Letters for March 17, 2005

Thou shalt not mislead

Re “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” by Jamie O’Neill (SN&R Essay, March 10):

The subtitle on this article was “Reducing Christian beliefs to nine words is a tricky business.” Hey, that’s cool if that’s the angle the author wants to take, and I’m not arguing with his right to do so. In fact, I believe the argument itself has some merit. But shouldn’t writers at least understand the context of the passages they use so that they don’t mislead the reader? From the reference to “Thou shalt not kill” to the message of Luke 14:26, O’Neill shows a total lack of understanding of scripture.

Granted, some of O’Neill’s article was tongue-in-cheek, but that’s not a good enough excuse.

O’Neill and others with his worldview like to take Christians to task for both oversimplifying and overanalyzing scripture to get what they want out of it. But he’s just as guilty as those he criticizes, and that’s a shame. An even bigger shame is that the ill-informed are now misinformed about what the Bible actually says and means.

Tyler J. Wade
via e-mail

A good life—and death

Re “A good death” by Robert Speer (SN&R Cover, March 3):

What a wonderful story of the human spirit—that of all the persons involved: Stephen Keale, his remarkable outlook on life, seeking a comforting way to accept his imminent death and giving of himself to the corporation he helped put together; Marty and Charlotte, Stephen’s parents, supporting him with their love, dedication and determination to allow him the dignity to live his life as normally as possible, considering his unfortunate health issues; and—equally heartwarming—his wife, Susan, and her complete understanding, acceptance, compassion and willingness to make their relationship and subsequent marriage work for them, on their terms and time limitations.

I was intrigued with the perspective Robert Speer chose to write this story. I enjoyed this article and the others within your publication. This is the first time I picked up a copy of SN&R; I will be seeking it out the next time I am in Sacramento.

Nicky van Nieuwburg

Control immigration, save on welfare

Re “Whose welfare?” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, March 3):

As a legal immigrant, I am responding to Jill Stewart’s column.

Stewart mentioned many reasons why California spends on programs and welfare more than its tax revenues. All these are the result of exploding population growth driven mostly by record levels of immigration. Most low-income families in California are illegal immigrant families. Education and welfare programs given to legal and illegal immigrant families cost California taxpayers billions of dollars a year.

Responsible elected officials in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., should deny benefits to illegal aliens and bill legal immigrants for welfare given to relatives they brought in. In addition, a moratorium on mass immigration should be adopted. Otherwise, the law-abiding middle-class Californians will shoulder most of the costs.

Yeh Ling-Ling
executive director, Diversity Alliance for a Sustainable America

Respect your elders

Re “Whose welfare?” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, March 3):

In Jill Stewart’s latest column, she left out a whole group of people in discussing the rent-assistance program.

There are many thousands of low-income senior citizens who live on less than $10,000 per year. Many I know personally live in Sacramento.

When they were made aware that the governor intends to limit this program, the stunned look on their faces was heart-wrenching. I know many elderly people living in Midtown who live in daily fear that the Bush administration, as well as our governor, will be cutting the programs they live on.

Let Stewart go downtown to the Capitol Park Hotel and see the people who look forward to their rent subsidy as the only small boost they’ll get to their measly incomes.

Stewart, like so many, needs to be reminded that the redistribution of income, starting in the 1930s and 1940s, led to the creation of our vibrant middle class and reflects the true Christian principle of sharing.

Max Biddle

Medi-Cal’s cheaper than the alternative

Re “Whose welfare?” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol punishment, March 3):

I can only comment on things I know firsthand (unlike Ms. Stewart’s policy to comment on everything under the sun).

Medi-Cal recipients do not have it easy; our access to health care is a joke. Nobody takes it! I couldn’t even find a general practitioner to take me on as a patient. I go to a low-income clinic, where I am fortunate to receive wonderful health care from doctors who will have to fight tooth and nail to get paid for their services.

Apparently, I’m fortunate to live in the state with “the No. 1 monthly checks for individuals on SSI.” What Ms. Stewart neglects to mention is the amount of those checks: between SSI and SDI, I get a whopping $810 a month. I am living large! Sometimes I can’t buy food; SSI recipients are not eligible for food stamps. After I pay my rent and bills, I am lucky to have grocery money for the entire month.

And, while I do receive free health care, I’d like to point out what would happen if I didn’t. I would be an untreated diabetic with bipolar (and schizophrenic tendencies), and those illnesses do not do well untreated.

I know Ms. Stewart doesn’t think someone like me deserves free health care at the taxpayers’ expense, but if I wasn’t properly medicated, I have a funny feeling I’d be costing those taxpayers a lot more. The prisons are full of mentally ill people, as are the streets. Who ends up paying for them? The state and the taxpayers, yes; but at a much greater cost than Medi-Cal and SSI.

Name withheld by request

Let ’em leave

Re “The great Natomas land rush” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Cover, February 24):

I’m outraged that a group of greedy landowners are going to ask voters to sacrifice thousands of acres of valuable agricultural land and wildlife habitat just to keep a stupid basketball team in town. If the whiny Kings don’t like Arco, then let them leave!

Jeff Utberg

It’s not a choice …

Re “Stop bashing Christians …” (SN&R Letters, March 10):

In his letter to the editor, Tim Swickard states, “Science has irrefutably proven that sexual ‘orientation’ is behaviorally, not genetically, controlled.” Oh, really? And where did Mr. Swickard find these studies?

I’ve read similar “scientific” facts in The Watchtower, the magazine of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but their sources are dubious at best. Gee, I must have missed this huge scientific find with its gigantic implications. I thought the human genome had only recently begun to be studied and understood.

Not unlike most religious doctrine, Mr. Swickard contradicts himself. To argue that gays can fight their homosexual urges and change their ways, he uses the existence of a genetic predisposition to alcoholism that can be controlled or held at bay by the affected individual. First he says there isn’t a genetic link to homosexuality and then he admits, through his analogy, that just like alcoholism, there is a genetic predisposition for homosexuality that can be controlled.

Which one is it, Mr. Science?

The alcoholic faces a life of misery and trouble if she or he doesn’t control or quit drinking because of the debilitating effects of the drug. I guess it’s the same for the homosexual: If she or he doesn’t control the urge to fall in love and make a life with a same-sex partner, she or he, too, will face a lot of misery and trouble. The only difference is that the trouble won’t come from the effects of a drug, but rather from a narrow-minded, heavily religious, backward and intolerant society.

Wayne Schiller

… or if it is, he doesn’t remember making it

Re “Stop bashing Christians …” (SN&R Letters, March 10):

Mr. Swickard’s letter claiming that homosexuals “choose” to become such is, of course, replete with the same flimsy set of pseudoscientific generalities that one always finds in such arguments. However, given our society’s attitude toward homosexuality, would Mr. Swickard please enlighten me as to why any man would “choose” to become homosexual?

If there is, as Mr. Swickard claims, a conscious act of volition, then there must be a reason for this choice. Furthermore, perhaps he would share with us his own sexual “epiphany,” the moment he “chose” to not be homosexual? Was it leading up to his high-school junior prom? “Let’s see, Bruce is a pretty cute, sexy guy, but Mary’s a pretty cute, sexy girl. Gosh, a tough choice, but I think I’ll invite Mary.”

All I know for sure is that I’m heterosexual and couldn’t begin to tell you why. Guess that’s the way my genes work.

Donald Negri
via e-mail