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Canine Mutiny

Letters from the week of June 27, 2002

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Kemper tantrum: Regarding Mark Kind's Kansas City Strip (June 13): Nice story. It goes to show you that the Kempers are no angels, like they seem to think. Couldn't they have talked to the dog owner about this instead of wanting to kill it?

As they are also trying to kill our area racetrack, they deserve the bad publicity. It lets people see how they really are.
Name Withheld Upon Request


Bad Religion
Judge not: Regarding Deb Hipp's "Love Worn Out" (June 13): I loved Deb Hipp's article exposing the self-hatred being taught at a church that I have attended to see a Passion play. It's not being gay that makes these children "broken"; it's being told that God won't love them if they continue to be who they are that leaves them broken. I believe that if parents truly understood how damaging this message is, they would protect their children from it.

Many laws, rules and supposed opinions of God surround the Bible texts that reference homo behavior, and these rules often go unnoticed by the zealots. It's easy for a straight person to say that being gay is an abomination, but they lie, eat pork, use God's name in vain and have premarital sex every day. I consider myself lucky to still have faith in God and my Christian identity. Many gay people I know have turned away from God after being convinced by society or their own church that God doesn't love them. How terrible that shortsighted, self-important people can so easily rob people of something so vital to their spiritual survival.

If Jesus were here now, he would have been at the Gay Pride festival. Not lecturing or telling us we were forsaken. Just hanging out with us and letting us know we are loved. That is the example he always set.
Michael Jasper
Kansas City, Missouri


End of debate: For a quarter of a century, all the major psychological organizations have affirmed that homosexuality is not a mental illness, beginning with the American Psychiatric Association's Board of Trustees' 1973 statement that "homosexuality does not meet the criteria to be considered a mental illness." There is no debate here. The other professional psychological organizations all agree -- the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

These organizations are also in agreement in opposing the radical religious right's so-called "therapies" and other scams meant to "convert, repair or cure" gay people to become heterosexual. They also agree that the use of these "cures" is psychologically harmful and unprofessional.

Maybe someday these conservative religious people will be able to give up their prejudices. But that will mean they'll have to humbly: 1) repent by taking personal responsibility for all the historical and present-day hurt, violence and destruction their rhetoric has fed and their actions have caused against human beings who are gay; 2) give up their antigay interpretations of the Bible for those of other Bible scholars they now criticize for disagreeing with them; 3) accept their own sexual orientations as God-given; 4) stop scapegoating gay people and take personal responsibility for their part in the problems that plague their families, their marriages, their children and society; and 5) forgo the attention and the lucrative funds raised by the scare tactics of the antigay industry for their leaders, counselors, ministers, causes and "ministries."
Robert N. Minor, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Kansas
Lawrence


The Black Hole
Goth crock: Regarding Casey Logan's "Oh My Goth" (May 30): Once again the adults, politicians and government officials have totally found the root of the problem. In the '50s it was the rebels, in the '60s the hippies; the '70s had the disco freaks, the '80s had metal heads, the '90s belonged to the gangster-rap followers and now we find the goths. What a crock!

Most of us can agree that we all just want someplace to "fit in." If these kids have found that, kudos to them! I think the original intent of the youth organization was a pure one, but it has been corrupted by everyone else. Yes, it is good for people to understand diversity, find out more about groups we don't understand or relate to, but to target them as a high-risk group for anything is just plain naive. Violence, drugs and sex are not limited to any one group of people; we are all at risk of going over the edge.

Like toddlers who have just learned to walk, teens are simply testing their boundaries, as most teens have done before them. If there is a problem or high risk, we as society have created it by leaving the boundaries unclear. We have taught the kids of today that they can get away with just about anything because we don't really enforce all the crap we say. Sad, isn't it?
Name Withheld Upon Request


Plot Thickens
Justin's case: I read two letters in the May 30 issue regarding Allie Johnson's "Cemetery Plot" (May 16), about the murder of Anastasia WitbolsFeugen. One was from the mother of the convicted killer, Byron Case, and another was from a friend of Case's family. I think the victim's family should now reply.

