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August 08, 2005 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-08-08

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, August 8, 2005 - 5


Anti-rainbow letter
disgraces 'U'
In response to Mark Drinkall's
letter (Homosexuality promotes sex with
children, beasts, 08/01/05), I would just
like to say thank you. Thank you for
setting a fine example as to what it
means to be a University alum. When
I graduate this coming April, I only
hope to be as narrow-minded and
ignorant as you, sir. In stating indi-
rectly that rainbow stickers will lead
to the breakdown of society, I say you
have absolutely no evidence. You did,
however, go on in length about a book
and a man who holds no credibility
outside of the realm of Christianity. I
thought that college, and in particular
a fine institution such as the Univer-
sity, was a place of higher thinking
and reasoning, not of ignorance. I am
not smiting you because of your reli-
gious affiliation or your beliefs on the
subject of homosexuality, pedophilia
or even bestiality for that matter. I am,
however, asking that in the future you
do not have published such unfound-
ed accusations about anything while
affiliating yourself with the Universi-
ty of Michigan in an attempt to spare
the good name of it and those attend-
ing it. Thank you.
Sean McDaniel
School of Education senior
No backing to anti-
gay letter
I was deeply disturbed to open up
the Daily to find the letter printed
by Mark Drinkall (Homosexual-
ity promotes sex with children, beasts,
08/01/05). I am from a conserva-
tive town and am therefore used
to right-wing bigotry in its uglier
forms. However, it was truly sad to
read that kind of filth from a gradu-
ate of this great university. I am cur-
rently a student here, and I enjoy the
diverse and open-minded environ-
ment the University provides. I was
surprised at the ridiculous nature of
Drinkall's letter. Being a University
alum, I would expect some form
of coherent argument. Instead, he
takes us down some terrible, slip-
pery slope that leads from homo-
sexuality to pedophilia. He wants to
tell us that if we normalize deviant
lifestyles we are embarking upon
some horrible "trend." He fails to
show how homosexuality, however,
is a deviant lifestyle. His only jus-
tification, it seems, is his opinion.
Drinkall also warns us all of the
danger of the "homosexual agenda,"
some catch-phrase used recently by
the right wing. If the "homosexual
agenda" is to gain acceptance into
society without being discrimi-
nated against by people like Drink-
all, I really don't see any reason to
be afraid. I've read this rehashed
right-wing argument before, but it
was truly sad to see that someone
could pass through this university
and come out so closed-minded.
I'm sorry for Drinkall, for it seems

he missed out on the great, diverse
experience offered at the University.
What a shame.
Nate Brunner
LSA junior
Ann Arbor residents
should support gay
community, NYPD
This letter is written in response
to Mark Drinkall's letter (Homosexu-
ality promotes sex with children, beasts,
08/01/05), in which he castigates the
owners of New York Pizza Depot on
William Street for their decision to dis-
play a rainbow flag in the front window
of their store.
I wish to congratulate the own-
ers of NYPD on their courageous
attempt to support the gay commu-
nity by displaying this sticker and
encourage all the moral and think-
ing members of the University com-
munity to also show their support
for NYPD in a tangible way.
In his letter, Drinkall suggests that
NYPD has been forced to cater to Ann
Arbor's homosexual community. He
laments the "fact" that Ann Arbor busi-
nesses are forcibly used as tools of the
"gay agenda" - as if the homosexual
community offers nothing in return!
What is disturbing about Drinkall's
letter is his apparent inability to com-
prehend the basic fact that homosexu-
als are not just unwelcome "guests,"
but are instead full and equal citizens
under the law - citizens with equal
rights to unapologetic, full access. This
misunderstanding of basic constitu-
tional principles is the cornerstone of
Drinkall's argument.
Drinkall suggests in his letter that
homosexuals should be grudgingly tol-
erated in Ann Arbor businesses, but not
welcomed as valued repeat customers.
He also implies that business owners
who attempt to openly court homosex-
ual business should be punished (in the
name of Christian love). In fact, he is
supporting a boycott of NYPD for their
insubordinate act of openly supporting
the gay community!
Certainly, we should not embrace
this kind of intolerance at a time when
this country is being transformed by
immigrants from around the world.
Gays have the right to enter and be
served "just like anybody else," but they
also have the right to demand the best
of service (just like religious zealots!)
It should be obvious that homosexu-
als are not going away. But their rights
to live as equal citizens in this country
will continue to be eroded unless all
members of the intellectual community
stand up and fight back. Itsis high time
that the thinking people of Ann Arbor
stood up and fought back against such
brazen acts of bigotry.
I hope that others will join me
in my open support of the owners
of NYPD and other brave business
owners who have had the courage
to cater to Ann Arbor's homosexual
Equal rights are not "special"rights!
The time to fight back is now!
Brian Durrance

