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Church and Stateless

Letters from the week of December 23, 2004

Left turn: I admire the King family for their decision to leave the Catholic Church to become members at Country Club Congregational (C.J. Janovy's "Pro Choice," December 9). My family went through the same dilemma but from the opposite end of the spectrum.

The Catholic Church is not designed to be like a cafeteria, where you can pick what you like and leave what you don't. As former Episcopalians, my husband and I felt that current trends and politics were becoming too much a part of our faith, to the point where it was beginning to overshadow the faith itself. We converted to Eastern Orthodoxy nearly six years ago and have found the tradition of faith we yearned for. Through my "spiritual journey and study," I have come to the conclusion that living your faith is not supposed to be easy, nor should it always be comfortable, but it should be seen as a challenge.

So even though I may not agree with the Kings on their political views, I do admire their integrity for being honest about where they stand and having the courage to make that move.

Denise L. Rueschhoff

Cross training: I'd like to congratulate the King family for finding a church more congruent with their beliefs. Several things to note, though, for the King family, as a Catholic myself:

First, as a conservative, I was made to feel unwelcome and uncomfortable at St. Francis Xavier every weekend. Father Matt and his priestly ilk take pride in going against church teachings in every conceivable way. So the door swings both ways -- don't feel lonely in your alienation.

Second, your real issue is consumerism. You apparently go to church with much the same attitude that I have when I go shopping for shoes. If the shoes aren't fashionable (read "lesbians with multiracial children"), then I want none of them. If the shoes aren't comfortable (read "reaffirming what I already believe"), then I want none of them. The problem, of course, with this kind of religious consumerism is that it requires no faith, and it fails to morally lead. But I'm glad you like your new church; it seems to be fashionably sufficient and reasonably comfortable. It will make your weekends more pleasant and certainly less demanding than having to confront and reconcile your own beliefs with that of the teaching of the church.

Joshua Harden
Kansas City, Missouri

Bishop's pawn: I, too, have felt the frustration of writing to both of our bishops and receiving no response. Their silence speaks volumes to their flock. This article suggests that anything that is perceived as controversial to the bishops causes them to adopt a "head in the sand" attitude. An acknowledgment that our correspondence has been received -- even if they can't or won't do anything about it -- would be nice.

In the meantime, many of us Catholics are angry and saddened, as the Kings in the article are. They took a bold step in leaving a church-home that no longer fit their morality. Thanks for printing something that is so meaningful for so many of us. The article was not only tastefully written but accurately portrayed the climate of the Catholic Church here in Kansas City.

Liz Donnelly
Kansas City, Missouri

Crank Yanker
Siouxie and the banshee: Regarding Tony Ortega's Kansas City Strip (December 9): As a Native American (Choctaw and Cherokee tribes) and as a human being, I was astounded and disturbed to hear about Richard Boyden's political rantings overshadowing the charity work of Operation Morning Star. My family and I had donated to the organization in the past without ever meeting Boyden. (Thank God for small favors.)

What our Native community, both locally and nationally, does not need is another person spouting off personal political beliefs with one tongue while asking for donations from the public with the other tongue. There are literally thousands and thousands of people in America who need help, not political rantings. Boyden, just because you don't get the sound bite you want doesn't mean that that particular journalist or radio or TV program doesn't care about your cause or the Native American community. If I personally had belonged to the Lakota Sioux communities that you're helping up north and knew that you were down here in Kansas City making an ass out of yourself, I know for a fact I would not want your help anymore. I'd want you replaced.

Angielina Grass

Veal Chop
Let's lynch the landlord: I was touched by Allie Johnson's story about the women who were sexually harassed by their landlord ("Meet the Landlord," December 2). It is devastating to read about situations like this, in which the system fails to provide for the people in its care, and to realize that predators like Bobby Veal are punished lightly with some fine or other.

These women and their children will endure the psychological effects from this experience for years to come, while similar incidents are likely to occur without revised action from the agency. As a young female, this leaves me feeling somewhat helpless for Sheila, Patricia and other women in their situations. What can I do to help?

Pauline Pechin

Fairey Godfather
Poster boy: Regarding Gina Kaufmann's "Fairey Tale" (December 2): Regardless of what people (real estate developers) think, I was very comforted to see all of Shepard Fairey's artwork plastered across the West Bottoms when I first moved here in 1998.

Maybe he should have hit KCK and the east side this time? That's the only affordable space for artists right now -- it's sad.

Scott Bower
Kansas City, Missouri

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