Allie Johnson approached Anastasia's family about a story as the trial began, spoke at length with us afterward and was never anything except professional. I felt she made Anastasia's killer much more human than he deserved and made the Jackson County Sheriff's Department sound almost competent, which they most assuredly were not. We still felt the story was fair and well-researched.

Johnson got the quotes from Mr. Case's Web site from Anastasia's family, as the site had been taken down several months before the trial began. We saved several pages because of the various (and occasionally bizarre) statements he made about the murder.

A jury of twelve citizens took only three and a half hours to convict him. He probably would have been convicted more than three years ago had the Jackson County Sheriff's Department simply acted with average intelligence when this case was fresh.

Anastasia's family just feels fortunate that one individual with a conscience finally came forward and brought that much of our nightmare to a close.
Patrick Rock
Kansas City, Kansas


Girl, interrupted: I have decided it may be time I came forward myself. First off, let me say that Allie Johnson's article on the Anastasia WitbolsFeugen situation was well-written. There are those who feel it points to Byron Case's guilt. Yet it would be hard not to lean that way, since the actual verdict was "guilty."

I was involved with Anastasia and went on a date with her two weeks prior to her death. I even did a very detailed "council" session using the ancient tarot to help me learn more about her relations to Justin Bruton, her father and her own perceptions of basic archetypes. I, like others, feel there is too big of a gap in the information and the evidence. There needs to be more information to explain how a man saw Anastasia storm from the car that day, yet Byron, Kelly Moffet, Justin and Anastasia still wound up in Lincoln Cemetery together.

I was close enough to Anastasia to say that maybe a guilty verdict could ease some of the pain. Yet close enough to the situation to see that there is not enough evidence for my soul to feel good about Byron being in jail his whole life, while Kelly Moffet is free, and, according to the reward posters, ten grand or so richer.

As good as the article was, I find it would be better if the Pitch did some follow-up work.
Alexavier Strangerz
Kansas City, Missouri


Artistic License
Win, lose or draw: I read the Night & Day section every week because it's a great way to find out what is going on around town. Gina Kaufmann's entries are usually informative and helpful, but her opinionated June 13 blurb about comic-book-art classes just reinforced stereotypes and discouraged parents from offering their kids a great way to develop their creativity.

In her attempt to be humorous or irreverent, Kaufmann equated comic-book artists with folks who "dressed in costumes on the opening nights of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars" and "never move out of their parents' basements." Ms. Kaufmann fails to recognize that some of the most exciting, diverse and imaginative art produced these days comes in the pages of comic books. There is a distinction to be made between comic-book fans and comic-book creators (writers and artists), and to consider as geeky anyone involved with comic books, be they fans or creators, is downright shortsighted.

Thanks to high-quality books and your neighborhood cineplex, the role of comics in pop culture continues to expand. The comics industry offers viable career choices, and parents who may be lucky enough to have a budding comic-book artist in their basement should be encouraging these young creatives.
Marcelo Vital
Kansas City, Missouri


Play Time
It's all relative: Regarding Steve Walker's "Monkey Business" (June 6): Thanks for coming to see the play and for writing about it. We are a new company that wants to offer something new and different to the people of KC. Walker's attention to our work and the exposure he gave us is crucial to us.

I appreciate his honesty and the nice things he said about our work in his article. Still, our cast and crew would have appreciated it if he had mentioned acting, choreography, music, lyrics, dance and video quality. I understand he works with space limitations and there is so much he can write about, but Incorporated! took us nine months of intense collaborative effort, and I felt sorry for the people whose excellent work did not make it to your pages.

Thanks again for the review. I hope he will continue to come see and comment upon our shows in the future.
Maria Antonia Andujar
Theatre of Relativity
Kansas City, Missouri


Summer's Eve
Bar tabs: In response to Jason Bendure's letter on why young adults are hanging around Westport after curfew (Letters, May 23): Years ago, our wonderful politicians passed an ordinance saying eighteen-, nineteen- or twenty-year-olds can enter a bar as long as they wear bands around their wrists or have their hands marked. This will let bartenders or waitstaff know they aren't supposed to drink alcohol. This also produces more revenue for the Westport bars and City Hall.

In other words, the Westport bars have invited the under-21 crowd to hang around Westport. Where the women are, the men are sure to follow.
Howard Carson
Kansas City, Missouri

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