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February 15, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-02-15

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4A -Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Nothing means more to me than making
government work better for the working
families of this state."
- Comedian and liberal radio personality AlFRANKEN in a speech yesterday announcing his intention to
seek the Democratic nomination for a Senate run from his home state of Minnesota in 2008.




Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Adopting equality
Joint adoption restrictions arbitrary and discriminatory
nce upon a time in Washtenaw County, gay and lesbian
couples were allowed to adopt children jointly just the
same as heterosexual couples. Then in 2002, a Washt-
enaw County judge declared that only married couples could
adopt children jointly. Given state laws prohibiting gay marriage,
gay couples were out of luck, the social progress this area takes


CO '"E.

Tired of caring

so much pride in utterly stunted.
On Monday, State Rep. Paul Condino (D- p
Southfield) introduced legislation that - if it s
overcomes the perennial biases and bicker- s
ing in the state House - would bring much s
needed sanity and equality to the state's s
adoption laws. a
State law allows only married (and there-
fore heterosexual) couples to adopt a child s
and receive joint-custody rights. While t
unmarried couples (homosexual couples a
included) are permitted to adopt children, c
only one of the partners can truly have cus- t
tody rights. Rather than providing a lov-
ing, secure home environment that we all a
agree is critical for a healthy childhood, thisA
system of exclusion causes insecurity and d
uncertainty. And this is nothing compared c
to the bureaucratic headaches that befall t
the family if some misfortune fells the legal v
guardian. r
For example, if the legal guardian of an r
adoptive child contracts a terminal illness, he f
cannot simply turn over custody rights to a e
partner or even another family member with- c
out heading to court first. Should that legal
guardian die or become incapacitated while p
the legal system takes its winding course, the o
child is removed from a loving home where i
one parent still remains and is deposited into I
the volatile foster care system. a
Discrimination against gay couples was v
exacerbated in 2004 when the state banned a
gay marriage in a ballot proposal. This ballot i
initiative codified the court ruling two years o
prior by defining marriage as an exclusive t
institution reserved only for heterosexual c
Daily's coverage ofNew Life h
ignores church's mission
I have to admit that it is disappointing tov
read an article that paints New Life Church b
in such a seemingly uninformed light (NewC
home for New Life, 02/12/2007). The Michi-C
gan Daily's story fails to capture the essence of
the church. The three elements of the churchv

eople. So it isn't so much that the state bars
same-sex couples from adopting jointly, it
imply bars unmarried couples from doing
o. Because they cannot legally marry, the
tate's current adoption laws discriminate
gainst gay couples.
Condino's legislation would rectify the
ituation by allowing unmarried partners
o adopt children jointly, thus establishing
a loving, two-parent home and avoiding a
omplicated legal struggle and the tribula-
ions of foster care should tragedy strike.
Not surprisingly, the voices of intoler-
nce on the religious right, particularly the
Michigan Catholic Conference, oppose Con-
lino's bill because they claim unmarried
ouples, especially same-sex ones, threaten
he well-being of children by failing to pro-
ide "traditional family structure." These
eligious groups would rather have children
un through the turbines of state-controlled
oster care than live in a loving, two-parent
nvironment. And they claim to have the
hildren's best interest at heart.
If the state legislature passes Condino's
roposal, marital status (and thus sexual
rientation) will not be a determining factor
n a couple's application for joint adoption.
nstead, the determining factors will justifi-
bly focus upon the couple's ability to pro-
ide a safe, loving home for the child. There
re good and bad potential adoptive parents
n every group - married or unmarried, gay
r straight - and legislators should ensure
hat they put the safety and well being of
children before any political agendas.
The result is a place where God is celebrated,
onored and worshiped as best as we can. New
.ife Church strives to offer services in a format
hat is accessible and relevant to young people.
;o often people say that they have never been
o a church service like this - people actually
want to be there. We acknowledge that we are
roken people who make mistakes and need
God. The authenticity of our members' love for
God and each other speaks volumes.
I invite you to come by next week to see
what I mean.

