Courage is needed to go against the tide


My heart goes out to Mary Hilgenberg and to all of her family as they (like other families) struggle with the growing evidence about the long-term damage football concussions are causing ("The truth behind the death of a Vikings legend," Sept. 16).

I had one major concussion, and a couple minor ones, playing small college football. I grew up worshipping the "Purple People Eaters," including Mary's husband, Wally. So when she says, "You speak against football, it's like speaking against someone's religion," I know she's right. Except football is not like any old religion; it's often like a fundamentalist sect in which questioning the tenets is a difficult thing to do. And when society buys into the fundamentalism, it's like trying to turn around a battleship with a few tugboats.

But enough tugboats might eventually lug the battleship back into a harbor and turn it into something more useful than a vehicle for tearing people's heads off. Any parent who's struggling with the decision to let their child play has to deal with so many forces: bucking society, family, peer pressure, etc.


* * *


Oops! You forgot about Bulgaria in 1942


Peter Leschak's commentary repeated the common belief that the last U.S. congressional Declaration of War was in December 1941 ("The Cuban Missile Crisis played out 50 years ago next month," Sept. 16). Actually, the last declaration of war was June 6, 1942, against Bulgaria. Since World War II, there have been somewhere around 100 U.S. military actions without benefit of a declaration of war.


* * *


Where's the separation between church, state?


In response to Lori Sturdevant's column last Sunday, I suggest that the divisive partisanship, both here in Minnesota and nationally, has dramatically increased as religious tenets have been framing laws and policy in the political arena ("How do we break down walls?" Sept. 16).

We wondered a generation ago what would happen as we watched religious positions gradually becoming political ones. We wondered what would happen when our ethic of separation of church and state was systematically ignored. Now we know.


* * *


Some lean to the left, some lean to the right


Jason Lewis is convinced that Democrats have moved to the left ("Democrats veer left; here is the evidence," Sept. 16). The evidence he offers is odd, because except for President Obama's position on the Defense of Marriage Act, all of his examples have at one time in the past been offered or cosponsored by congressional GOP members. Maybe it appears to him that the Democrats have moved to the left when, in fact, it is the GOP that has moved so far right. It's all in the perspective. Methinks his political GPS needs recalibrating.


• • •

I wonder if Lewis has ever considered that he and his conservative comrades are in a boat being blown farther and farther to sea and away from the shore. Perhaps the solid ground of common sense and compromise is stationary, and he's drifting farther from it.


* * *


Voters driven by their views of God's message


Archbishop John Nienstedt of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, said recently that his leadership in support of the marriage amendment isn't intended to be hurtful or discriminatory toward anyone ("Both sides in marriage fight appeal to faithful," Sept. 19).

But with all due respect, his leadership in this matter, if it succeeds, will be extraordinarily hurtful and discriminatory to my two gay children. His leadership would deny them the opportunity to build lives like the one my husband and I have built and modeled for them. I did not pray to God to give me gay children, but gay are the children I was given. They are now young adults.

We raised them, not knowing they were gay, in a religious community that covenants to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and justice, equity and compassion in human relations. I believe that what God wants is that, when in doubt, we should love one another.

The archbishop should accept that others' sincere religious beliefs may be different than his. I do not ask him to marry my children in his church. He should not prevent my state from recognizing the marriage that my church blesses.


• • •

Marriage, as defined by Holy Scripture, is between one man and one woman. It's a covenant between the couple and God. Scripture says that marriage is honorable and the bed undefiled. Homosexuals say that love and commitment qualifies them to marriage.

But homosexual sex is defined in Scripture as a false and unnatural desire. It's never defined as proper love. And commitment is a broadly defined term; I'm committed to my daughter and my son and a few other close friends, but that does not qualify me to marry them.

Finally, children have a right to a mother and a father. We must not create artificial barriers to force it to be otherwise. Having two or more men as "father figures" or two or more women as "mother figures" is unacceptable. Let's not create more confusion than there already is. Please vote for the marriage amendment.