Mailbag: Answers show ignorance of spiritual leaders

I have been trying to find words to express my disgust for the hate-filled diatribe of Bryan Griem, who chose not to answer the simple question regarding repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" with a spiritual answer, but filled his space by conjuring negative images that anyone who actually knows gay people will say are false ("In Theory: Should 'Don't Ask' law be repealed?" Sept. 29).

And Jon Barta, who says that many homosexuals are fighting an internal battle against their "chosen" lifestyle. This in the week of the suicide of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi of Rutgers University. How ignorant it is to believe this young man "chose" to be gay. He took his life because of people like Griem and Barta.

And speaking of stereotypes, it seems that the numerous pastors who have been caught in gay affairs or trysts have been the most anti-gay.

Jim Carroll



New smoking law goes too far

I know as well as anyone else that smoking is bad for your health and the health of others. Most of my family has died from smoking-related illnesses, and I have diminished lung capacity because I grew up in a home with heavy smokers.

But this new law goes too far ("Smoking law gets tougher again," Oct. 2). Yes, I cringe when I have to walk past a patio filled with smokers, but it's their right to do so on their private patio or within the boundaries of their apartment. This legislation restricts one's freedom in their residence.

What's next? No cooking with garlic because the smell might offend your neighbor? No spraying perfumed cleansers or using scented candles because your neighbor or a passerby is allergic to it? I know these sound ridiculous, but think what the next step could be: No playing religious music because your neighbor may be of a different faith and they find the music or prayers offensive.

Or could the next step be that when you buy a package of cigarettes the salesperson places an armband with a large "S" on your arm and if you're on the street without your armband and you smell of cigarettes you get fined…or thrown in jail.

This legislation is the start of a very slippery slope. If the owners of multifamily residences are the ones seeking this legislation to help cut down on the costs of renovating the apartments of smokers when they move out, let them create smoke free units like hotels.

But until such time as cigarette smoking is legislated to be illegal, like heroin or cocaine, this regulation violates the freedom of rights that this country was founded to protect.

D'vorah Epstein McDonald


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