Letters to the editor

  • Wednesday December 21, 2011
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Letters to the editor

Archbishop's decision is ironic

Many thanks for your article on Janie Spahr and others being disinvited from Advent services, in particular vespers at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in the Castro ["Gay clergy disinvited from Castro Catholic church," December 15].

I should first say that I am a longtime friend of Janie's and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) as an openly gay person in 2005. For me and many others, Janie has been a guide and steadfast servant of the faith she holds dear; a faith that tirelessly calls her to welcome all. She would be the last person on earth to exclude the archbishop from one of the services she was leading or a church of which she was a part. In fact, she would welcome him with open arms and an embrace. That's Janie. That's the difference.

The irony that the disinvitation by the archbishop is referred to as reflective of and in harmony with the time of Advent and the theme for vespers is stunning and incomprehensible; that is unless the leadership is driven by an irrational fear and dislike of the LGBT community (many of whom are members of Most Holy Redeemer). If we agree that hatred is an irrational dislike toward others " this borders much too close to a demonstration of the illness of those in power than the welcoming, hospitality, and love upon which the Christian faith is founded. And, the message to the community is sad and dangerous and filled with fear.

For it is true, that every time a member of the LGBT community, its friends and supporters is excluded, marginalized, or otherwise dismissed because they are gay, every time, those implementing such rulings, edicts, or practices become complicit in the violence toward the LGBT community, a violence now endorsed by a church's or church representative's hateful position. Just based on that alone, it would have been a much more prophetic and courageous decision to come together.

And, perhaps, that last of ironies is that the time of vespers at Most Holy Redeemer which now teeters on the theme of exclusion is, in fact, the poorest of reflection of Advent one could hope for.

Again, thank you for your reporting.

Reverend Ray Bagnuolo

New York City

Concern over homeless death

Thank you for writing that story about that homeless man who died in a doorway on Castro Street ["Homeless memorial day sees problems, progress," December 15].

We were visiting San Francisco from Calgary, Alberta that week. And we walked by him for a few days while staying at a place near there. We were very sad to see what happened. Really a terrible thing. It was very touching to see how someone responded and put up that sign and a small memorial.

I certainly hope that one day this will be an isolated incident and not a common occurrence. I always hope that there is a better future for the homeless people in North America. Maybe one day.

Thank you for shining a light on this.

Lucie Vlach

Calgary, Alberta

Judge's questions say a lot in DOMA case

It wouldn't be a surprise if you or I wrote the following words. But it is very powerful that a federal district court judge " one who is not gay himself, which seems to matter to our opponents " did write and read them in open court Friday: "The fact that marriage traditionally has been defined as between a man and a woman merely describes what has been. ... How does codifying this description (of a long-standing tradition) constitute a (rational) justification ... for restricting marriage?"

And how proud we can be that the U.S. Justice Department representative of the president (the assistant attorney general in person, in court) completely agreed with Judge Jeffrey S. White.

From the theoretical to the specifics: "How does the withholding of federal benefits to children of families with same-sex parents encourage responsible parenting and child rearing?" And "How does the sharing of benefits with another group of lawfully married (homosexual) persons denigrate the importance of the benefits already conferred upon ... heterosexual lawfully married persons?" To which even the Republicans' lawyer had to agree he couldn't and wasn't making that argument (any more).

This is in Karen Golinski's case where she " and you and I " are represented by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Charlie Spiegel, Esq.

Former Board Chair, Lambda Legal

San Francisco