Getting serious about Africa
eople are Africa is home to the majority of
dying in Afri- the most impoverished countries it
caat alarming the world. Her poor are guilty only of
and shameful rates. being born on a forgotten continent.
But it is America we one festering with malnutrition and
should be worried illiteracy, AIDS and ignorance. Most-
about. Mothers hold ly though, they are victims of the West
fx their dying children and its failure to give a damn.
in their arms, utterly When British Prime Minister Tony
powerless. World Blair proposed to double the aid giver
leaders hold grand meetings and argue to Africa by member nations of the
over who is responsible for the hunger of G-8 to $25 billion, the majority of the
a continent. Politicians ponder, govern- eight richest countries in the worlc
ments wait, citizens of wealthy nations found the money in their budgets. The
watch and do nothing. United States, however, rejected the
While we were busy designating plan - President Bush claimed simply
2005 the "Year of Africa," rocking throwing money at the problem was ar
to concerts held around the world ineffective use of funding if the govern-
to raise awareness of poverty on the ments receiving the funds are corrupt.
continent, and hearing positive press While it is true that aid money
about the leaders of wealthy nations should be given with vision - creat-
pledging to do more at the G-8 con- ing, for example, a plan that would help
ference, Niger teetered ever closer to African nations help themselves - it
the brink of famine. must be given.
Niger is the second-poorest coun- The United States has its share o
try in the world, with 64 percent of scandals as well (think Halliburton,
its 12 million citizens living on less Enron and, of course, Kwame). Whet
than a dollar a day. After experiencing President Bush asked for an addition-
a severe drought this year, the United al $87 billion for Iraq, for instance.
Nations asked for $80 million in food Congress gladly wrote the check. Nc
assistance, but it had only received strings were attached mandating thai
$427,000 worth of food supplements the money go to rebuilding the infra-
from the French government in May, structure our bombs destroyed. Nc
and now almost one out of every four stipulation was made that the money
children is dying from malnutrition. must be used to protect the Iraqi peo-


ple before it could be used to protect
their oil fields.
Niger is the Bush administration's
worst nightmare because it is neither
a tyranny nor in the midst of civil
war. Instead it is a democracy, one
where the government does not pos-
sess the resources to feed its people.
If Bush fails to act in Niger, he will
lead the United States into its great-
est scandal ever - a missed oppor-
tunity to save thousands, maybe even
millions of lives.
Getting serious about eradicat-
ing, or at least alleviating, Africa's
unmatchable scale of poverty will
require Americans to confront some
uncomfortable realities and make
tangible sacrifices. Here at the Uni-
versity of Michigan, an elite place of
learning where some of the country's
greatest engineers, thinkers and lead-
ers will emerge, it means taking the
time out of our busy, privilege-filled
lives to be embarrassed at our nation's
gross negligence. As college-edu-
cated Americans, we do not have the
choice to be apathetic; we have the
heart to be ashamed, the education to
know better, and the power to create
true change.
Gay is a member of the Daily's edi-
torial board. She can be reached at

