Welcome to My Church
After reading Tim Appelo's article ["Saints and Winners," April 6], I have one question for him: With only 25 percent of Christians in the United States fundamentalists, would he consider visiting one of the 75 percent of us who are not? He stated, "When red-state evangelicals start driving hybrids to church, you'll see more blue in the pews." I would like to invite him to join those of us Christians who believe that when Jesus said, "Love your neighbors," it gave us some guidelines for social justice. In my denomination, I am pleased we have Social Principles that inform our members on how to live socially responsibly in modern times. I would welcome Appelo and others who feel strongly about social issues to come and spend a little time with folks who are more like-minded with them than they may think at church on Sunday.
Rev. Lisa Anthony
Kennydale United Methodist Church, Renton
Religious, but not right
Tim Appelo's review of Jim Wallis' book was helpful until he trotted out every bad religious stereotype ["Saints and Winners," April 6]. There are many of us who are religious but aren't part of the religious right. That's a concept Appelo doesn't seem to want to wrap his self-indulgent mind around. Many of us, including, I suspect, Wallis, don't agree with Tom DeLay or George Bush on much of anything. There are many of us religious folks who think Roe was a travesty, want commonsense restrictions on abortion, and also want gun control. We believe the Ten Commandments are a good thing—do all of them really chap your ass, Tim?—and also think the "death tax" should be brought back; we're for better funding of public schools, and we're also against prayer in public schools—we don't want some pagan praying over our children.
As far as teaching creation in the public schools goes, how about a recognition that a study of origins explicitly raises thorny questions, like: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? Telling a child he or she is simply reconstituted swamp gas might make secular ideologues happy, but how do they then convincingly demonstrate to that child that burning, raping, and pillaging are wrong? At least Tony Soprano, nominal Catholic that he is, feels guilty when he kills someone. That may not be much, but it's a start.
Tim Appelo wrote a very nice piece on the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners ["Saints and Winners," April 6]. Sojourners was politically active and preaching the social gospel in the early '70s. Koinonia Farm did the same in the 1940s. Harry Fosdick did it in the 1920s.
The point is that the fundamentalists are latecomers to applying the Bible to social issues. Fundamentalist theology was not even developed until the beginning of the 20th century. Mainstream Christians in America have been doing so since the 1750s, when the Quakers started asking for the abolition of slavery. Now fundamentalists are stealing the name, ceremonies, and good reputation of Christians to promote their right-wing political agendas.
Arlington Heights, IL
Thanks for Park, Paul
The article "A Gift That Gives Back" [March 30] unfairly characterized Vulcan's contribution to South Lake Union Park. The Seattle Parks Foundation believes South Lake Union Park will benefit the city and the entire region by providing valuable open space within the urban core, all-too-rare access to water activities, a magnificent venue for events, and opportunities for learning about the culture and history of the neighborhood. Vulcan shares in this belief, and without Vulcan's contribution, we would not be able to begin the first phase of park construction this November.
After nearly three years of working with neighborhood and business representatives to complete a design for South Lake Union Park and lay the groundwork for raising the $20 million in private funds necessary to develop it, the parks foundation needed a partner to jump-start our campaign with a lead contribution and enable the park to move forward. The parks foundation sought out and found that partner in Vulcan.
Vulcan's contribution to the park will fulfill its obligation to "'develop a minimum of 20,000 square feet of new space' in the neighborhood for cultural use." Given the rich cultural and maritime history that South Lake Union Park will showcase, the parks foundation was thrilled that Vulcan was able to fulfill its obligation to the city by contributing to the park.
South Lake Union Park will be an unbelievable hub of activity, where park-goers can enjoy the model-boat pond, explore the historic-ships wharf, have a family picnic, launch a kayak, or sit at the water's edge and enjoy the lake. With all the opportunities the park will offer to its visitors, we fail to see how "the mysterious billionaire might be the one to benefit most. . . . " All of Seattle will benefit from this wonderful park.
Executive Director, Seattle Parks Foundation
Keep Gannon Going
Thank you to Steve Wiecking for attempting to bring the Jeff Gannon story further into the mainstream light [Small World, "Too Much, Not Enough," April 6]. I am astounded that the mainstream media has all but buried this story and it has had to be kept afloat through alternative weeklies and Internet message boards.
I am astounded, yet I am not. Nothing this administration does surprises me anymore. I have no doubt they are behind it being buried. Someone needs to blow the lid off of this administration's dealings. Bush's sheep continue to drink the Kool-Aid that he serves them daily, while America pays the price.
What Republicans fail to understand is that the left's hatred for Bush is not a right vs. left thing; it's a right vs. wrong thing. If they were more concerned with practicing morality, versus preaching it, maybe they'd have allowed this story to come to light.
Milk, Cookies, and Density
Knute Berger seems to think that urban density and kid-friendly neighborhoods are mutually exclusive [Mossback, "Village Idiots," March 30]. A lot of Americans think that. However, having recently visited Amsterdam and Copenhagen, two incredibly dense cities that have virtually banned automobiles from the urban core, I can vouch for the fact that kids and density can go together like, well, milk and Oreos. On the pedestrian-friendly streets of Amsterdam and Copenhagen, there are baby strollers everywhere. If anything, it's cars that contribute to a feeling of unsafety as much as perceived vulnerability to crime. Copenhagen, with its large, pleasant pedestrian district, not only encourages people with strollers and everybody else to, well, stroll, it has even managed to make pedestrians feel safe enough to wander around and window-shop after dark.
A certain degree of density is necessary to sustain a car-free (and family-friendly) culture. Will Americans ever be willing to give up their cars and give the joys of real density a try (before global warming and oil shortages force us to, that is)? Not bloody likely.
Bobbi Dykema Katsanis
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