"Disappointed" would be the word I'd use to describe my reaction to Margo Pierce's article "When Lust Takes Over" (issue of Feb. 8-14). I could only groan as I saw the cover image, and everything inside confirmed my suspicions — another story about sexual addiction and how persons who use pornography or frequently change sex partners are somehow sick and need therapy.
What makes it worse is Pierce's use of "him" as if only male sexuality is a problem when sex is taken out of the middle-class model of marriage. This entire article sniffs of Puritanism for several reasons.
The first one being that there was little mention in the article of masturbation in general. This is a long-standing trend that various feminist groups and religious groups collude to attack any alternative form of sexuality, especially if it's heterosexual and male in nature. It seems as though our male adolescents not only have to be shamed out of their sexuality by the likes of these people but that they're also sick and in need of treatment.
My second objection to the article is that it consistently attacks the adult entertainment industry and prostitution as somehow being bad. It's very easy for readers who live in middle-class theistic homes to identify with this prejudice, but the facts are that pornography — after having been studied by the Meese Commission — was found not to have any ill effects whatsoever on the population as a whole. The commission also found no correlation between sexual assaults and other sex crimes and persons who use pornography.
Prostitution is legal in countries such as Denmark and a lot safer as opposed to its underground counterpart in this country, I might add.
However people may view these two methods of sexual expression, the fact is they are and have always been a mainstay of society. In fact, many of our most famous presidents have been known to frequent brothels. Perhaps people Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Warren Harding should have received treatment for sexual addiction.
While I'm not saying that there aren't excesses and I'm certainly not excusing sexual assault, I think we need to lighten up about different forms of sexual expression. Bashing people who choose other methodologies or lifestyles from our own, even if we find them morally repugnant because of some doctrinaire upbringing, does not give us a right to all of sudden declare them ill.
After all, it wasn't long ago when any form of masturbation along with homosexuality was enough to get a person committed to a psychiatric ward.
— Stephen Block, Clifton
Editor Responds: In the story, Margo Pierce interviewed three people who identified themselves as sexual addicts; one was a woman.
Missing the Big Picture
A recent Porkopolis item (issue of Feb. 1-7) urged consumers to fill up at Citgo, as it's owned by Venezuela's state-run oil company. The reasoning behind urging patronage of Citgo was cited as dictator Hugo Chavez's ardent criticism of U.S. foreign policy and his humanitarian efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
While I do praise Chavez for his Katrina relief efforts, it certainly doesn't take away from many of the heinous things he's done since seizing power in Venezuela. During his reign, he has illegalized independent media, thus allowing only state-run television, radio, magazines and newspapers. He also has continually jailed dissenters and their families simply for speaking negatively of him. I'm not even going to get into his close friendship with Kim Jong Il and Fidel Castro.
People here in the U.S. might certainly disagree with the policies and ideals of the Bush administration and voice those opinions. That's what makes our country so great. And while you might agree with some of Chavez's policies, his Lenin-like leadership moves him far down in my book.
If people keep blindly praising him out of sheer partisan hatred for George Bush, I guess they really are missing the big picture.
— Gregory Blosser, Montgomery
Who Is Fit to Be a Parent?
A bill banning adoption by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people (House Bill 515) was proposed in the Ohio legislature recently. The bill was introduced by Reps. Brinkman, Bubp, Buehrer, Gilb, Hood, Hoops, Reidelbach, Seaver, Willamowski and Schaffer.
It's an obscene violation of the civil rights of homosexual, bisexual and transgender individuals and of the interests and welfare of the state's children. Children should not be deprived of the opportunity to find loving and responsible care providers and parents fr
because of the ideology of one segment of the population.
Not only is the nature of the bill reprehensible, but the assault on constitutional protections and liberties is frightening. This type of precedent would pave the way for more and more government intrusion and control of our personal lives.
Would the same representatives find it constitutionally appropriate for me to suggest a counter bill prohibiting anyone who claims to be a born-again Christian from adopting on the grounds that their lifestyles, beliefs and practices would harm, corrupt or otherwise negatively influence the development of the children in their care? What about just anyone who watches the 700 Club or keeps the Left Behind series parked on their bookshelf?
I encourage your newspaper to both cover and take a stand on this bill, and I encourage your readership to learn about this bill and speak out. Democracy is predicated on the idea of an informed and active citizenry. This is an excellent example of when we need to stay informed and active.
Social conservatives have already proven what they can do with time and money in the recent passage of the marriage amendment. Do we really want one supposedly religiously motivated part of the population determining who is qualified to parent?
— Christina Dendy, Dayton, Ohio