Letters from the week of August 5, 2004.

Ticket Punch 

Letters from the week of August 5, 2004.

Fahrenheit rising:
Melvin Williams obviously doesn't read the Kansas City Strip on a regular basis. Otherwise, he wouldn't expect such a high standard from Tony Ortega (Letters, July 22).

It didn't take me long to figure out that Ortega was playing left field, but as conservative as I am, I actually get a kick out of reading Ortega's twisted, Marxist views on the world. I actually thought "Hot Ticket" (July 8) was very interesting, because he dares conservatives to use their brains rather than just overuse the term liberal to combat an issue that they haven't researched enough to form a solid opinion. Melvin probably refused to eat his vegetables as a child, too. I doubt that he has read any of Michael Moore's books or seen any of his films. They're available at the public library, so he won't feel guilty for contributing to Moore's anti-American agenda. Maybe he can write back after he knows more about Moore's films than their titles.

Since I took the time to write in, I should also point out that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and other conservative hosts are broadcast on AM radio every weekday. I dare Tony Ortega and all of the liberal readers to tune in for a few hours a week. It's one thing to tell conservatives that they need to see a crockumentary by a propagandist like Michael Moore; it's another if he can actually follow his own advice and listen to Limbaugh's message rather than just read about how much of a big, fat idiot he is, according to a liberal comedian.

Bryan Stalder
Kansas City, Missouri

Brush Up
Tooth be told:

I am upset at the slant Ben Paynter's " Oral Argument " (June 17) took.

I knew Steve Thomas in the late '70s, when he and I worked together. I was a paramedic, and at times Steve was my EMT driver. He was in dental college back then.

I know firsthand how dedicated this man is to the healing arts. We worked shootings, car wrecks, cardiac emergencies, etc., etc., etc. Steve was an excellent EMT and a great ambulance driver (if you think that isn't important, try working 24 hours with a crappy ambulance driver), and he sincerely cared about our patients.

I trusted him so much that in 1980, prior to joining the Air Force, I went to the dental college that Steve was attending and allowed him to pull out my wisdom teeth. The entire process took about a half-hour, and I never had a problem afterward. I also let him do various other work on my teeth and gums. I could have gone to my family dentist, but I didn't. I chose Steve to do the work on my teeth.

I would trust Steve Thomas with my life -- which I did so many times when we were working in the ambulance together.

Your article seems to focus on where Thomas may have obtained a piece of paper. So be it, but a piece of paper is just a piece of paper. He is admired by his patients, his professional peers and those of us who have known him for longer than the Pitch has been in print.

Carolyn Henneforth

Church and Straight
Prime ministers:
Bravo to Kendrick Blackwood and the Pitch for having the courage to publish " Ministers Hate Fags Too " (July 22), exposing the vile hatred that is being preached from so many pulpits in the greater Kansas City area (and across the United States, for that matter) and giving a plug to the good work that Mainstream Coalition is doing in response.

I caution you on the title, though. As you know, not all ministers "hate fags." Some of us actually believe that God is love, as the writer of the first letter of John declared, and that God loves all of those that he or she created. I believe that God even loves ordained hatemongers.

Such ministers should read their Bibles more carefully, not just the passages they co-opt to bolster their fundamentalist agendas. Jesus, who never said one word about homosexuality (for or against), did say, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35). Sounds pretty clear to me. Peace and blessings.

The Rev. John Tamilio III
Overland Park

Gospel chorus:
I have made Kansas City my home for over 24 years now, after moving here from the UK in 1980. The reason for my move? I fell in love with a local girl while on a yearlong mission trip in Israel. Although I like living here, I must confess I have never been too impressed with your political or religious institutions.

I find your politics facile and your religion materialistic and superficial. Combine those sentiments with a general disdain for commercial sports, and you've got yourself one cynical and apathetic guy. But I cannot be apathetic about the antics of Jerry Johnston and company. As a Christian who has been active in the church for over 39 years, I find their bigoted arrogance embarrassing and an affront to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I simply want to say that there is one believer in Kansas who is wholeheartedly opposed to Jerry Johnston's political agenda. Maybe rather than targeting a small minority in our community (3 percent), Jerry should target and focus his energy on the alarming rate of divorce in this country (57 percent). Instead of trying to stop loving couples of the same sex making a lifelong commitment to each other, he should rally his troops and help couples already married to stay together. Personally, I think that is what Jesus would do, don't you?

Stuart W. Thomas

Right on:
I live in Ohio, and I agree with the Rev. Jerry Johnston. This world has no morals -- when are we going to wake up?

Our country was founded by God, and there should only be marriage between a man and a woman. Where did all the people come from? It sure didn't happen between two men or two women. Wake up, world, before it is too late. God will return to judge this sick world!

