Letters to the Editor

From the issue of November 23, 2000

Rev. Joseph A. Darby
Morris Brown African Methodist Episcopal Church
Charleston, South Carolina

Reverend Paris at the Pulpit
Know what you speak of before speaking harshly: Juan Carlos Rodriguez should get a copy of The Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and study it. There he will find the answer to his question, which will allow him to correct all the errors about the AME Church contained in his article.

Then he should read and study the first five books of the Bible. He will understand how and why God forbids the "practice" of homosexuality. He might also study the first chapter of Paul's epistle to the Romans. After he completes this, he will have walked a mile in my shoes. Then I would be interested in seeing his rewrite of the same article.

In other words, you must know God before you can criticize His law. Blessings.

Rev. Alton E. Paris
Grandview, Texas

When Is a Sanctuary Not a Sanctuary?
Reverend Watkins, come on up to Arkansas: If a person is not welcomed in church, where is he welcomed? Thanks to Juan Carlos Rodriguez for writing a most interesting article about the AME Church and its beliefs. Hopefully this is a regional issue and not the thinking of the entire church.

I have been AME all my life and knew there were issues with which I did not readily agree, but I never thought for a second that the church would totally ignore someone, as they did Rev. Tommie Watkins. Richard Allen, its founder, would be ashamed of this action. Three years ago I left the AME Church because it does not honor its discipline, and I am glad I did.

I invite Rev. Tommie Watkins to come to Arkansas and my hometown. He would be very welcome. We are now nondenominational and proud of it.

Erma Jefferson
Warren, AR

Church with a Conscience
That wouldn't be AME, not yet anyhow: I found Bishop John Hurst Adams's views on sexuality distressing but not at all surprising. The AME Church, of which I am a member, has some way to go before it is in the position of being able to progress past the issues of sexual orientation.

The AME Church, however, did just find itself in the position of accepting a woman in its highest ecclesiastical ranks. So while I may not be happy with the decision to deny ordination to Rev. Tommie Watkins, I believe gays and lesbians must continue to push the church on this issue. The critique of our homosexual brothers and sisters calls the church back to her conscience.

Michael Joseph Brown
Candler School of Theology
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia

McIntire: Out of the Darkness
Pain trumps embarrassment: Even though I am one of the few to support David Villano's article about Alex McIntire ("Admired in Life, Reviled in Death," October 19), I am confident in my decision. I have read the letters refuting the article, but the point is this: What you do in the dark will always come to the light. If Alex McIntire's admirers feel otherwise, they are simply biased. Just for a moment they should consider the pain and scars that Lisa Hamilton and her family will live with for the rest of their days, and not just the embarrassment the article has caused McIntire's family.

I had never before heard of Alex McIntire or Lisa Hamilton, so this story, from my point of view, was about a pedophile who hurt an innocent child and hoped to never get caught. Any remorse he suffered was well deserved. Any parent will agree that these dangerous people are one of our greatest fears when we entrust our children to schools and send them into the world.

May everyone realize that if you want to be respected in life and in death, you must first learn how to respect others.

Cesar Palacios

McIntire: Better Public than Private
And better spoken than silent: I was really bothered by the scathing attacks New Times received regarding the article about Dr. Alexander McIntire. The parallel is the criminal justice system: It is better that ten guilty people go free than to convict one innocent person.

Build as many empires as you want. Add as many titles to your name as possible. What counts in the end, and what those close to a person seem to remember, is how he or she treats others.

I recommend that the whiners who wrote in to assail New Times do two things before they jump to any hasty conclusions: 1) Listen to the voices of the faint-of-heart. Most times what they've got to say speaks louder than a multitude of accolades. 2) Go home and read the First Amendment. The value of words is often taken for granted -- until it's your turn to speak.

Manny Losada

McIntire: Of Human Interest
His defenders were conned: I am disgusted by all the self-righteous letters New Times received regarding Alex McIntire. It seems this protective clan has promoted several recurring ideas: 1) McIntire was not a "public" person, 2) hence there was no "news value." 3) He was unable to "defend" himself, and 4) no "mystery" was solved. 5) Joe McCarthy is invoked: "Have you no shame?" 6) New Times is a yellow-journalistic bugaboo; it is the National Enquirer, the Star. 7) Most laughably, the story did not even rise to the level of a human-interest story, and besides it's all been said before (here Sophocles is invoked).

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