To the Editor:
Until last week, I thought I had seen it all in local politics. Then I read Jackson Baker's Politics column ("The Air War," April 25th issue) in which he reports on the redistricting efforts by Marilyn Loeffel of the Shelby County Commission and Wyatt Bunker of the Shelby County School Board with regard to the latter's district lines.
Perhaps what made this act so reprehensible is Loeffel's and Bunker's lack of contrition about their efforts to ensure that the district in question included someone of their political leaning. "They did it for me, and they've done it for lots of others" was Bunker's defense.
Voters should seek fair representation rather than support schemes that are unfair and attempt to gain disproportionately large representation and political power for any group at the expense of others.
Sam Cantor, Memphis
To the Editor:
Tom Tomorrow's This Modern World, published in your April 25th edition, makes a good point concerning the psychodrama of the Middle East, largely financed by overburdened American taxpayers. In the early 1970s, a popular song asked, "War: What is it good for?" The answer remains the same: "Absolutely nothing."
Why not stop financing insane wars like those in Vietnam or the Middle East? In 1975, Congress cut off billions of dollars that fed the war in Vietnam. Congress can do the same in 2003. First, cut from the 2003 budget the $4 billion per year given to various Arab dictatorships in the Middle East (starting with the PLO and Egypt and Pakistan). Then cut off the $4 billion per year budgeted for Israel. Apply these savings to reduce taxes or to improve the Social Security program or to raise military pay so soldiers don't have to depend on food stamps. Peace would break out again as it did in 1975. We can then explain to the war profiteers that the Middle East decided to have a war, but the taxpayers are burned out. Because, as a famous victim of Middle East violence once said, "Blessed are the peacemakers." Not those who finance endless war.
Phillip Stephenson, Memphis
To the Editor:
I am simply appalled by David Catrow's editorial cartoon (April 25th issue). Even though I do not practice any organized religion today, I grew up within the Catholic faith. I do have opposition to some teachings of the church, and the acknowledgment of priests degrading their status by their actions is highly deplorable. However, Catrow's representation is disgusting and uncalled for. The priests who have inappropriate relations should be punished and stripped of their positions, but attacking them in such a crude manner will not help or solve the problem.
I have known wonderful priests and I have known priests who constantly wrestled with their personal demons. I cannot condemn them, but I pray that they admit their guilt and that they find peace within themselves. The church must also bring recompense to those injured parties and find the best solution to this problem.
Glenn Mellen, Memphis
To the Editor:
In the past few weeks, I've read numerous articles that have asked the same question: Can the Catholic Church move into the 21st century?
They're kidding, right?
This is the church that brought us the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, and the Crusades; whose priests wear flowing robes, burn incense, and chant in a dead language; that decorates its altars with statues of the mutilated corpse of its god; that preaches from a holy book filled with ghosts, giants, demons; that treats women as inferior beings; whose pope rules by divine right and has superpowers like infallibility.
Can the Catholic Church progress into the 21st century? They must start by moving out of the 11th.
Michael Conway, Memphis
Correction: An item in last week's Flyer incorrectly referred to Strange Cargo as a digital film. We regret the error.
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This week it starts in earnest — the questioning. You can't escape it. It comes from your spouse, your kids, your parents — at the breakfast table, in the car, on the phone, via email: "What do you want for Christmas?" ...