Jim MacMillan, a photojournal-
ist for The Associated Press
who spent a year in Iraq, sits
next to me in my war and literature
class. He is here as a Knight-Wallace
Fellow, a mid-career fellowship that
allows established journalists to live
off of a stipend and take a year of
classes at the University. Given that
he was part of the AP team that took
home the Pulit-
zer Prize for K
best Breaking
News Photog-
raphy in 2005,r
his fellowship is t
obviously well- .
Last week,
showedourclass WHITNEY
a small selection
of his photos DIBO
from Iraq. In a -
darkened room on the fourth floor of
Angell Hall, he took us through the
war-torn streets, introduced us to
bloodied, grieving families and put
faces to the American soldier body
When the lights came back on,
our class was visibly shaken. Those
pictures didn't belong in Angell
Hall, amidst my Hemingway nov-
els and colored-coded notebooks.
They belonged on the front page of
The New York Times, taken by some
unknown photographer. It upped the
stakes to know that the man sitting
next to me actually saw these people
and took these photos.
As I left the room, I began to feel a
strange sense of guilt. I had watched
the astronaut attempted murder
story unfold on CNN all weekend,
but flipped channels during the Iraq
war updates. What would MacMillan
think of my watching E! last night,
tryingto figure out how exactly Anna
Nicole Smith had died?
I asked MacMillan to have cof-
fee with me the following week at
Espresso Royale, a perfect atmo-

sphere for a conversation about
academia's isolation from the war.
While students studied diligently
and engaged in excessively cerebral
conversation around us, MacMillan
showed me additional photos from
his embedment. We talked about
campus's detachment from the war
- how students seem tired of talk-
ing about Iraq, tired of watching
the news and tired of reading the
paper. If this trend was irksome to
me, I assumed it would infuriate
But I was missing the point. The
academic bubble plays a role, of
course, but MacMillanwas more con-
cerned with why the Iraq media cov-
erage is not reaching the American
public - why even the most poignant
photographs continue to come and go
without really stirring the American
conscience. "I used to think, this pho-
tograph will be the one that ends the
Iraq War," he said. But the equivalent
to the Napalm Girl photograph from
Vietnam has yet to surface. Or maybe
it has - and we are all too compas-
sion fatigued to reallylook.
Compassion fatigue. Apparently
someone has invented a phrase for
what I and so many other Americans
are experiencing. To my understand-
ing, the symptoms are as follows:
Quickly skimming newspaper arti-
cles about Iraq while you stand in
line at Starbucks, not feeling any-
thing in particular when you hear
about another deadly car bomb or
suicide bomber, becoming emotion-
ally immune to the staggering body
counts and, of course, failingto really
see the photographs MacMillan and
his colleagues are sending home from
Baghdad. The symptoms of compas-
sion fatigue are everywhere on this
campus, but the cure is definitely
harder to come by.
MacMillanwent easyonus. He said
we don't have to sit down and read a
dozen articles on Iraq each morning
or watch hours of gruesome war foot-
age on CNN every night. In fact, that

strategy could worsen our collective
condition. The best wayto keep up on
Iraq, MacMillansays, istogoto news.
yahoo.com for a few minutes every-
day and search the words "AP Bagh-
dad." Read the first story that comes
up in its entirety, internalize the body
count and try to understand the rea-
sons people are beingkilled everyday.
"The consistency of this war is being
lost," MacMillan says. "You can't just
think about Iraqwhen it gets an extra
splash on CNN."
And all the information is at our
fingertips - more sothaninanyother
war. It's all out there for the taking,
everything from soldiers' personal
blogs to the graphic photos newspa-
pers won'tprint. All the toolswe need
to really taste this war are available
to us at the click of a mouse.
Compassion fatigue
blunts outrage
about war in Iraq.
"I'm not telling anyone how to
feel," MacMillan says, "I'm just
telling them to feel responsible."
For me, responsibility means drop-
ping my classic cover-up line, "Hey,
I voted for Kerry," and the like.
Maybe it was this detachment that
allowed me to flip channels during
the CNN Iraq updates. After speak-
ing with MacMillan, it became clear
how convenient it is to view Iraq as
the Bush administration's mistake
as opposed to America's war. Tak-
ing responsibility, whatever that
may mean for each person, is the
best remedy for compassion fatigue.
At least that's what MacMillan said
- and I think I'm going to take him
at his word.
Whitney Dibo is an associate
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at wdibo@umich.edu.

service (music, "slice of life," and sermon), are
meant to help students and members of tlie Karen Ostafinski
community better connect with God. When Alum
the band plays, the congregation has an oppor-
tunity to worship God as they hear passionate
music and sing lyrics that are infused with the
truth of God's word. The crowd does not wor- Lett
ship the band, nor does the band see their role
as that of a "performance." We just love to play All readers ares
music and honor God with the musical talents ters to the editor. F
he has given us. We like to join the crowd in name, college an
worshiping God together. Univer
Second, having failed to mention the "slice
of life" and sermon elements of New Life's ser- Letters should
vice, the Daily omitted two essential parts of words. The Michig
who we are. The "slice of life" element gives to edit for length, cl
church members the opportunity to share submissions beco
their personal experiences with God. In the
sermon, the pastor teaches straight from God's Letters will be p
word, offering insights and often weaving in ness and the amou
personal anecdotes and television/movie clips letters to tot
relevant to the topic.

