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Week of December 29, 2005

"Missouri is a giant Baptist trailer park and the city of St. Louis is its meth lab.

Pink in the Face
Bile and error:
After reading the article [Chad Garrison, "Pray the Gay Away," December 15] I was so stunned by the bile that was spat out and quoted I felt compelled to write some response. I doubt any of my opinions matter to anyone other than myself, but that does not seem to stop Pastor Venice — so why should it stop me?

One of the points that was not mentioned was the fact that we are all born sinners. There is no getting around that. Thanks to Adam and Eve (yes, I know it was not Steve; get over it already), we are destined to be born with sin. As Christians we believe that Jesus died for our sins. What makes one sin worse than another? Does a murderer get special privilege that a gay person does not? Granted the Bible gives us some idea on how we should be leading our lives, but none of us know what exactly is going to get us into heaven and we won't know until the time comes.

Does Pastor Venice really believe that if a male child does not have his father telling him how to be a man, that the child will be gay? In a society where absent fathers are more abundant than non-absent fathers, why is there not a larger gay and lesbian population? What about the gay and lesbian individuals that have straight siblings? Pastor Venice appears to be grasping at straws in his reasoning.

Pastor Venice also dismissed gay churches as nothing more than dating services. Question: Where else, other than the church you attend would a single Christian (straight or gay) meet another single Christian in the year 2005? I have never used the church to meet a significant other. However, it is not just gay churches that use social gatherings as a place for single Christians to meet.

The personal relationship that I have with God is not altered or changed because I happen to be attracted to men and not women. Anytime I have needed guidance I have prayed to God and he has always successfully guided me through the right path.

Lastly, I was also very disturbed by the quote made by John Lovin, president of Pride St. Louis: "If I could wake up one day and be straight, I am sure my life would be easier." What about being gay is difficult? Thanks to our gay forefathers and mothers it is not like we are living in the 1950s and have to sneak into a hidden bar in the middle of the night and pay for watered-down drinks only to worry about the police raiding it. Sure gays still face prejudice, but who doesn't?
Christopher Fischer
St. Louis

What the hell, indeed: When I relocated to St. Louis from California this past summer, I made a concerted effort not to look down my nose at the local yokels and their quirky ways. "They can't all be a bunch of inbred halfwits," I thought.

What the hell is going on in this city? You have repressed, barely literate "ex-gay" ministers trying to turn gay people straight and a Pride committee that would give Jerry Springer a wet dream. Missouri is a giant Baptist trailer park and the city of St. Louis is its meth lab. I can't wait to finish my Ph.D. at Washington University so I can get back to the real world.
Peter Cabrera
St. Louis

Bile the way: Aside from the foolish and ignorant statements made by Pastor Jim Venice in reference to what determines whether you become gay or not, I find myself frustrated that sometimes both sides miss an important point. A good number of people tend to think of "this" or "that." You're gay or you're not. Everyone has their own reasons and I've not met two gay or straight people that are motivated by the same cause. Each of us have our own individual blend of unique sexuality and the range is so vast that there aren't enough labels to go around. We really should change our idea of being part of a "community." This only increases targeting and generalizing by crackpots.
Lyla Turner
St. Louis

Not homo-genous: While I enjoyed "Pray the Gay Away," I felt that it neglected several important points. Christianity, for one, is far from a homogenous religion. The Christianity that is practiced today is a different form of Christianity than was practiced even ten years ago. The neo-con movement has hijacked mainstream Christianity. The Christianity practiced today is in service to the elite. While Christians once opposed the military-industrial police state, the neo-con "Christians" embrace this fascism. While the neo-con movement makes up a substantial portion of today's Christianity, we must not neglect the voices of liberal and liberated Christians. The old right-wing has been raped by the neo-con movement and it's time for the left to pick up the slack.
Christian Peper
Richmond Heights

Don't recycle: I just read this garbage. I'm a 28-year-old gay man and I think we're nearing "integration." Putting the tripe in this article aside, it evidences that people who believe this stuff are beginning to recede and hide. Their town square soap boxes are now benches in a dusty basement. PRAISE JESUS! AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE!
Joshua Boyer
Chicago, Illinois

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