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July 22, 2009

Inbox — July 22, 2009

Letters to the Editor

LEO Weekly 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 Inbox, 640 S. Fourth St., Suite 100, Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to leo@leoweekly.com. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.

Shame on Jerry

Last Monday, it was revealed that Mayor Abramson had negatively described pre-merger Louisville as “poorer, blacker and older” to a West Virginia news outlet. When looking at this quote, I acknowledge that a growing city would covet prosperous citizens (not poorer) and a young, vibrant workforce (not older), but the notion that a less black Louisville is a better Louisville offends me to my core.

I write this letter because I am concerned little will be made of his remarks beyond a one-day news cycle. While I do believe a double standard against Republicans does exist in the media (imagine if a Republican officeholder had said the same thing), this is more about a mayor too many people seem content to carry water for. How else do you explain Metro Council President and supposed African-American leader David Tandy’s complete lack of response to an incredibly racially charged statement? Wishing that the mayor had merely said things “more artfully” implies he agrees Louisville would be better off if it were less black. Am I the only one left scratching his head at this response?

And yet, I also write this letter to say much of that double standard is the fault of the modern Republican Party. We have done a poor job of reaching out to minority voters. And while our past is checkered with victories for the minority communities — such as the Civil Rights Act that would not have been passed without the support of a Republican-controlled Congress — my political party founded by abolitionists has been unable to shed the shameful and racially charged Southern States Strategy of the 1960s.

As chairman of the Jefferson County GOP, it is a sincere passion of mine to steer the Republican Party toward communities we have historically, although not intentionally, ignored. I have spent time in these communities during my tenure and will continue to do so as I find we have much more in common than we think.

Let’s turn Mayor Abramson’s unfortunate and offensive remarks into a positive by beginning a much overdue conversation in this non-election year. For those so moved, e-mail at bradford.cummings@gmail.com.

Brad Cummings, Fern Creek

 

Singled Out

I have just read Stephen George’s Jerry’s Kids column (LEO Weekly, July 8) and have a question. Craig Greenberg is identified as a “young, bright Jewish lawyer.” Following that are mentions of Kevin Kramer, Hal Heiner, Kelly Downard, Ken Fleming, Steve Pence, Bobbie Holsclaw and Anne Northup. None of them are identified as Catholic, Baptist, Protestant, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Jehovah’s Witness, Evangelical, Wiccan or whatever.

My question is: Why was only the Jewish person’s religion identified? This may not have been written with anti-Semitism in mind, but it sure got there.

Charlie Bensinger, Highlands

 

Editor’s Note: Greenberg’s pedigree bears remarkable resemblance to that of Mayor Jerry Abramson — both began their political careers as young, bright lawyers working for powerful local firms, both are tied to major development projects, both have high political aspirations, and both happen to be Jewish. The reference was meant to suggest that, and was not intended as anti-Semitic.

 

Love Thy Hippie

Enough with the hippie bashing already ...

The number of times I heard the phrase “dirty hippies” at Forecastle last weekend is probably equivalent to the number of SoCos I downed while bartending. Yeah, I’m a bit of hippie myself, but not exclusively. I enjoy indie music and the hipster scene, even though I can no longer squeeze into your skinny jeans. Had it not been for those twirling dervishes, I wouldn’t have made enough money bartending to spread my loot around to the local artists and other vendors at the festival, and J.K. McKnight might be more challenged to draw an even better lineup for next year’s event.

And while I wasn’t around to partake myself, let’s not forget that hippies were at the forefront of the Civil Rights and Feminist movements and should be credited for having fueled the large outdoor festivals like Woodstock and the Monterey Jazz Fest. Without them, you might still be dressed in poodle skirts and pantyhose, listening to show tunes and sipping your local brews from segregated sections at Cumby’s.

Virginia Smith, Highlands

 

Only One Solution?

To say that casino gaming is our only hope shows a troubling lack of imagination. How about prostitution, or just regulating the “massage parlors” we already have that offer “with release”? Or better yet, how about opium dens? Maybe build a giant Kentucky-Proud Soylent Green plant. These would all be much more unique to the region than yet one more place to go gamble.

Tony Hammond, Iroquois Park

 

Commending Commitment

Attn: Joe Phelps: I’m glad you’re not in the Southern Baptist Convention. The fact that churches like yours — that started seminaries, schools and hospitals — are now “excluded” from the SBC is not because the convention became more conservative, but because they returned to their historic convictions. Highland Baptist has a history worth celebrating, but a history made tragic by the slow erosion of conviction by time, cultural pressure and darker forces.

The result is bizarre and arbitrary interpretations of scripture. The same Jesus you quoted in your recent column is the one who spoke more of hell than heaven, who promises to return riding a white horse and carrying a sword. The Jesus who said, “Let the children come to me,” also warned of how he’d say to men, “Alas, I never knew you,” before casting them out into the darkness.

The evangelicals in the SBC respected God’s word enough to realize that they had no right to pick and choose. It’s either God-breathed or it’s not. The elements that were cast out in the ’80s were the ones who went with the flow of Western culture, accepting as eternal truth the decrees of academia over the Bible’s many-thousand-year claims. They couldn’t leave Jesus altogether. So they devised a thousand schemes to determine what was actually the Bible and what wasn’t. These choices created an emasculated book that can neither condemn nor save.

Where I resonate with my SBC brethren is their commitment to the Gospel. God is unfathomably holy, we are desperately sinful, and Jesus Christ makes a way on the cross to save us from our sins. Where decline continues, it is because of distraction from that essential message — liberalism, conservatism, moralism and a whole host of secondary agendas distract from the essentials.

I’m the first to cringe at some of the SBC’s cultural backwardness. Their marriage to the GOP is a tragic distraction from the Gospel. But ultimately, it’s their commitment to the Scriptures that gives me hope. While I pray that those changes happen, I pray that their commitment to God’s word and to the weight of the Gospel never lets up.

Mike Cosper, Germantown 

Not so commending

By brotherroy
While I appreciated the writer’s observations regarding the marriage of the Southern Baptist Convention and the GOP as being a distraction fro the Gospel, he faults Joe Phelps and Highland Baptist Church for engaging in “picking and choosing texts” while engaged in the very same enterprise. Though the author is certainly entitled to his opinion, he does engage in character assassination without knowing the character of the person and church of which he speaks. Rev. Phelps can defend himself quite ably, but as a member of Highland Baptist Church, I found myself unable to see my church in the writer’s description. Since I don’t know the writer, I will refrain from attacking his character or motives. But I can say that his description of Highland Baptist as a church with “a history made tragic by the slow erosion of conviction by time, cultural pressure and darker forces” is not the Highland Baptist I know. The writer accuses Highland Baptist of forsaking the Gospel, a serious charge for one Christian to level against another group of Christians. This is apparently because, in the writer’s opinion, Highland Baptist picks and chooses which biblical texts to follow. I would observe that most all Christians pick and choose, and perhaps some fruitful discussion might be had regarding what we believe to be the priorities of Scriptures. While I don’t speak for Highland Baptist, as a member I can state that it is a church which loves God, and believes that persons need to experience God’s love in their lives, and we have formed a community which attempts in a multitude of ways to do just that. We offer services for and with those addicted to alcohol and drugs, we feed the hungry, we offer comfort and support to members and non-members alike. Most importantly, we believe in the transforming power of the Gospel to change lives. Yes, we are a different kind of Baptist church, and we certainly have our differences with Southern Baptists, but as fellows Christians we are called to not bear false witness. So can we agree, let’s not attack what we don’t know.