Letters for November 22, 2007

Sack dumb athlete stereotypes

Re “Recruit smarter players?” (SN&R Letters, November 15):

Michelle Kunert’s letter attacking the diversity suggested by your writer [of “Sack State” by Nicholas Miller, SN&R Feature Story, November 1] is preposterous. Lowering requirements is not a part of increasing diversity. Rather, increasing diversity improves the learning environment, providing a tool for bettering education. One cannot learn without the experience of knowing people different from oneself. Indeed, learning profoundly increases the more one is exposed to diverse cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds.

Countering the letter writer’s second argument—that football is for dummies—football, and other team sports, not only teach the lesson of self-discipline and work ethic, but assist other people in the classroom with understanding teamwork.

Frank Graham

Incomplete picture of Iraq violence

Re “Will my family survive?” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Feature Story, November 8):

Just one question about the article on Fadhil Al-Kazily: Why is it that the Civil War between the Sunnis and the Shi’a is not even mentioned?

All the killing is attributed to Americans killing Iraqis. But what about the terrible slaughter we read about and see on the news related to that civil war, the struggle for power between those two groups? The Americans are surely responsible for starting it all, but the picture painted by Mr. Al-Kazily is very incomplete.

Steve Elias

Bush is to blame

Re “Will my family survive?” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Feature, November 8):

While Fadhil Al-Kazily worries about his family, George W. Bush sits in Washington, D.C., contemplating his legacy. With a rubber-stamp Congress, he invaded Iraq and the occupation is a continuing disaster. The Treasury is bankrupt and the deficit is expressed in numbers often used in astronomy. He savaged the Constitution of the United States, the document he took an oath to defend. The legacy of George W. Bush—to be the worst president in the history of our republic—is assured, and we have had some doozies.

I still believe in the America I knew before 9/11. Just as Germany paid a terrible price for the blood-letting of Hitler’s Third Reich, we will, to a lesser degree, pay a price to repair the damage done by Bush’s inept crusading and failed policies. It will be painful and expensive to regain our former identity and place in the world, but I have hope.

My sincerest condolences to Fadhil Al-Kazily and his family.

Dale H. Hypse

Thanks. We liked it, too

Re “Will my family survive?” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Feature, November 8):

I want to commend SN&R for the outstanding quality of its November 8 issue. I found the lead article, “Will my family survive?” heart-rending. Those by Dr. Bill Durston (“Make healthy kids, not war,” SN&R Essay), who challenged Rep. Dan Lundgren in the 3rd District, and Donna Lee (“A mother’s story,” SN&R Feature Sidebar) about the woman’s soldier son in Iraq, are eloquent testimonies to the havoc this barbaric war continues to wreak on that unfortunate country, and on the economies and welfare of us all.

We are fortunate here in Sacramento to have a free weekly such as SN&R, whose progressive reporting and editorial policy are dedicated to informing its readers about the major issues we all need to be concerned about.

Leon Lefsen

Peace all over

Re “A mother’s war” by Donna Lee (SN&R Feature Sidebar, November 8):

I read with interest the recent article that featured local peace activist Zohreh Whitaker. No one likes war, and certainly we can all empathize with a mother who wants her children home safe and alive.

However, the real irony rests with what “peace” activist Whitaker does when she isn’t getting arrested for protesting the war in Iraq. Ms. Whitaker is also a well-known and longtime volunteer escort for our nation’s No. 1 killing business, Planned Parenthood. Just last year, SN&R featured another article on Ms. Whitaker’s volunteer efforts at Planned Parenthood in Roseville (“The morning after” by Rachel Gregg, SN&R News, February 9, 2006).

Every day in our country, including in our own community, thousands of innocent American lives are intentionally, deliberately, and gruesomely killed by this business, leaving many women to suffer for a lifetime, which is incredibly inconsistent and hypocritical for a so-called peace activist. When we consider killing an innocent child a “choice” or—worse yet—a “right,” can we ever expect peace in the world? Nothing about abortion is peaceful and women deserve better.

I am very grateful for her 33-year-old son Christopher’s courageous and unselfish service to defend our nation and protect innocent Iraqi citizens as a trained Army medic. He is an adult who chooses to risk his life to serve others; while in contrast, his “peace-loving” mother helps women “choose” to kill their unborn children. How sadly ironic. While Ms. Whitaker is a member of “Grandmothers for Peace,” her pacifist position would have greater credibility if she would someday realize that true peace begins in the womb.

