I'm writing in response to the article by Stephanie Dunlap on the Rev. Charles Winburn ("Winburn's Revival," issue of July 27-Aug. 2), which highlights the problem of religious demagoguery in the Tristate. The sheer fact that we have a mainstream mayoral candidate who believes in exorcising demons and attacking people who are different shows how the Republican Party has moved away from its traditional advocacy of limited government to one which advocates a war on everything and everyone it finds indecent.
In doing so, it has given a voice to extremist demagogues such Winburn, who stands up like a clown and makes proclamations that are downright childish and idiotic. Imagine, a mayor of a mid-sized city in the United States whose other job is relegated to exorcising demons and writing books urging Christians to purge their government of non-Christians.
What's worse is that this individual once held elected office as a city councilman and has a lot of strong backing from the Republican Party and the Fraternal Order of Police. And he's not alone in trying to bring religion into politics, as we have others such as Phil Burress from Citizens for Community Values.
I find it ironic in a country that's supposedly engaged in a war on "extremist ideology" that extremism is condemned if it comes from Islamists such as Osama bin Laden but is embraced if it comes from Christians such as Winburn. In other words, if you want to set up a theocracy and attack human and civil rights, you may do so as long as you're Christian.
I feel it's long overdue that extremists from any religious or ideological bent who advocate setting up a totalitarian state are treated in the same manner, whether they're Christians or Muslims. This would mean rebuke by the media as well as scrutiny by the public at large.
In effect, a person's religion or religious beliefs should have no bearing on determining if they're qualified for public office in this country — which has a constitution mandating that the church and the state remain separate. As the great journalist H.L. Mencken once said, "We should only go so far as respecting a person's religion as we would the idea that their children are smart and beautiful."
One more thought. Maybe we should consider having the tax exempt status of Winburn's Encampment Church taken away, as he seems to be using it as a podium for his political campaign. Perhaps this step would clear up any confusion for Winburn about the separation of church and state.
— Stephen Block, Clifton
Funny or Intolerant?
I understand that Bob Woodiwiss authors humorous and satirical essays, yet his "Pious or Against Us" column was so far from humorous (issue of July 27-Aug. 2). It was, dare I say, intolerant.
I thought folks on the left or moderates were supposed to be so loving and tolerant of everyone else's feeling and opinions. Or is it everyone except conservative Christians and Jews?
Yes, there's going to be a creation museum opened soon in Northern Kentucky. I think that would be an alternate theory to be discussed as well as evolution. The last time I checked, it was Darwin's "Theory" of Evolution not "Fact" of Evolution.
How about a little tolerance from your side of things, Mr. Woodiwiss?
— Debbie Bolen, Price Hill
Is Rove a Traitor?
Oh, CityBeat of mine, guardian of reason in Cincinnati, why have you given so little space to the coverage of the Karl Rove story? There are so many juicy tidbits that have emerged in this story of late — especially the recent Washington Post story about a memo written just a few days before "the leak" to inform many at the top of the White House that Robert Wilson's wife is CIA agent Valerie Plame.
How about the story that Rove was fired by Bush the Elder in 1992 for leaking information to, who else, Robert Novak?
Here's what former President George H.W. Bush said about the business of exposing a CIA operative: "Even though I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors." That's from a speech on April 26, 1999. It's no wonder that he's been conspicuous by his absence of support of his son's administration.
You guys, above all others, should be covering this story with a picture of Bush the Elder playing golf with Bill Clinton.
— Sue Leitner, Cherry Grove
Probe Roberts' Positions
With the recent news out of The Washington Post about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' position in the right-wing Federalist Society, it is imperative that the media further investigate his record and impartially report your findings to the Cincinnati area public. Without accurate information on his stances, the public can't develop informed opinions and express them to their respective representatives and senators.
I strongly urge you to consider making Roberts' record as an attorney a top priority in your news coverage, as he could affect U.S. jurisprudence for decades to come.
— Jenni Padgett, Erlanger