Even Though We Equate Homosexuality With Sinning and Pedophilia, We Do So Lovingly

Saxon Burns ("Into the Lion's Den," Currents, June 12) mentioned the "distortions, generalizations and unqualified assertions stated as indisputable fact" regarding The Cool Church's (aka the Tucson Community Church's) views on homosexuality. I understand your feelings. I remember years ago, I experienced a campaign of distortion, generalizations and unqualified assertions stated as indisputable fact.

I used to own The Good News, and we did an article about gay men who had become Christians and were now married (heterosexually). What followed was a campaign stating that we were against "gays, people of color and women" (which was featured in the Tucson Weekly). Never had I published anything that was hateful, racist or misogynic, yet the campaign raged until I talked to the man who led the campaign. I shared with him what I share with you now, and afterward, the campaign ended.

The crux (cross) of Christianity is summed up in what Jesus said when He was asked what the greatest commandment was. He said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and the second is likened unto it; love your neighbor as yourself." The Gospel is about love.

The difference between what Jesus taught (but not all Christians follow) and other religions is that we are to love all people regardless of whether we agree with their behavior. Thus, we are taught (in all things charity) to love always. Jesus said this when some of the Pharisees asked Jesus in Matthew 19, "Is it right for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" Jesus answered, "Don't you know that in the beginning the Creator made a man and a woman? That's why a man leaves his father and mother and gets married. He becomes like one person with his wife. They are no longer two people, but one. And no one should separate a couple that God has joined together." What Jesus taught (and what we believe) is that God intends for a man and a woman to get married and stay married. Therefore, to focus on homosexuality, to the exclusion of everything else that is apart from a man and a woman getting married and staying married, is short sighted.

Jesus went on to say that you are not to divorce your wife unless she commits a sexual sin. This would encompass adultery, homosexuality and anything sexual outside of marriage is sinful. So everyone who is involved in premarital sex, pedophilia, pornography, adultery or homosexuality is sinning. The Bible says that we have all sinned (missed the mark) and fallen short of the glory of God. We are also told in 1 John 1:9 that if "we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away." Implied in this is that we must realize that what we are doing is sinful.

Understand that our beliefs drive us to love, not hate. In the end, I would hope that we could agree to disagree agreeably (with love).

Doug Martin President/general manager, Good News Radio Broadcasting

Claim: If You Believe in the Bible, You Think Homosexuality Is Bad

I just read your recent article about a visit to the Tucson Community Church. I am sorry that you missed part two of Pastor David McAllister's teaching on what the Bible says about forgiveness. David's teaching can best be summed up by Jesus' words in Luke 17: "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him."

This is from the New American Standard Bible, a careful, word-for-word translation of the original Greek. Perhaps a little clearer version is the New Living Translation, which is a thought-for-thought translation: "I am warning you! If another believer sins, rebuke him; then if he repents, forgive him. Even if he wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, forgive him."

Notice that Jesus refers to "your brother" or "another believer." Notice also that He says first to rebuke and then to forgive, but only if the person repents. This in no way removes the responsibility or accountability they must face for whatever wrong they did, but it frees you to forgive only as God forgives. And He is quick to forgive, but only those who are truly sorry and show it in their lives.

The only real issue in all this recent controversy is whether one believes that the Bible is the true, authoritative word of God. Christians take that position, based on a preponderance of evidence. If you do not, then there really is nothing more to debate.

Please understand that Christians just want to obey God, based on what He says in the Bible.

Robert Hunter

Native American Birthday Mention Is a Classic

George Joe's Guest Commentary (July 12) should be posted on the wall of every reservation classroom in the country.

His mother's not knowing when she was born reminds me of how the late Tohono O'odham potter Laura Kermen answered the question, "When were you born?"

"I don't know," she would say. "I was born before we knew the years had numbers."

Bunny Fontana

Dog Park Goes Against Rio Vista's Reason for Existence

The Rio Vista Natural Resource Park was planned by the neighborhood, which wanted a natural resource park where the desert and riparian area could be restored and experienced ("Restraining Order," Currents, July 12). The park hosts many varieties of wildlife, including coyotes and large birds of prey. The riparian area has not yet been restored as promised in the park's final plans. The money for this remains unused while the neighborhood has waited years for the complete plan to be implemented.

When the dog-park proposal became known, approximately 50 residents attended a neighborhood meeting, including Councilwoman Karin Uhlich. The majority of those present did not want the dog park for reasons including a concern for safety along Tucson Boulevard. This narrow dead-end has not been improved, despite requests from the neighborhood for the city's attention.

A dog park does not fit well into a natural-resource park which supports a large pack of coyotes, and it would destroy the plan to restore the riparian area. Despite the unpopularity of her position, it appeared to me that Karin Uhlich represented her constituents' wishes well.

Suzanne T. MacFerrin

Kudos to Bicyclists for Improving Our City

I was truly upset by the letter concerning the problems that some bicyclists face on Tucson streets ("An Idiot in a Truck Sends a Bicyclist Looking for the Car Keys," Mailbag, July 12). I must admit that although I am frequently annoyed by the bicyclists who think it's OK not to follow laws, a lot of people ride with courtesy.

Thumbs up to the bicyclists in Tucson: You're helping improve our air and congested streets. I am sorry that a few childish citizens in this great city are so immature.

Next lesson: Will Tucsonans ever learn how to drive?

Joel Spurlock

In Defense of Glendale, Calif.

In "Rush Job?" (Currents, July 12), Dave Devine quotes Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission member Demion Clinco as saying, "We're turning Tucson into Glendale, Calif."

I live near Glendale. There are great libraries and parks, and even a fantastic old historic post office complete with marble arches and brass window cages. I only wish Tucson could be made as nice.

With all of the reckless demolition and faux-Southwest reconstruction, Tucson is turning into a Glendale--Glendale, Ariz.

Chris Wagganer

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