On being a man; Larry Duncan's little grudge; The bad seed

Judith Yates
Lake Dallas

I would like to thank the Dallas Observer and Lisa Singh for the July 20 feature story, "Mr. Fixit," about "ex-gay" homo-heterosexuals. I was having such a bad morning, I was going to cry, and then I opened the Observer and read this truly uplifting article. After all, everyone needs a good laugh every now and then.

I thought about responding about how all of these "ex-gays" are delusional and confused, but I think the article speaks for itself. I do, however, have two observations.

First, it's interesting to note that the "ex-gays" who seem to struggle the most are also struggling to free their lives from drug and alcohol addictions. I can't think of one "ex-gay" in any article that I've ever read in any paper in the country whose "testimony" doesn't include the phrase, "I was high on drugs and/or alcohol and cruising the gay bars." What do these two things have in common with each other? Taken individually, nothing, but put them together with a confused, minimally educated party animal, and that's the common denominator that, for "ex-gays," ties homosexuality and drug abuse together. Solution: Get off drugs, and then you'll be able to see more clearly. One is a disease, the other is not.

Second, the AMA has declared that homosexuality is not a disease, and thus, there is no "treatment" for it. When we can all begin to understand that healthy people cannot be treated or "cured" from diseases that do not exist, then maybe "ex-gays" will realize that the only thing "wrong" with them is their own inabilities to be accountable for the fact that they are alcoholics and drug abusers who just happen to be gay. I don't ever hear these people asking for Jesus' help to cure their drug and alcohol addictions, which happen to be treatable.

Casie Pierce

Poor Mr. Thomas.

So caught up in a confusing web of personal spiritual/sexual freedom and/or religious indentured servitude. We all have our own spiritual paths to follow, as you have discovered, Mr. Thomas, and that path begins in our own hearts and ends there as well.

There is no homogenization of spirituality, no one world religion. Beauty exists in stark contrast to darkness, and can be no other way. There are only our personal paths, and how we choose to travel them, exhibiting beauty (or not). Your path is difficult, strewn with complex confusions--between what you believe deep in your soul, and what you are being told by the world around you, whether calling itself Christian or secular.

Lake Davis

Larry Duncan's little grudge

Hooray for the Barneses, who refuse to accept unethical practices in city government without fighting back ("Tribal vengeance," July 20).

Mr. [Larry] Duncan and his city staff "tribe" are a glaring example of small-minded people with a little power. Such a shame that Dallas is being represented by such as these. Surely we can do better.

Mr. Duncan, it's time for you to do the right thing and put up that flood wall for Mr. and Mrs. Barnes.

Peggy Kilpatrick

The bad seed

Mike Murray's letter (July 20) about Madalyn O'Hair was inflammatory, to say the least. I met Ms. O'Hair on occasion in the 1970s. She was always kind to me personally, even allowing me to purchase books from her organization on credit (at the time I was a poor serviceman, just back from Vietnam). So I was able to read works by famous unbelievers such as Robert Ingersoll and Mark Twain, viewpoints I had never encountered before.

Alas, I eventually found Ms. O'Hair, while brave and brilliant, nonetheless something of a misanthrope with a quarrelsome personality. With such character flaws, she eventually alienated many of her allies.

Even given Ms. O'Hair's alienating personality, Mr. Murray's letter is dishonest and unfair to the life of Madalyn. In fact, his use of disinformation seems to emanate from a singular, untrustworthy source: Madalyn's Christian son, William Murray. Bill Murray has made a career of bashing his mother. It is no doubt a living, as Bill travels the fundamentalist circuit, recycling unverifiable stories about his late mother. It is obvious that Bill simply hates his mother and also needs to make a buck.

And Bill Murray's background is not without controversy. In the late '70s, a highly publicized theft of computer tapes (of membership information) from American Atheists in Austin occurred. Lo and behold, I received a mailing from a new atheist organization called "Second Foundation," with Bill Murray, now in Arizona, as president. Something smelled, and I didn't bite. When his own atheist organization failed, Bill Murray became a born-again Christian and began to profit from being the son of Madalyn Murray O'Hair.

I ask the letter writer Mr. Murray to carefully read Bill Murray's Web site again. When I perused it a few months ago, I was struck by something. Bill was still using his mother as a whipping post, and there seemed to be no real expression of love for either his late mother, his late brother, or his late daughter. No remorse, no sadness. Character flaws must run in the family.

Jerry Wayne Borchardt

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