Letters for March 11, 2004

Civil unions—separate but unequal

Re “A Bush wedgie” (SN&R Editorial, March 4):

Reality wedding TV shows and celebrity Las Vegas annulments cause one to question the logic that legalizing homosexual unions would violate the sanctity of marriage, as did last week’s SN&R Editorial.

Both Republicans and Democrats seem to fear the consequences of appearing too liberal by espousing the radical belief that all citizens of the United States deserve the same rights. Republicans can cite Bible passages twisted to fit the argument, while Democrats choose to take the undercover approach by promoting the “separate but equal” philosophy of civil unions.

This kind of discourse should strike disgust in anyone who recalls the civil-rights struggle that has plagued our country since its colonization. What causes such blatant bigotry among the leaders of our freedom-loving country? Here are the facts: This is an election year, and with all of the world’s turmoil, American politicians are discussing how to further marginalize sections of our society through religious moralizing.

The question is: Which wealthy corporations and political-campaign contributors would stand to lose money if marriage for all was legalized? Gay marriage would allow more people access to their partner’s insurance benefits, thus costing the insurance companies. Not such a coincidence, considering the millions of dollars in political contributions insurance companies make in any given year.

Becky Allen

Bible quotes can be manipulated

Re “A Bush wedgie” (SN&R Editorial, March 4):

President Bush and the religious right like to cite the Bible as their rationale for opposing same-gender marriages. Since these bibliolaters want to codify the definition of marriage according to the scriptures, why not accommodate them on their proposed constitutional amendment?

Aside from providing that marriage is between a man and woman, it could codify that a marriage is only legal if the wife is a virgin. If not, she is to be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22: 13-21). Here’s a clause a lot of men would like: Husbands may have concubines in addition to a wife or wives (1 Samuel 5:13, 1 Kings 11:3, 2 Chronicles 11:21). Of course, divorce would not be allowed (Deuteronomy 22:19, Mark 10:9).

Surely, no religious person could object to the above provisions. After all, they are in the Bible. As for the secular folks, Dubya and the fundamentalists know what is right for you.

James G. Updegraff III

Tanks for the tax

Re “Vehicle fees by the pound” (SN&R Guest Comment, February 26):

Don Petron’s ideas about an extra tax dependent upon the weight of the car is excellent. It makes sound sense for the environment and for the budget, since the popularity of SUVs and refined “tanks” has reached epidemic proportions.

We should support his idea in any way possible.

Kala Haley
via e-mail

Remediation is better at the U

Re “Multiplication fables” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, February 19):

We share Jill Stewart’s concern about student literacy in the California State University system; however, the CSU system is much more than simply a subsidy for rich and middle-class kids. Historically, the CSU system has been the entry point for students from working-class families into the mainstream of economic and social life in California. A moving moment at CSU Sacramento commencements has been when the president asked those students who were the first in their family to graduate from a university to stand.

The decision to alter our policy from “reducing the need for remediation” to “reducing remediation” by redirecting remedial students to the community college is a major change in the mission of this university. At CSUS, we could potentially lose 70 percent of the freshman class—the most diverse part—and become, in effect, an upper-division institution. The close connection between the lower-division curriculum and the upper-division curriculum would be eroded.

We know that 30 percent of the students who enroll in Los Rios community colleges hope to transfer, but only 4 percent actually do transfer. CAMP, a program that serves Latino students, has a 70-percent retention rate at CSUS; in the community colleges, it only has a 17-percent rate. Therefore, it’s not simply a question of postponing students’ enrollment; many students would never survive the “sink or swim” culture of the community colleges, a culture created by the colleges’ lower funding rate.

Community college basic-skills classes cost much less because they have class sizes of up to 45 students, lack adequate program coordination and rely on part-time “freeway fliers” for instructors. In contrast, university programs currently have all the elements that foster retention of under-prepared students: a strong academic program with highly committed teachers, cutting-edge curriculum, support for program coordination, supplementary academic support, advising and mentoring.

Serving these students in the CSU system should remain a high priority, even in times of budget crisis.

Dan Melzer
university reading and writing coordinator, Department of English

Robby Ching
director, learning skills center

California State University, Sacramento

What would Satan do?

Re “Keep the candidates’ faiths personal” (SN&R Guest Comment, February 19):

Quoting Paul’s warning about men “masquerading as apostles of Christ,” Norris Burke wants a president who’s competent rather than Christian. Since this warning referred to those pretending faith in Christ, how does this counsel apply to choosing a president? Note an event reported by Luke.

Satan once visualized for Jesus all the governments then in power, telling him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So, if you worship me, it will all be yours” (Luke 4:6-7).

Was he lying to one who had been with God before Earth or human governments existed? Jesus doesn’t repudiate his claim and three times stated Satan is “the ruler of this world,” and that “The whole world is under the control of the evil one” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 17:5).

If Satan controls the whole world, which includes its politics, would a Christian involve himself in its government?

Ecclesiastes 1:15 says, “That which is made crooked cannot be made straight.” No human can straighten this crooked system. Jesus said to pray for God’s kingdom to come, for then his will would be done on Earth as it is done in heaven, perfectly (Matthew 6:10). What then? “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7). I vote for him.

Diane Church

SN&R needs to look for alternatives

Re “Republican family feud” by Jeff Kearns (SN&R Cover, February 12):

I always believed that SN&R represented the “other view,” the unrepresented voices of the community. Where has that voice been in the 3rd Congressional District?

Gabe Castillo is running there. Has SN&R picked up on that fact? The major newspaper in town fails miserably in its fair and balanced reporting of the candidates, not mentioning Castillo until the week before the election.

So, where is SN&R? It should be proud to highlight Castillo, a candidate that is not dangerous to the community’s future, as at least two of the three Republicans who ran in the 3rd Congressional District primary demonstrably are.

If SN&R is the “alternative” paper, it should be reporting on Castillo, the alternative candidate. (Imagine that—a conservative Democrat being the alternative candidate!)

The people of the 3rd District are reasonable, educated citizens who turn out to vote. They actually read and research before they go to the polls. SN&R, which is actually read in the 3rd District, is letting down these readers by not mentioning Castillo.

Phillip Wister


Re “The fury and the furry” (SN&R Bites, February 19):

An item that described Angelo Tsakopoulos as a “no show” at this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. dinner was inaccurate. The Robert Matsui Community Service Award recipient was, in fact, present, but his son made the acceptance speech on his behalf.

Re “Hacking Diebold” by Jeff Kearns (SN&R News, February 26):

Beverly Harris’ Web site is www.blackboxvoting.org, not www.blackboxvoting.com, which is owned by her Internet publisher. Also, Harris actually posted only 24 Diebold memos on her Web site; the link to thousands of others was posted by a visitor to her message board.