If Christopher is reading his O’Reilly and Coulter books while home this November, I seriously doubt he shares his mother’s view on abortion, either. Someday soon may there be true and lasting peace, both in Iraq and here at home, consistently in defense of all human life.

Thank you, Christopher, for your service.

Wynette Sills

Porn’s not to blame for dysfunction

Re “Sex slaves” by Liz Cazares (SN&R News, November 8):

Even though I read with interest the article concerning Jack Nordby and his recovery from porn addiction, I thought I should write in and address some of the distorted views and statements that his story carried.

Nordby’s description of the origin of his porn addiction includes a dying mother and a missing father figure. It’s a recipe for dysfunction in any child’s life; porn was just Nordby’s solution. He also mentioned the detrimental effects that his addiction had on his life, especially in the interpersonal realm with his wife, which ultimately led to a divorce. From this personal experience, he now asserts the outrageous statement that “watching porn … leads men to look at women as objects, makes sex into an animalistic urge and takes intimacy away from marriages.”

I’ll be the first to admit that a majority of porn titles and categories on the adult market do demean women in one fashion or another, but that simply does not imply that all porn does. There is not only feminist-directed porn, but in many situations the viewing of porn also can be beneficial in restoring the intimacy in relationships. For example, in most formats of sex therapy when overcoming a variety of sexual dysfunctions, therapists will advise clients to view adult films in the hope of assisting them with arousal and intimacy issues.

And on another note, the last time I checked, when discussing the evolutionary aspects of human nature, one of our most basic “animalistic” drives is that of sex. Just because we walk on two legs does not mean that we are no longer cavemen and women in some respects.

I was quite amused with Nordby’s statement that “Forty-eight percent of Christians deal with porn addiction.” Not only did he fail to provide a reference for his statistic, but he also failed to look at the larger picture of why his statement might ring true. May I remind him that many Christian denominations look down on sex in general and porn in particular, so what would anyone expect these people to do? Any introductory psychology course would explain that people tend to investigate what they are told to avoid; therefore, it’s not surprising to find that a good portion of Christians are stuck in porn. Where the hell else are they supposed to explore sex?

Statistics also indicate that financial difficulty, not porn addiction, is the leading cause of divorce in this country. And when comparing pedophiles and their child-obsession with law-abiding adults who choose to watch porn in the privacy of their own homes, he makes an ignorant, generalizing leap.

Elizabeth Rowell

Who’s the best Mormon?

Re “Would you send your child to jail?” by Keleigh Friedrich (SN&R Higher Ground, November 8):

I was surprised to read the statement by a fellow Latter Day Saint—a bishop, no less—promulgating absolute obedience to government under the belief that governments are ordained by God and all laws must be obeyed. He makes it clear that if he caught his teenage son having sex with his girlfriend, he would turn them in to the police if that’s what the law required.

Most Mormons understand that when God exhorts obedience to the law, he is certainly not referring to every whim of the legislature, but only that which is consistent with his “Perfect Law of Liberty,” the law which is binding primarily on those we depend upon to protect our rights and privacy. Our scriptures teach us that it’s nothing less than evil for government to arrogate outside of its carefully defined limits (Doctrine and Covenants 98:7), and our scriptures and history testify to the dangers of condoning it.

For any Mormon to turn that doctrine on its head and suppose we owe blind allegiance to any government—especially when it encroaches into familial or ecclesiastical spheres as this one does—is to advocate worship of the state over the Creator, an idolatry that can be expected from this bishop, who we learn in the article depends upon the state for his sustenance. By working as chief of staff to a California Assembly member by day, then serving as a minister of God on nights and weekends, Bishop Jasperson is serving two masters. His day job has colored his judgment.

As a bishop, Brother Jasperson is privy to confessions of sexual indiscretions confessed to him by teenagers who seek guidance and counsel from a man they presume to be ordained of God for that purpose. Will he now have them arrested?

The other two pastors quoted in the article made statements consistent with true Mormon teachings when they noted their primary covenants are to Jesus Christ above the laws of man, and that governments are frequently predisposed to evil and should oft times be resisted.

These non-Mormons are better Mormons than the Mormon.

Rock Waterman