Letters from the Issue of August 29, 2002

One cop would rather resign than compromise his integrity

Emiliano Antunez

Miami

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

A little more reading in Romans is highly recommended: I find New Times's articles to be very interesting and real, but I've never felt so compelled to comment on one as I did with Kirk Nielsen's about black clergy trying to repeal the county law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation ("Between a Frock and a Hard Place," August 15). I feel so sad that people like Rev. Richard Bennett, Jr., are in a position of influence over others who don't know any better -- but trust that he does.

I do not understand how he paraphrased Romans 1:18 as he did, when it actually reads: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness." Maybe if he had continued reading to Romans 2:1:

"Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things."

It seems Reverend Bennett should be preaching to another tune. None of us is any better than anyone else in God's eyes. We are all loved the same and are supposed to treat each other the way we would want others to treat us. If the reverend wants to mix religion with politics, that is what he should be preaching and applying to his own life.

Cynthia Rodriguez

Miami

He's Proud to Be Heterosexual by Choice

Here's a choice for you -- truth or lies:While recently vacationing in Miami, I read "Between a Frock and a Hard Place," regarding Rev. Richard Bennett's alliance with Take Back Miami-Dade. One thing I find repulsive about having a Republican in the White House is that every unenlightened voice from the right seems empowered to get up on his high horse and spew hatred, no matter how little sense it makes.

It's strange that Reverend Bennett would contend homosexuality is a matter of choice, especially given the language he used: "If I choose a life of homosexuality, that's my choice." I know nothing of Reverend Bennett's history, but his words make it sound as though he were a reformed homosexual living as a heterosexual. Perhaps he's willing to admit he has sexual urges directed at members of the same sex and that he suppresses these feelings in order to live as a heterosexual.

I find it hard to believe, however, that every heterosexual male in Miami-Dade would say heterosexuality is his choice. Of course this is absurd, as absurd as groups like Take Back Miami-Dade trying to coerce us to backpedal after years of struggle to make America a more accepting place. Whether we're born with homosexual proclivities, whether we learn them in our formative years, or whether it's a combination of the two, the only "choice" anyone has in the matter is the choice between living a lie or owning up to who and what we are.

Joseph Goldman

Bronx, New York

He's Proud to Be Christian By Choice

And lucky he qualifies for legal protection: It appears that Rev. Richard Bennett, Jr., has put his proverbial foot in his proverbial mouth. He states that he and some of his cult followers (yes, religions are just cults, but with lots of members) want to repeal the 1998 ordinance that added the words "sexual orientation" to the county's human-rights law. His ill-conceived logic is that "homosexualists" weren't born gay but rather chose that lifestyle.

Well, if that's the case, then why is the word "religion" included in the very same ordinance that prohibits discrimination? Reverend Bennett, you weren't born a Christian; you chose that lifestyle. We were all born human beings and each of us has chosen a particular lifestyle. Nobody should rightfully be able to discriminate against any other human being simply because of the lifestyle he or she has chosen. Period.

And who's to say that Jesus wasn't gay? After all, he never married, and some artists' conceptions depict him wearing what could be construed as a long white dress.

I'm a heterosexual, born-again, agnostic male and I plan on voting No on September 10, which will be my personal way of saying "screw you" to the likes of Reverend Bennett, Take Back Miami-Dade's communications director Eladio José Armesto, and all the holier-than-thou assholes who inhabit this county.

Princely Mastigure

Homestead

Where Was I When Black Men Attained Nirvana?

Guess that means we can now be smugly dismissive: I fear that Rev. Richard Bennett, Jr., executive director of the African American Council of Christian Clergy, might be construed as speaking for me and for other African-American men in Miami-Dade County. He has been vocal in his opposition to the continuation of including sexual orientation as one of the protected rubrics under the Miami-Dade County human-rights statute. He rationalizes his bigotry this way: "In my situation I'm an African-American male. It was not my decision to come out black, but I am."

In his mind I should be protected from racial discrimination because I did not choose the color of my skin, while my gay and lesbian friends are fair game for bigots on the bash because their sexual preference was their choice and they won't hide in the closet.

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