Letters for April 13, 2006

Nazism not among the church’s sins

Re “Fruits of religion’s labor? War.” (SN&R Letters, April 6):

Ms. Diane Church asserted that “religion backs war.”

Apparently, she meant to say Catholicism, because she presented a laundry list of myths and half-truths about the Catholic Church’s actions leading up to World War II.

She claims that Franz von Papen and Hermann Goering received communion from Pope Pius XII himself in April 1933. That would have been quite a trick, since Cardinal Pacelli wouldn’t become Pius XII until 1939, and Goering wasn’t Catholic; indeed, Goering, as head of the Prussian Interior Ministry, banned all Catholic publications in February of that year.

It’s true that Cardinal Theodor Innitzer and other Austrian bishops signed a statement welcoming the Anschluss. But he was immediately denounced by Vatican Radio and reprimanded by Cardinal Pacelli, who ordered him to make a retraction that stated he did not have the backing of Rome. Pope Pius XI, recognizing the Nazis for who they were, issued the encyclical “Mit Brennender Sorge,” the strongest condemnation of a government the Vatican has ever issued.

In the last century and in this one, the Catholic Church has been one of the strongest voices calling for peace and the value of every human life. It’s true the clergy have many sins to answer for. Their sins are enough without the spreading of slander like that of “Hitler’s Pope” and other nonsense. But I learned a long time ago that when it comes to the church, people much prefer to traffic in myth and folklore.

Kevin Beckman
via e-mail

SN&R promotes Sac’s self-esteem

Re “Comix relief” by Becca Costello (SN&R Feature Story, March 30):

I’m typing this on a Friday night; I have a life, but I’m reveling in this moment in time to demonstrate how worthy the March 30 issue is of my attention. It is perfect evidence of how SN&R is absolutely the best journalism available in this town, far more than the census will ever correctly show. It’s reason for me to not scoff at my own residence in a city that shares a name with my least favorite mega-conglomerate newspaper, a name also including a bug known for transmitting a horrible allergic consequence of stinging.

This great issue of SN&R promotes literacy, something that quite nearly makes me blush. I maniacally enjoy the concept of literacy; the Chronicle promotes literacy, as an expectation of a reading public that might do the same.

So, here it is: Thanks for giving your reading public due props for making that extra little effort to dive into the printed page. As a main feature, you have a writer/artist (Carol Tyler), and then you’ve got an interview with one of the more highly respected novelists of our time, Don DeLillo [“DeLillo’s in the house” by John Freeman]. Nice! And then at the end you took the time to pummel Jay McInerney [In the Mix: Book] and praise Neko Case [In the Mix: CD]. Excellent! All this, plus the killer local-music-scene coverage, leaves me constantly impressed, front to back. Your paid competition should be happy to grace the bottom of my fireplace so completely.

Keep up the good work. You may be this city’s greatest source of honest self-esteem.

Paul Wiltz
via e-mail

A disappointed generation

Re “Young and broke” by Julie Foster (SN&R Words, March 30) and “Patriot games” by Delaine Eastin (SN&R This I Believe, March 30):

I was personally touched by both these articles. I agree fully with Ms. Eastin regarding our schools. As a past employee of Sacramento City Unified School District, I personally witnessed the deterioration of our schools and buildings, and the lack of education to all children.

As the capital of California, Sacramento should be the leader in investing in all children and their education. Our generation has definitely been a disappointment with regards to the education of all.

Now businesses are downsizing (better known as “internal outsourcing”—contingent, freelance, part-time or contract employment). In other words, no benefits, no security and, gee, no invitation to the Christmas party. Well, let’s put all this information together. What are we offering our future generations? “Crap.” Give it time, and we will all be flushing the same toilet.

Nora Cota
via e-mail

Founders had private educations

Re “Patriot games” by Delaine Eastin (SN&R This I Believe, March 30):

Former California Superintendent for Public Instruction Delaine Eastin is correct that investment in education is a large part of America’s success. But let us go even further back than Abraham Lincoln’s establishment of land-grant colleges.