Designs on our kids' curricula

P resident Bush
recently expre-
ssed support
for the teaching of
intelligent design
alongside evolution
in public schools.
"Both sides ought to
be properly taught
... so people can
understand what the debate is about," he
said, adding, "You're asking me whether
or not people ought to be exposed to dif-
ferent ideas, and the answer is yes" - an
apparent shift in his educational philoso-
phy given his administration's support for
abstinence-only sex education.
Evolution is often bashed on a false prem-
ise. "If it'sjust atheory,"certain people ask,
"why can't it be taught alongside intelligent
design, which is also a theory?" This rep-
resents a lack of understanding with regard
to the nomenclature of science. By the time
an idea obtains the title of "theory" in the
scientific community, its foundational facts,
having been observed and tested in con-
trolled settings, are well-established.
Einstein's Theory of Relativity isn't
called Einstein's Fact of Relativity,
but that doesn't mean any respectable
physicist would challenge its basic
results and predictions, which have
been tested in a number of famous (to
physicists, at least) experiments. The
same is true for evolution.
The use of the word "theory" is simply a
reflection of the modestly that underlies all
good science; no idea is invincible, and if
a new theory arises that can account for an
older theory's results while doing a better
job of adapting to newly discovered infor-

mation, the new will subsume the old. It's
a bit like, well, evolution.
Intelligent design, which states that
the sheer complexity of biology can only
be explained by some sort of intelligent
force, is not a scientific theory, primarily
because it is not falsifiable. Unfalsifiabil-
ity, a hallmark of almost all pseudosci-
entific "theories," means that there is no
way to set up an experiment that could
show the idea to be wrong. How do
you prove the absence of a supernatural
force? You can't. Because of this, intel-
ligent design is as out of place in a science
classroom as a salsa lesson would be in a
cooking class.
There's another controversial debate
raging within certain public schools.
The New York Times recently reported
that "more than 175,000 students in 312
school districts in 37 states" now have
access to Bible classes in their public
schools. This is largely due to the efforts
of the National Council on Bible Curricu-
lum in Public Schools, an advocacy group
whose agenda is pretty self-explanatory.
The national council claims that its
classes are nonsectarian and do not
infringe upon the constitutional separation
of church and state that is a prerequisite
for any public school curriculum. It also
stated that it "is concerned with education
rather than indoctrination of students."
It's hard to take these claims seriously
given that, among other clear examples of
the courses being offered favoring religion
over fact, some of the children in these
"nonsectarian" courses are taught that
"documented research through NASA"
backs a scriptural passage asserting the
earth once stood still. Further indicting the

national council is the fact that its "efforts
are endorsed by ... Concerned Women for
America and the Family Research Coun-
cil" - organizations that disseminate a
Biblical agenda rather openly.
Much overlap certainly exists between
the groups seeking to force intelligent
design on science teachers and the groups
backing or lauding the national council.
Their goal isn't particularly complicated:
They want their version of Christianity
to have its hands in everything. President
Bushframing the current fracas over evolu-
tion as a "debate" is laughable. There is no
debate, among respected scientists, about
evolution. Intelligent design is a sweetened
version of creationism that is designed to
slip past the guards of the church-state
divide. Or, as a Kansas professor once put
it, it is "creationism in a cheap tuxedo."
Who could possibly argue that an idea that
has so little to do with actual, hard science
has any place in a classroom?
It is a dangerous time for the educa-
tional system. Most of the evangelicals
behind these efforts would be loath to
describe themselves as relativists - the
term is anathema to those who claim to
understand absolutes like virtue, truth and
goodness. But in their attempts to chal-
lenge scientific findings that don't com-
port to their worldview, they are setting up
a frightening; Orwellian system in which
"truth" is malleable - not to be deter-
mined by the experts in a particular field,
but rather by those with the political clout
to convince the public that debate exists
where there really is none.
Singal can be reachedat

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