Marsha Hamilton
Hudson, Ohio

Holy crap:
Why is it you far-left liberals, with your preachy, humanist virtues of tolerance, acceptance and love, continually spout the most venomous hate I've ever read? Calm down and respect your fellow man -- even those of us with a narrow-minded viewpoint on the other end of the spectrum from your equally narrow-minded viewpoint.

Brian Hendley
Kansas City, Missouri

Title wave:
Regarding "Ministers Hate Fags Too": What is wrong with the title of this article? It's simple. Both the title and the article blatantly promote the idea that conservative, hate-filled ministers are the only ministers and that Jerry Johnston and his ilk are the only Christians. Do you know who would agree with that? They would.

I believe that God created everyone to be equal, that God loves us all -- no exceptions. I believe that this was Jesus' message. I am a Christian. Of course, Johnston wouldn't agree that I am. I guess Kendrick Blackwood wouldn't, either.

Micki Wright
Lee's Summit

Rev up:
It was Mahatma Gandhi who said, "Jesus I like, but I don't know about his followers." Kendrick Blackwood's article exemplifies why Gandhi, along with so many other people throughout the years and across the world, have been intrigued by Christ but revolted by Christianity.

As a Christian pastor, I read Blackwood's article with a sickened stomach and a growing sense of anger. I can't help but feel that I should apologize to your non-Christian readers for the words and actions of these people calling themselves followers of Christ but preaching a message entirely opposed to Jesus' teachings. This small faction of extreme right-wing church leaders is vengeful, even to the point of hatred. The Jesus most Christians follow proclaimed a message of forgiveness and unconditional love.

Jerry Johnston, Fred Phelps and their cohorts have placed the issue of homosexuality at the center of their agenda. It is my opinion that any Christian pastor who makes it his life's work to demonize homosexuals in Jesus' name is foolish and dangerous. After all, nowhere in the Bible do we find Jesus Christ condemning homosexuals or homosexuality. We do, however, find many passages in which he proclaims that those who pass judgment on others will be judged. Be careful, Rev. Johnston.

Eric Huffman, pastor
Kansas City, Missouri

Fair Play
Cards shark:
I enjoyed Andrew Miller's " Field of Broken Dreams " (July 15) very much. It's not your run-of-the-mill baseball column, though I enjoy those also. I only wish Miller would've omitted the snide remark concerning Cardinals fans.

Joe Wilson
Rogersville, Missouri

French Press
Tuesday, well:
I had the pleasure of reading Charles Ferruzza's " Laissez Fare " (July 22). Hannah Bistro is one of my favorite places in Kansas City, and I agree with most of his article, with one exception:

"The food was delicious as always.... But the diversity of the clientele was totally different. Instead of a mix of young and old, black and white, gay and straight, wealthy and poorer patrons, the customers were all middle-aged Caucasians. To say it didn't have the energy of the original Hannah's would be an understatement."

I am not familiar with Hannah Bistro on other nights of the week, but this is certainly not true on Tuesday nights. There is definitely a great mix of gay, straight, black, white, young and old. I, myself, can be an extreme example. I am bisexual (counts for gay and straight), Asian (racial diversity), and a part-time transsexual/transvestite (I go as either a male or a female, depending on my mood). Not only do I feel welcome there; I've made many great friends by going to Hannah on Tuesday nights.

To me, Hannah Bistro is like an oasis in the middle of the desert (Johnson County). I strongly encourage you to visit and see for yourself on a Tuesday night. If you happen to see a pretty Asian girl named Victoria, come say hi and buy me a drink.

Victoria Xieng
Overland Park

C'est si bon:
I agreed with Charles Ferruzza's write-up regarding Hannah Bistro, but the few times I've been there, it sure seemed like a considerably more diverse group of people than he experienced.

Other than that, keep up the good writing.

Nick Kounas

Key Change
Prog rock:
Get off Nathan Dinsdale's back already! I'm so tired of reading bitchfests about how he doesn't know the music scene (or lack thereof) in Kansas City. It's true he just recently arrived here, but I usually find his articles clever and brutally honest. It is refreshing to read an outsider's view on what goes on here -- and even more entertaining to see the replies from these big-time players on the Kansas City music scene about "clubs pulling ads" ( Letters, July 15) or " ... just getting back from a meeting with our manager in L.A." Get real, you jackholes.

I have a feeling that most of the animosity toward Nathan comes from bands or their relatives, who thought they were going to get some press after Andrew Miller was forced to quit writing about the same four groups. We are a small town with some good bands and a ton of really shitty bands. Anyone who has managed to sit through club wars or a metalfest would probably agree. If you're not getting any press, it's probably because you are not worth writing about. Quit your crying and practice a little harder.

Curtis Anderson
Kansas City, Missouri


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