I am so very impressed that a journalist and editor wrote a letter to you. (BW, Jan. 12, Mail, Spuds and duds ... a dud) Really, for Joy Alger (or is it Anger) to give her opinion that "opinion pages" are not the place to insult or debase one's readers ... Has Joy ever read Maureen Dowd in the New York Times? Ms. Dowd constantly insults many of the Times readers when writing about the Bush.
Don't let Debbie Gallagher's holier-than-thou letter (BW, Jan. 5, Mail, Churches and the Poor) bother you. The moment she wrote that she was associated with the Vineyard "Church," she lost all credibility.
Consider who else is associated with the Vineyard "Church": Nathan Dennis Mansfield and Michelle Brandi Swindell, two of the worst religious scofflaws in Boise history. Those two zealots have cost taxpayers untold thousands of dollars. That money could have gone to help people.
Mansfield, who has championed every homophobic, misogynistic, right wing agenda the national religious Reich ever conceived, is probably the worst offender. Who can forget the misnamed Idaho Family Forum which he co-founded with that paragon of marital virtue, Helen Chenoweth-Hage. Bill Cope (BW, May 18, 2000) aptly described the IFF as "... the organizational equivalent of those eyeless, brainless tube worms found living off hot gases and random flotsam from deep sea volcanic vents."
After all the failures in Mansfield's life one would think he would (as Christ admonished) take a vow of poverty, move to some third world country and devote himself to helping the poor. But, as Bill Cope pointed out, "... let us never underestimate the survival instincts of an individual accustomed to living on a steady stream of donations." No doubt one could say the same of Swindell.
According to The Idaho Statesman, the Vineyard "Church" has given Swindell's anti-choice organization office space. This is hardly the action of a caring, compassionate church.
As to Gallagher and the Vineyard "Church": as long as they support the likes of Mansfield and Swindell they will have to live with the shame truly moral people feel for them. Maybe if they all took a vow of poverty and moved to a third world country we could take their publicity-seeking "compassion" seriously.
--Gary L. Bennett Emmett
George Washington: "If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."
Thomas Jefferson: "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."
Benjamin Franklin: "It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority."
Theodore Roosevelt: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
William Fulbright: "In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith."
Edward R. Murrow: "We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it."
John F. Kennedy: "Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed--and no republic can survive."
Wow. Who knew those guys were traitors?
It's time to check in with you Bush voters. Especially you "moral issues" motivated types. Feeling good about your continued support for Bush Co.? Then perhaps one or two of you in the Booster Club would like to explain how it is that in less than a year we have gone from the national shame of Abu Ghraib to the likely promotion of Alberto Gonzales; a chief architect of this administration's diabolical torture policy.
Abu Ghraib was simply the result of "a few bad apples," you say. Then perhaps you can pull your head out of the sand long enough to explain the recently released FBI files documenting prisoner abuse, torture and even death in Gitmo, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The America I believe in (and let me be clear that it is a different place than Bush's America) has promoted a zero tolerance policy regarding torture. Period! No waffling on the issue allowed! Those who do not get this concept are not fit to lead this nation's Justice Department. So how about it, Bush Co. Booster Club, can you describe the moral compass that Bush uses to make all this seem OK?
I can't. All I see is a travesty of justice: one that renders us all complicit as long as we let these self-serving ideologues get away with it.
It's completely disheartening when I remember that "four more years" hasn't even started yet. God help us all.
--George Giroux Ketchum