CATHOLIC CHURCH AND GAYS

Love, not acceptance

In her Dec. 19 commentary, "What's this new sin called complicity?" Ann Marie DeGroot presents an argument against the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexual activity that is representative of many such proposals I have recently received -- with one exception: She does claim that this archbishop is "good"!

The caricature that she makes of my argument is that "parents of an actively homosexual child cannot invite that person home for Christmas dinner" without committing a sin. I never said or implied that, and I never would.

After being born, raised and educated in a Catholic home and Catholic schools, my brother decided to join an evangelical church. My parents were heartbroken but continued to keep in touch with him. He knew that my parents never accepted his action, but he also knew they would not reject his person.

The same is even more true for any child involved in an immoral activity. You don't have to sanction the behavior in order to eat Christmas dinner with that son or daughter. At the same time, you do not have to condone that activity. You urge the offspring to reconsider his/her activity and you pray for his/her conversion. In other words, you let it be known you do not approve. Parents, family members, friends are called to radical honesty and moral integrity. There is nothing "new" about that.

THE REV. JOHN C. NIENSTEDT, ST. PAUL;

COADJUTOR ARCHBISHOP

OF ST. PAUL AND MINNEAPOLIS

Jesus is pretty clear

Jesus answers Anne Marie DeGroot's question in Matthew 10:34-37: "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me."

SAMUEL ADRIAENS, MINNEAPOLIS

GAY MARRIAGE

A good development

I was delighted to read about Lyndale United Church of Christ's decision to stop performing civil-marriage ceremonies ("Some liberal churches take stand for gay marriage," Dec. 18). I was especially happy to see discussion in terms of the separation of church and state.

The discussion of marriage rights is hurt by being commonly framed as a win-lose battle between church and state. Under this thinking, the legalization of same-sex marriage infringes on the First Amendment rights of those whose creed it violates, and the nonrecognition of the same constitutes a civil rights infraction for those who desire it.

By refusing to perform these ceremonies, Lyndale United and other churches revoke the implementation of state regulation, but surrender to the state's ownership of the term "marriage."

If we wish to move forward, the only solution is to divorce the legal and spiritual definitions and ceremonies. If the state deals only in civil unions, and marriage is left to the churches, the very battleground vanishes, and access to marriage ceases to be a civil-rights issue.

NATHAN BERRY, MINNEAPOLIS

SEASON OF GIVING

Tips to keep a donor

I really enjoy donating to my favorite charities and receive their mailings every year. If not, I can find them on the Internet. To keep me, and several others, as a donor, here are some tips.

• You do not need to call and thank me. I have received calls from two organizations that I give to annually, both with a thank-you message and asking if I could "just give a little more." You are not the only charity in my life -- I give regularly and what I can afford and choose to send to you.

• Notice the timing of my giving. If you are a military charity, my donations come at Memorial Day and Veterans Day. And I usually give the same time each year to most of my charities.

• Using a professional fundraiser makes me want to give less. Sending me a "gift" with a donation request, and then mailing or calling within a month asking if I "got your gift" makes it even worse. Send me your literature, and if you want to offer a gift, make it something I may choose when I send my donation.

• Do not sell my name to other charities that are similar to you. It's a good way to upset a regular donor.

And to all readers, give of yourself, time and funds, as much as you can, this time of year and all year long.

PRYCE SCORE, KENSINGTON, MINN.

U OF M HOCKEY

Not a NHL farm club

The University of Minnesota has sent many good men through its hockey program. The comments that New York Islanders General Manager Garth Snow made are just wrong ("Isles GM says Lucia's coaching hurt Okposo," Dec. 21).

The university hockey program should be something more than a farm club for the NHL. It is a very upsetting practice for the National Hockey League to raid the college teams in midseason just to replace a player who got a 30-game suspension.

DOUG BAINES, DAYTON

DEBATING TORTURE

Blame the terrorists

A Dec. 20 letter arguing against torture made this statement: "Giuliani is choosing his sleep deprivation. Those tortured have no choice at all."

Yes, they do have a choice! They can tell their interrogators what they know. They have been caught planning to, or attempting to, blow us to smithereens. Now that they have been apprehended, we are demanding to know what they and their cronies are up to. They can confess peaceably or they can confess with persuasion. It's their choice!

They're not playing by the "Marquess of Queensbury rules." In order to protect ourselves, we may need a new set of rules to deal with these people.

DOUG CLEMENS, BLOOMINGTON