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Touched by and Angle
Patricia Calhoun's "An Unhealthy Situation," in the October 8 issue, hit the nail on the head. How can organizations work effectively to help victims if the organizations can't work together? Thanks for bringing this to the public's attention. I hope you plan to continue coverage of Denver Health's plans to get more "in touch" with community groups. It couldn't be less in touch with them than it is right now.

Jill Rodgers
via the Internet

This Buddha's for You
Thank you for Tony Perez-Giese's story on Buddhist meditation in prison ("Buddha Behind Bars," October 8). I have never been in jail for more than 24 hours, but I quickly came to believe that it is hell, for both inmates and jailers. I think that reality is different there. The terrain of hell becomes familiar for the Buddhist practitioner, who will sooner or later enter hell in his/her personal journey. The nature of Buddhist meditation will eventually lead him to surrender to every fear he has. I think that if I were not Buddhist and could not be exposed to Buddhism and I were in jail, I would certainly try to invent it. It amazes me that far more prisoners in modern lock-down prisons don't seek the Buddhadharma.

Andrew Goetz
via the Internet

Someone on news:alt.religion.buddhism. tibetan pointed me to Tony Perez-Giese's "Buddha Behind Bars." It's great, very interesting and inspiring. Thanks!

Peter Olin
via the Internet

That Does Not Compute
Regarding Chris LaMorte's "Time's Up!," in the October 8 issue:
I have been on the receiving end of the rather brusque cease-and-desist for using the Denver Public Library computers for e-mail. I was told by two librarians that "the terminals are not for two-way communication." I tried to point out that all Web pages are a form of "two-way communication." Because it is so new, librarians and administrators with little knowledge of what they are dealing with are having to patch together policy about what is a new form of communication. Limited resources have caused them to cobble together a policy based on old (and good) ideals against restricting content, but one that errs on the side of limiting usefulness to their customers. I believe Andrew Carnegie and others who founded the public library idea would be aghast. After my encounter with the policy, my brother said, "Forget it. That's why I don't go to the library anymore--it's not of any use to me."

The library must get a fresh eye about Internet use--and e-mail is a part of this--if it is to remain relevant in a changing world.

Scott Bear Don't Walk
via the Internet

Playing the Grace Card
Regarding Ward Harkavy's "Fact or Friction?" in the October 1 issue:
It is my suspicion that anyone tempted to believe claims of conversion by "ex-gays" need merely insist on evidence of heterosexual arousal to know such claims of conversion are flaccid.

Gerry Todd
Denver

To Jesse "Let's have some consistency, people (I'm addressing the gay community here)" Davis, regarding his October 8 letter:

I don't know why I'm always surprised that right-wing twits like you present your argument, then present the obvious and logical opposing argument to your drivel, such as "You'll probably say I'm a bigot"--as if pointing out the obvious ahead of time diffuses it. In your case, you point out that some people will say that the gay person was "really gay all along." Well, duh.

I don't know of any straights who just decided they were going to be gay. People who live in the closet are doing just that. They don't think that they're straight; they're just afraid of coming out and facing a world of bigotry. Who can blame them? Did you read the news this week?

If gay men and women decide to go back in the closet for whatever reason, that is their choice, and they are free to make it. But regarding the conversion of John Paulk: The only conversion I see is the means by which he grovels for attention and approval--from drag to prostitution to Bible-waving.

Kevin Jordan
Denver

It was surprising to find my name and the name of our organization, Where Grace Abounds, in a Westword feature. Several years ago, Ward Harkavy interviewed some of our staff and leadership people and told me, "What you are doing just isn't controversial enough to be newsworthy." Apparently, what someone else says we are doing is worthy of attention. I am disappointed that we were not contacted to respond to the comments made about us.

I found Ward's article interesting and true to what I know of the experiences of many "ex-ex-gays." I know that people have been hurt by their experiences with individual Christians, churches and organizations that have misused the Bible to condemn homosexuals; I have agonized with several g/l/b/t men and women over these abusive episodes. Acting as a representative of the Body of Christ, I have often asked forgiveness for these sins against them.

Thus my disappointment with the article. Where Grace Abounds exists to help, not hinder, a person's search for resolution of deeply personal and painful conflicts. We do not believe that gay men change their sexual orientation through "teaching its gay boys the manly art of basketball." Nor do we believe that lesbians are "changed" through "instructions on how to apply lipstick and makeup." And I was horrified to find myself characterized as having advised a gay man to deal with fantasies by "thinking of sex with a woman." What nonsense!

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