anything and it would seem for many he doesn't have enough kool aid left to go around anymore. Some of us will continue to question bad decisions and priority concerns for the betterment of OUR Louisville. Ed Springston Louisville News and Politics