Jack: Love what you do, and I totally agree with you about Bishop Tom Gumbleton ("Sour grapes and sick cardinals," Metro Times, Dec. 27).
I happen to be a permanent deacon in the Roman church (in a technical sense only). I was ordained in 1983 and worked for a parish in Southfield for 10 years or so. They canned me too, as soon as I publicly protested the church's stance on women (can't be on the altar), the divorced (sinners) and non-Catholics (oh my god!). Didn't even get to the gay issue, as we had a remarkable priest there who did that ... who's no longer with us.
So, on it goes with Catholicism.
I once read a great article by a Jesuit (they actually dare to think) entitled "Why Liberal Catholics Should be Happy with Half a Loaf," a title I like almost as much as my farewell homily's label: "When Something Stinks, You Should Say Something About It."
At any rate, the article made a terrific point, and that is the fact that conservative Catholics will never leave, because in their minds, there is no place else to go, besides hell, of course. So they end up in power positions while the liberals end up in the outposts. Ken Utner in Saginaw is a good example, as is Bishop Gumbleton.
So we have but one consolation, and that is that they have so undermined their own authority with stupid things like this, that the ranks keep thinning at least among the educated. At the same time, the typical renegade Catholic is looking elsewhere, and that is a hopeful thing, because the truth will indeed set one free. Brian Black, Novi
Not above the law
Kudos to Mr. Lessenberry. He pointed out what so many proponents of affirmative action have failed to realize: Law is law, regardless of whether you like it or not. So for those of you who continue to support it, well, go back and fight for it! Heck, I'll even back you up. (Yes, much to my own shock and amazement, I voted against Proposal 2. Despite my earlier, stated issues against it, a good friend helped give me the broader picture of what affirmative action can and does accomplish. And while I still feel it's a divisive issue, until the day comes when everyone is truly equal, I'll stick with it.) Jonathon Kecskes, St. Clair Shores
The doctor's downfall
I read Jack Lessenberry's article on Jack Kevorkian ("Dr. Death gets out of prison," Metro Times, Dec. 20). While I agree that his idea to wake people up to a growing problem was a laudable one, the good doctor fell victim to his own ego, assuming that he and only he could make those judgments (despite what he said). Also, if you were to look at his life objectively, you might think twice about what he has to say. Andrew Peter Keith, Detroit
Pelosi pulls the strings?
I'm kind of surprised that you never invoked two magic words that, more than anything else, would have explained why the normally intrepid congressman John Conyers is moon-walking away from his former bellicosity on impeachment: Can you say "Nancy Pelosi"?
While Conyers is right in his assertion that there is no bipartisan support for brooming Dubya out of office, as a veteran of the Nixon and Clinton impeachment follies, he knew that when he was making the case that President Bush might be committing high crimes and misdemeanors against the Constitution of the United States of America.
Conyers is backing off now because Pelosi, who, before the election, seemed to be, at least indirectly, in tune with the idea of investigations that might lead to impeachment, made it clear that impeachment, under any circumstances, is off the table. Good soldier that he is, congressman Conyers fell right in line.
As a matter of fact, Conyers is so in tune with the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives, that, two weeks ago, he told Spotlight on the News' Chuck Stokes that the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), the group that he co-founded, would be well-advised to ensure that its agenda is in lockstep with that of the Speaker Pelosi. To my knowledge, such a statement is unprecedented.
Given that, it might behoove folks to spend a bit of time finding out more about Speaker Pelosi and her agenda for the Democratic Party. Despite all of the pre-election woofing, especially by Conyers and Pelosi, what's the probability that this Democratic agenda will be challenging, progressive or, God forbid, radical? Larry Hightower, Detroit
Prison isn't the answer
I enjoyed Curt Guyette's insightful article, "Juvenile injustice" (Metro Times, Dec. 13). I do hope that it is read by those who can effect constructive change in several areas addressed in your article. I still remain a bit perplexed about how to prevent the violence that fosters the problem. Given our culture's seemingly endless fascination with violence, I see the problem escalating in spite of harsher sentencing guidelines. I, for one, just don't think the answer lies within the judicial system but is actually well-hidden from us in plain view. I just hope we are able to address the real issues before our judicial system feels compelled to impose even more draconian rulings. Otis Henderson, Detroit
Got what he deserved
Curt, my friend, what were you thinking when you wrote this story about Damion Todd? You honestly believe that this violent criminal should be released? My guess is that you have never lived in the city of Detroit or you have never been a victim of a violent crime. Well, I have, and Damion Todd got what he deserved. He can say he is sorry and has changed but the deed is done. Your article basically states that 17-year-olds really can't comprehend what pointing a 12-gauge at a crowd of people and pulling the trigger will do. My 6-year-old cousin could tell you what would happen. You really could have made better use of the ink and paper you wasted on Damion Todd writing about the thousands of nonviolent drug offenders wasting away in the prison system. Derek Murtagh, Hamtramck
Riding a cat
In Brian Bowe's review of Yusuf Islam's new album ("The Cat's back," Metro Times, Dec. 13), he states that "people rode him unmercifically" about his conversion to Islam. Actually the riding was about the fact that he was reported to have made comments that seemed to support a fatwa calling for the death of author Salman Rushdie, but he claimed to have been misinterpreted. He may well have been misinterpreted, but that was the reason. Actually I thought that he was a Sufi, which is a more mystical branch of Islam, and not a fan of fatwas. Vance Johnson, EastpointeSend letters (250 words or less, please) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.