ers Policy
encouraged to submit let-
Please include the writer's
id class standing or other
sity affiliation.
d be no longer than 300
an Daily reserves the right
larity and accuracy, and all
me property of the Daily.
rinted according to timeli-
nt of space available. Send

The Church's silenced peacemaker'
In a church that empowers an offensive, gay-bash- the result of his outspoken efforts to protect victims of
ing, anti-Semitic leader while silencing an international abuse. He added, "I don't regret (speaking on behalf of
voice for peace, there is no place for disappointed Catho- the victims) because I still think it was the right thing
lies like me. to do." Judging by the applause of his congregation, they
I've measured my life in Sundays spent disappearing thought he did the right thing, too.
into wooden pews as priests follow the commands of And so a man guilty of supplying medicine to hospi-
the Church hierarchy, espousing love and acceptance on tals in Baghdad, supporting a more accepting Catholic
one hand and contradictory political propaganda on the stance on homosexuality, comforting American hostag-
other. Over the past month, I've watched the contradic- es in Iran in 1979, testifying on behalf of conscientious
tions pile up - Catholic League President Bill Donohue objectors, fostering hope in his economically-depressed
basked in the glow of media attention for his criticism of Detroit parish, and co-founding the international peace
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, while organization Pax Christi hasbeen removed from service.
Detroit bishop and peacemaker Thomas Gumbleton was Apparently, Donohue's disdain for gay people, Jews, and
forced to resign his post. . liberal bloggers is a more palatable stance.
The Catholic League, which earns its tax-exempt sta- The Catholic League's work to single out dissenters
tus protecting Catholics from "discrimination," recently seems almost comical. After all, it need not look further
created a media spectacle after Edwards hired bloggers than many of the people filling its pews each week. More
Melissa McEwan and Amanda Marcotte. Both women seriously, Donohue may be guilty ofviolatingthe League's
criticized the Catholic Church's stances on issues like tax-exempt status by interfering in political affairs. Dur-
homosexuality, abortion and contraception, and some- ing the 2004 presidential race, Donohue even announced
times used vulgar language in doing so. Such predilec- that anyone who voted for the "idiot" Democratic nomi-
tions earned the bloggers the label"brats" from Donohue, nee John Kerry (who, by the way, is Catholic) in light of
who has his own history of offensive language. his refusal to condemn abortion was "cooperat(ing) in
He called upon Edwards to fire the two bloggers evil." But with such evils as poverty and war plaguing our
immediately. Edwards responded by saying that while world, doesn't it seem naive, even insulting, to attribute
he disagreed with the bloggers' opinions and would not "evil" characteristics to a presidential candidate?
allow offensive language in his campaign, he would not Facing unforgiving public cynicism in the wake of
fire them. Outraged, Donohue replied, "The bloggers are abuse charges, the Catholic Church cannot afford to
no longer the issue. Edwards is the issue." Apparently, move backward. What it needs more than anything
the Catholic League will not tolerate tolerance. is progress. It needs more leaders who recognize and
Neither will the Church. In January, the Catholic respond to the larger issues without being side-tracked
hierarchy abruptly removed a beloved Detroit leader by minor doctrinal disagreements. What it needs, unde-
from service. According to the Church, Bishop Thomas niably, are more Bishop Gumbletons - leaders who
Gumbleton had already passed the retirement age of 75 prove that seemingly idealistic values like international
and was due to retire. However, the 77-year-old and his peace and unconditional love can translate into realistic
parish assert that the Church had other reasons for get- goals, and who live their lives based on that truth.
ting rid of him - specifically, his recent support of leg- While Bishop Gumbleton has worked to foster peace
islation to extend the period during which a victim of in the world's most wartorn areas, Donohue has repre-
clerical abuse may sue the Church. sented Catholicism through petty attacks on presiden-
With his own experience as a teenage seminarian tial candidates. Unfortunately, his voice is the loudest.
abused by a priest, it seems Bishop Gumbleton has only Where is our hope when the Church silences the peace-
followed God's calling to speak for voiceless victims of maker?
abuse. In hin last words to his parish, he pointed out that
there are pastors older than he who continue to serve Emmarie Huetteman is an LSA sophomore
the Church. This indicates that his removal must be and a member of the Daily's Editorial Board.
Editorial Board Members: Emily Beam, Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns, Sam Butler, Ben Caleca,
Brian Flaherty, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Emmarie Huetteman, Toby Mitchell,
Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell, Gavin Stern, John Stiglich, Jennifer Sussex,
Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Wagner, Christopher Zbrozek

4 '.
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