Lucinda Naylor on her DVD to ART project
The Star Tribune's Sept. 28 article about my DVD to ART project, "Job on the line over DVD protest," missed the point. I aim to create a hope- and spirit-filled artwork that expresses inclusion out of the archbishop's disheartening, divisive DVDs. The project is not an anger-fueled protest. Instead, it is energized by all the wonderful, loving Catholic people who know the sky won't fall if Minnesota legalizes civil marriage for same-sex couples. It will be a positive expression of this spirit of love and transformation.
This is a personal project. I never capitalized on my title of artist-in-residence at the Basilica to promote this project. I accept my suspension from that role as the unfortunate by-product of taking art down off the wall and into the hubbub of the community.
Many Catholic congregations support this project. DVD to ART has accepted the support of Protestant churches to host collection boxes because their congregations have the freedom to support the project without backlash from the archdiocese. Obviously, Catholic churches do not.
DVD for ART is partnering with ReturnTheDVD.org, which has pledged a financial donation to St. Stephen's Human Services, an outreach program for the homeless, for each DVD that is sent to them.
ReturnTheDVD's website states: "We are a group of Catholics who are concerned about the priorities of the leaders in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis." Their action, distributing 400,000 DVDs on the single subject of same-sex marriage shortly before the upcoming election, reflects misguided priorities and strays from the essential teachings of Christ.
The money and effort expended would be put to better use by focusing on Catholicism's "preferential option for the poor" and the commandment to love thy neighbor.
LUCINDA NAYLOR, MINNEAPOLIS
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Did people really think that Lucinda Naylor was going to keep her job? She was going to use the DVD to try to embarrass the Catholic Church. That would be like a member of the president's cabinet going on TV after his speech to contradict what he has just said.
What's wrong with the archbishop telling people how to vote, as long as it is not done from the pulpit? We are not a secular society. We happen to be a Christian nation, much to the discomfort of some. As for getting Catholic theology into the Constitution, I do notice that the courts did find abortion in the Constitution.
E. MCHugh, East Bethel, Minn.
Educator urges help for GLBT students
This January will be the 10-year anniversary of the death of my dear friend Erik Turbenson. He was an amazing soul and an incredible performer, and he touched the life of everyone he met. He was also gay. He was just 16 when he took his life. He suffered firsthand from Anoka-Hennepin's hateful policies against those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Now, 10 years later, children are still dying because no one in the district is willing to step up and do what is right by the students ("Anoka-Hennepin schools implored to protect GLBT students," Sept. 27).
I am an early childhood educator, and the primary principle of our code of ethics is that "above all, we shall not harm children. We shall not participate in practices that are emotionally damaging, physically harmful, disrespectful, degrading, dangerous, exploitative, or intimidating to children." As educators, your duty is to all children in your classroom, including those with special learning and emotional needs and those who have begun the process of identifying themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
I urge a change in Anoka-Hennepin's policy to be inclusive of all students and families. Lives are truly at stake here.
NICOLE FRETHEM, ST. PAUL
University of Minnesota
Board of Regents needs qualified candidates
Your help is needed to find well-qualified candidates for the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents. The Regent Candidate Advisory Council (RCAC) is charged by the Minnesota Legislature to recruit and recommend candidates for four open regent positions -- one at-large, statewide position; and one position in each of the Second, Third and Eighth Congressional Districts.
The U, a flagship of higher education in our state and nation, stands at a crossroads. As it continues to meet budgetary challenges and new expectations of students, government and business, the U also is preparing for new visionary leadership with the retirement in 2011 of President Robert Bruininks. The RCAC is looking for exceptional candidates, with strong visionary leadership skills, for the Board of Regents as well, to help build and sustain the new university administration.
The U's 12-member Board of Regents is its governing board, responsible for collaborating with the U's president to provide valuable counsel, oversight and decisionmaking, including setting the U's annual operating budget, currently $3 billion. It is important that skilled, experienced individuals from diverse backgrounds help set its course.
With a new Minnesota governor to be elected in November and a new chancellor of the Minnesota State College and University System to be selected within the next year, this is truly a unique and critical time in Minnesota's higher education. The U's academic leaders and regents have an opportunity to look at new partnerships, new synergies and new collaborations that will help ensure that Minnesota stays competitive in a world economy fueled by a well-educated citizenry.
Please take some time to consider people -- yourself or others -- who may be qualified to fill these leadership positions.
The deadline for application is Monday, Nov. 8. Application materials are available on the RCAC website or by calling Sally Olson at 651-296-9002. We encourage all interested persons to apply.
DAVID F. FISHER, ON BEHALF OF THE RECRUITMENT COMMITTEE OF THE REGENTS CANDIDATE ADVISORY COUNCIL
We apologize for the inconvenience.