Letters from the week of March 31, 2005


Founding Fathers would quake: I just read your article titled "Religious Wrong" (John Dougherty, March 17). I have to say that I have never been so offended by a piece of writing.

It contains outright hatred for those who are trying to stand up for what they believe in. You might find this difficult to believe, but the majority of Americans, including college students, do not want columns about sexual positions published for all to read. And they don't want such columns paid for by taxpayer money.

What you call an attack on the First Amendment I call an attempt to return to the core values that built America. The Founding Fathers, who formulated the First Amendment, would be appalled at how the amendment has been misused to publish garbage.

I also take offense at your use of "separation of church and state," an invented phrase not sponsored by the founders of this country.

To link Representative Russell Pearce to polygamist groups in Colorado City shows a complete lack of understanding. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), to which Mr. Pearce belongs, is not affiliated with polygamists and denounces the practice of polygamy today, despite what you think you know.

Finally, while you take the other side's word without doubt, you take shots at Mr. Pearce's integrity by saying "he claims."

I cannot believe that you would want your name associated with such filth, and I hope you do more homework on your subjects before making blatantly prejudiced comments in the future.
Ryan Butler, via the Internet

No sexually explicit photos: I just wanted to clear up the information about the State Press Magazine's weekly "Sexual Discourse" piece. It doesn't really gauge students' sexual techniques as much as it gauges student opinion on sexual topics. It has included topics such as protection against STDs, safety during spring break, and abstinence-only education.

It has never included sexually explicit photos. Rather, it runs with portraits of two students to whom we talk. The photos never have included nudity or anything indecent. The only photo Pearce could have been referring to is the breast cover showing a pierced nipple from October.
Amanda Lee Myers, editor-in-chief, State Press Magazine

Rally against Religious Rightists: You are absolutely right about religion and politics. I'm just about as fed up with religion and the right-wing agenda as anyone. I say we line up one ASU student after another to rally against Russell Pearce and his buddies Ira Fulton and Michael Crow. Enough is enough!

I've already started by e-mailing this nut Pearce a copy of the First Amendment and the section about religious encroachment on the state. This constant attack on our rights and freedom has got to stop.
Joe Covert, Phoenix

Dougherty spews bigotry: I realize that this was in an opinion column, and I realize that LDS people may lobby to diminish or lose ASU's party-school image. Nevertheless, the article was full of shock tactics that cannot be taken literally.

Ira Fulton has not overtly "made it clear that he wants [Michael] Crow to . . . transform the campus into the southern branch of Mormon-owned Brigham Young University."

And automatically associating a legislator, with whom the author disagrees, with some crackpot group in Colorado City is not based on enough fact to be considered a viable opinion.

And it is bigotry to argue that the views of Mormons are not valid in themselves but are based on fear that someone will associate them with the Colorado City group that technically hasn't had a Mormon in it for 115 years.

And it is naive to relegate any religious person with an opinion as someone who doesn't have any understanding of or value for the First Amendment.
Colin Jensen, San Francisco

Zero tolerance for wackos: Excellent article on the Religious Right and ASU! Many of us are resigned to living in a conservative state, but we are not resigned to rule by wackos.
Chuck Lakin, Phoenix

Polygs ain't real Mormons: You should know that polygamy is not a practice of the Mormon Church. There is no such thing as a "fundamentalist" Mormon enclave. If you practice polygamy, you are not a Mormon.

I know that those who do practice think they are Mormon, but it's pretty much an immediate disqualification (that is, you are excommunicated if you practice polygamy). Polygamists' actions should not be considered when describing Representative Russell Pearce's feelings and actions.
Matthew Wilson, Columbia, South Carolina

Beacon of free speech: I just wanted to say, keep up the good work! New Times continues to be a beacon of free speech in Phoenix. Our First Amendment rights are under attack by the conservatives in this country. You continue to tackle the subjects that nobody else would even touch. Keep fighting the good fight! Put the press back into the hands of the people.
Matt Meier, Phoenix

Student suffers nipple-shock: I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see this kind of sloppy propaganda in New Times. I am both a member of the LDS and a student at ASU, so already it would appear that I have more insight into the topic of "censorship" of the State Press from a Mormon perspective than does John Dougherty.

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