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ISSUE 116 VOL 17 PUBLISHED 4/18/2003

Letters to the Editor

By Jennifer Hancock
Online Editor

Friday, April 18, 2003

Dear Mess Editors,

In the April 11 article, "Colleges stifle political views," you report that Katherine Kersten from the Center for the American Experiment made the following statement in support of her claim that St. Olaf and other colleges have a liberal faculty bias: "In a recent issue of the Manitou Messenger . . . it said that not a single faculty member could be found that supported the pro-war view." However, what the Messenger did report in its Mar. 7 article, "Hot topic: Iraqi conflict stressed," to which Kersten refers was that, "No faculty member was available to take up the pro[-war] side." The discrepancy between the actual statement and Kersten's interpretation of the statement represents either a willful distortion of the truth or an inability to comprehend the written word. Given Kersten's credentials and agenda, it is the former that appears to explain her choice of words.

– Political science Professor D. Christopher Brooks

Dear Mess Editors, As members of the St. Olaf Student Congregation Council, we are pleased that you gave so much coverage to the Knutson Conference on Sexuality, Spirituality, and the Church; and we commend you for speaking forthrightly. But we are concerned now about a group of people on our campus that could get forgotten or pushed aside. Advocates for changing church policy regarding same-sex partnerships and the ordination of GLBT people have had a place to speak and be heard, and we hope that will continue. And staunch defenders of the church’s current policy always have that policy itself, speaking and being heard even when no one is talking. Tradition speaks loudly. But there are still many people who are uncertain about church policies, unsure about proper understanding of Bible passages, undecided about the direction their own conscience is leading them. We hope those people will not stop talking and listening, and we hope they won’t be regarded on campus as a bunch of “lukewarm” lazy thinkers. We encourage those people to think and pray along with the Student Congregation and other fellowship groups they might be a part of.

Thank you.

– Members of the Church Council

Dear Mess Editors, I suppose by now I should not be surprised with the Manitou Messenger's narrow perspective on issues. However, when the paper prints six articles on sexuality that are all from the same viewpoint, I feel an obligation to remedy the bias. First, most people who believe that homosexuality is a sin do not condemn homosexuals themselves. Many such people try to reach out to homosexuals but are immediately cast aside and labeled "homophobic." Thus, the pro-homosexual doctrine, which appears to be one of inclusion, reveals itself as hypocritical. I can understand these negative reactions insofar that if someone accused me of being a sinner, I too would become defensive. Fortunately, the Bible teaches that we are all sinners, so there is no need for either accusation or reaction. However, the existing defensiveness poses a barrier to dialogue. For this reason, I believe that there are some very important facts about homosexuality that are not being considered. First, although many people are under the impression that homosexuality is 100 percent genetic, studies have shown that there is only a 50 percent correlation. This means that environment contributes the other 50 percent to a person's sexuality. Also overlooked are numerous psychological studies that reveal that homosexuality is caused by gender conflict in a particular stage of a child's development. At about 15 to 18 months, the child's relationship with the parent of the opposite sex is crucial. If a child lacks this relationship, his odds of developing homosexual tendencies skyrocket. When the child enters puberty, his need for attention, affection, and approval from the opposite sex becomes erotic. I fail to see how educating parents on how to provide for their children's needs is "pushing (homosexuals) into suicide," as one Mess article accused. I am confused about how striving for every child's developmental needs to be met is not a goal embodying the New Testament doctrine of love. I am certain that I will be accused of being judgmental and insensitive for writing this article. Thus, I feel I must defend myself by including the fact that I approach this subject as a personal one. Everyone knows people who struggle with their sexuality, and it is especially difficult when that person is a family member. Therefore, while continuing our exploration of sexuality, we must not condemn but reach out. – Megan Blair, '05

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