Holy media and unfair evictions

Readers respond to articles on the newest reformation to hit churches, and the latest public housing dilemma.

By Salon Staff
Published April 17, 2002 7:00PM (EDT)

Read "The Father, the Son and the Holy JumboTron" by Caroline Tiger.

I appreciated the article on the media reformation in worship. I am a United Methodist pastor, and provide pastoral leadership for a multimedia service. I was curious, though, why in her discussion of the evangelical vs. mainline approaches to these issues, Ms. Tiger doesn't mention that Ginghamsburg Church is a United Methodist Church. It is a premier example of what mainline churches are doing to embrace the media reformation -- not all of them are fighting it. Thanks for your insightful coverage of religious issues.

-- Beth Givens

Perhaps it is time to do a bit of research regarding the Reformation. The Reformation was more about the theological positions that Luther held, and the threat they were to the Roman Catholic Church, than Luther's desire to mass produce a Bible in one's own language. That Luther's ideas coincided with the advent of the movable-type printing press was, of course, rather advantageous for the Reformation, but it did not cause the Reformation. Media is not the issue, it is the message that is of fundamental importance. Luther turned the entire Roman Catholic world on its head with his insistence that we are saved by grace through faith. It was his theological insight, his evangelical breakthrough, that began the seismic shifts in the 16th century, not his use of a new media. It helped, certainly, but if the message had not been so profound, then no media in the world would have made a difference. The same is true today. Please, prior to doing articles like this, do some rudimentary reading on the subject before making mistakes that mislead readers.

-- Ken A. Grant

Read "Evicting Grandma" by Janelle Brown.

Janelle Brown's article "Evicting Grandma" is so poorly argued I wasn't sure if she was serious or just a poor satirist. If nothing else, she has managed to stretch victimhood beyond any lengths previously assumed possible. "Lark, already overwhelmed with the business of mothering, has to take on the role of cop ... she has to make sure that no one in [her apartment] -- friends, visitors, her addicted daughter -- takes drugs, sells drugs, hangs out with drug dealers or commits any crime." Wouldn't most mothers have a vested interest in keeping their children off drugs and away from drug dealers? Wouldn't they try to insulate their children from negative influences, especially in their own homes? "Lark had to prohibit her drug-addicted daughter from visiting her own children .... But by taking a hard line, she could drive her daughter further away, and earn an 8-year-old's confused resentment." Is it wrong to expect a mother to get off drugs if she wants to be a part of her child's life? Shielding an 8-year-old from a drug addict isn't wrong, it's logical. And the show stopper: "In a supporting brief to the Supreme Court case, the Brennan Center for Justice cited eight examples of frivolous One Strike evictions, including a grandmother who was evicted because her mentally retarded granddaughter threw her baby out the window." Expecting people to keep their homes free of crime in exchange for tax-supported housing assistance is heavy handed. Throwing babies out of windows is frivolous. "Yeah! Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for coming. I'm Janelle Brown, satirist extraordinaire and I hope you've enjoyed the show. Make sure to drive safely and don't forget to tip your server." The fact that a law requiring people to take responsibility and accountability for their own lives is even debated is not surprising; but it should be.

-- Steve Carr

There are not only numerous people waiting to get into public housing, there are numerous people who DO manage to police their households and keep them free of public offense. These people deserve to be protected from the mismanaged offspring of their less-contentious neighbors. Drug use is a huge problem in subsidized housing, and if social policy is to discourage drug use, then holding householders responsible is a valid way to achieve those ends. As a rural homeowner whose renter "neighbor" recently brought his nine gang-banging nephews up from the barrios to "get them out of that environment," I have at least a taste of what law-abiding public housing occupants must deal with every day. And guess what? I'll jump at any chance to get rid of these people. Sorry. I say, "Kick 'em out." As for the Bushes, drug usage is the least of their sins against this country. I wouldn't give them the packaging from my durable goods in which to live.

-- Susan Madison

What? People who live in housing paid for by the taxpayers actually have to be responsible for their families?? This is absurd! Families who suspect illegal activities from their children have to stop it? How can this cruelty continue in our free country? These people should file a class action lawsuit against the city that is supporting them in the first place and demand that their crack-addicted children be allowed to do as they please.

-- D. Losinger

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