Letters to the Editor

Praise, potshots and picky parochialism

A joyful noise

What an awesome article Detroitblogger John wrote on Peacemakers International ("Desolation angel," Jan. 26). I have known Pastor Steve for 20 years. You could not have picked a better guy to put out there. He is as true-blue as they come, and he is of a special breed! He was my pastor for years, and I still consider him my spiritual father. He is the one who mentored and discipled me into the Christian I am today. He is known by thousands of people and is doing work that not many will do. Thanks for doing what you did. The article could not have been written any better. It is definitely writing worth reading — awesome is the word that comes to mind! God bless you! —Andrew Barnes, Saint Clair

Mass unrest

Re: Jack Lessenberry's "Straight shooters" (Jan. 19), once again, Jack Lessenberry ruined an otherwise entertaining (and almost persuasive) polemic with a non sequitur — and one that hit a little too close to home this time. While excoriating gun enthusiasts who turn to the Second Amendment whenever they feel threatened, he likened their paltry understanding of the Constitution to "Roman Catholics in the old days repeating Latin incantations they didn't understand."

I will happily ignore the inappropriate use of the term "incantation" in this context, but I must call the professor to task for perpetuating a common and erroneous myth: When the church gloried in the timeless perfection of the Tridentine Mass, not only did Catholics comprehend every word that was spoken, they could easily turn to a translation in a missal if their grasp of a particular word or phrase was weak. Furthermore, the use of Latin was not a ploy to keep the faithful ignorant, but a comforting reminder that they belonged to a universal community that required a lingua franca — a common speech that was both historically relevant and aesthetically pleasing.

If Jack needs any visual (or audible) proof of this, I'll happily send him a schedule of those parishes in the Detroit area that still celebrate the Mass in the language of Augustine, Tertullian and Boethius ... and Dante, Villon and Shakespeare. After all, nothing docet like experientia. —Robert del Valle, Royal Oak

More harm than good

Thanks to Metro Times for publishing Larry Gabriel's column, "Crisis on the corner: Should we legalize drugs to save the hood?" (Jan. 19).

When we reach the point in public drug policy discussion that we actually put the drug war (Prohibition II) under the microscope, its associated harms will be seen to be far more damaging to our social fabric than any amount of drugs — legal or illegal.

Michigan State sociology professor Carl Taylor's moaning does not belie the fact that only because of the drug war do we have police in cities and towns across the U.S. raiding private homes like armed thugs. While they may be armed with weapons and search warrants, their cause is corrupt and a serious threat to liberty's principles. For cases less drastic than what we have happening to us at the hands of our own government in our nation today, our founders felt compelled to boot out the British.

No longer can we be called the "Land of the Free" when we have become the "Land of the Most Incarcerated."

Portugal has decriminalized all drugs and is seeing successes in both health and law enforcement issues. Switzerland has had the HAT program (Heroin Assisted Treatment) for more than a decade, and their drug crimes have seen phenomenal decreases, and needle-borne infections have plummeted — a success all around.

Yet here we are, knee-deep in debt, and we continue to arrest hundreds of thousands of people a year for cannabis possession. Being broke is fixable. Being broke and stupid is usually disastrous, if not completely fatal. —Allan Erickson, Eugene

Bible study time

I am sympathetic to your views on marijuana, but, in your attempt to rely on the insights of the Bible to make your point, you have gotten your facts wrong. When the biblical God spoke of herbs, he was talking mainly about things like cinnamon, chicory, cooking herbs and so on. He was not referring to cannabis sativa.

Check out these scriptures before discussing the Christian perspective on the regular use of marijuana: Genesis, 3:18; Numbers, 11: 18; Luke, 9:23-25; Galatians, 5:19-21 and Ephesians, 5:13.

And then there is the issue of heroin, or opiates in general, which our pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies push as an antidote for physical pain. Is that not a classification of drugs that is highly addictive? Trying to make arguments without having done adequate research is absurd. Get to know the Bible and its viewpoints before citing it as a source when making an argument. —Karen Mulhern, Lincoln Park

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