The founding generation was educated privately. That may not have been a bad thing. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough, “It is a sad, sad, but true fact that the literacy rate in the state of Massachusetts in 1798 was higher than it is in 1998.”

It is egregious folly to exclusively fund the vast government education empires we have today. To do so is to level down and standardize what should be a rich and varied landscape of schooling opportunities. I would go further: It is unpatriotic to stay the present course.

Tom Shuford
Lenoir, N.C.

Greene rocks, and so does his drummer

Re “Out of pocket” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Trust Your Ears, March 30):

Jackie Greene rocks!

Your reviewers have now recently slammed music that features members of Sacramento’s two hottest bands ever (Tesla and Cake), Sacramento’s best songwriter (Jackie Greene) and Sacramento’s best drummer (Bruce Spencer). For the record, Jackie Greene’s live band rocks! Sex On Sunday’s CD is over-the-top, and Spencer is Sac’s best drummer.

Jackson Griffith criticized Spencer’s drum sound on an intimate song when Spencer wasn’t even playing drums. He played a cajon. Spencer has toured with the Jerry Garcia Band, Wynonna Judd, Roger Smith, Jimmy Smith and Willie Weeks. Tesla and Cake are simply our area’s best ever! It is Griffith, not Spencer, that needs seasoning.

When SN&R writers torch bands and musicians of this caliber, SN&R has zero credibility. Maybe Jackson Griffith and Christian Kiefer can emcee your music awards this year and call them the Slammies.

S. Luwisch

Are there only faith-based coats?

Re “What?! Religious content in SN&R?” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Essay, March 23):

Mr. vonKaenel is leaving kids out in the cold.

He uses the analogy of an “empathy coat store” to explain how parents and children alike might visit SacYouth.com and find the coat (the faith-based organization) that fits them. “It’s a cold world without a coat,” he writes.

Yet Mr. vonKaenel’s coat store neglects kids of parents with naturalistic worldviews—the secular humanists, agnostics, freethinkers and atheists. At SacYouth, there are only faith-based coats.

I felt confusion and disappointment when I read this essay. SN&R claims to cater to “smart, open-minded, contemporary people.” Why not include all groups sharing a positive moral message with families in the community?

As progressives, many of us with a naturalistic worldview support the secular ideals of humanitarian outreach. I applaud Mr. vonKaenel’s vision—Sacramento youths need engines of empathy (to coin a phrase) to help them through troubled times.

Engines of empathy like Atheists and Other Freethinkers (http://aofonline.org), which was selected by Caltrans as the 2003 District 3 and North Region Adopt-A-Highway volunteer of the year, has assisted the secular Davis Community Meals Program for over six years and hosts monthly educational meetings, along with co-sponsoring the annual Sacramento Darwin Day (February) and Freethought Day (October) events with the Humanist Association of the Greater Sacramento Area (http://hagsa.org).

I look forward to the day when SacYouth.com clothes all children in coats of empathy. Please restore my faith in this paper’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Kevin Schultz
Citrus Heights

Talk shows as political pulpits

Re “Dial left for liberal” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R News, March 23):

This piece on local Air America talk radio begs one important question: Should any government-licensed broadcaster be allowed to become a political pulpit, espousing a certain political ideology throughout its programming lineup? These stations are granted lucrative licenses by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use our publicly owned airwaves with the expectation that they will serve the public interest. Is the public interest being served by pumping out a stream of predictable, politically biased commentary day in and day out?

In Sacramento we have several talk-radio stations that are not serving the public interest. Most are conservative; some are liberal.

Locally, the politicization of broadcasting is being challenged by the Sacramento Media Group, an affiliate committee of California Common Cause. It’s working to promote higher standards for broadcasters licensed to use the public’s airwaves.

Roger Smith


Re “The conversion of Judge McGrath” (SN&R Feature Story, April 16):

The declaration of Bruce Samuelson’s sister cited as an exhibit to the Morales clemency petition was later withdrawn from the petition by Morales’ attorney after it had been submitted to the governor’s office. The information contained in the declaration has not been disputed. This story has been modified on the Web site.