I take exception to Tara Servatius' reference to my husband's death as "a futile attempt to stop some aging yuppies from lighting up after a hard week at the office." ("A Needless Tragedy," July 31). She was selective in the information she quoted from Partnership for a Drug Free America, choosing to show how prevalent the use of marijuana is rather than some of the effects.
She failed to mention that the PDFA classifies marijuana as a "gateway" drug, because it "increases the likelihood that someone will go on to use other drugs." She also failed to mention that the PDFA says that the average age of first use of marijuana among 12-17 year olds is between 13 and 14. Scott Futrell was dedicated to keeping marijuana away from the children of this country. Ms. Servatius was out of line to suggest that his talents would have been better spent on rapists, pedophiles, and terrorists; he chose his battles and this was one he felt passionate about, enough so that he volunteered much of his free time in its pursuit.
Ms. Servatius obviously has used this paper to further her own agenda. That is her choice. My husband would never want his name connected to her article, "A Needless Tragedy." --Karen Player Futrell, Charlotte
Those Dedicated Evangelicals
I am very offended by the content and the tone of your "Fundamentalist Feeding Frenzy" cover article (by Barry Yeoman, July 31). First of all, the title is misleading since the missionaries in your story are hardly part of a feeding frenzy. In fact, they seem reasonable and dedicated to spreading the Good News they have been made aware of. I commend the teachers and missionaries at Columbia International University and wish them success in their efforts to convert Muslims, heathens, pagans and what have you to the One Way. I hope that the people at Creative Loafing will reconsider and be able to open their hearts to Jesus Christ. By the way, I don't agree with many of the articles in your publication, but I compliment you on your new design. -- Cindy Vasalian, Charlotte
Wipe Out Fundamentalism
In regards to "The Stealth Crusade": Wipe out Islam? Let's wipe out fundamentalism. Like the Muslim fundamentalists who have completely lost the message of Mohammad, the Christian fundamentalists have equally lost the message of Jesus Christ. I almost found it humorous that the missionaries of Columbia International University (CIU) tell us that Satan has deceived the Muslims away from Christ, while they themselves attempt to use Satan's same tactics to deceive the Muslims toward Christ. I read with interest how the missionaries violate laws, disguise themselves and proclaim to be Muslim, and even wish ill will upon those who don't believe (praying that the "Cham people do hunger'), all in an attempt to lead them to Christ. Satan would be proud; they've lied, deceived, broke a few laws and even prayed for ill will upon peace loving people. And we learn that they see no harm in jeopardizing the lives of others who wish to send aid or the Muslims themselves in their attempt to convert people to their own warped view of Christianity.
How many times do we read in the Bible of Jesus wishing hunger upon people, wishing sleepless nights upon the non-believer, or withholding food and medicine until people heard his message? "Hey, no loaves and fishes until you people hear my message!" It's about time the people at CIU, and other fundamentalists like them, stop worrying about the threat of Islam (or any other faith) and instead pick up their Bibles and learn a little about the life of Jesus for themselves. --Rob Jacik, Charlotte
If a theater company challenges the religious orthodoxy in Charlotte by portraying Jesus as a practicing homosexual, Creative Loafing applauds their courage of conviction. If a missionary challenges the religious orthodoxy in Pakistan, however, Creative Loafing says s/he is trying "to wipe out Islam" ("Fundamentalist Feeding Frenzy" by Barry Yeoman, July 31).
When a parent encourages a child to pursue firefighting, police, or military service, we think it noble -- in spite of the inherent dangers of these careers. When a missionary encourages a Muslim friend to follow Christ, Creative Loafing deems it to be callous disregard for the friend's welfare. (The repression of freedom of thought and belief implied in this scenario is considered to be a fixture, not a social ill that CL might actually want to address.)
Creative Loafing would support the right of someone with a non-traditional gender orientation to conceal or reveal his/her orientation at his/her discretion, and I would concur. Apparently missionaries whose very lives might be at stake, not to mention careers, do not have the right to exercise a similar discretion, though -- if CL is to be believed.
I have always thought that debate is a good thing. My Muslim friends have never hesitated to carry their end of a discussion/debate on religious topics, and I do not esteem them less for that. Of course, inherent to debate is the desire to influence the beliefs of others. Is this a problem?
I had always thought that Creative Loafing, of all publications, was interested in a good debate. On the other hand, based on the completely pejorative headlines in "The Stealth Crusade" ("Feeding Frenzy," "wipe out Islam"), it appears that CL thinks evangelical Christians should just shut up and sing "Kumbaya." -- Chris Falter, Indian Trail
Regarding the column "Bad Vibes" (by Elizabeth Chapel, August 7), Ms. Chapel, have you ever heard the term "Don't knock it till you try it"? Well, my fellow female, it most certainly applies here. I wouldn't describe myself as an expert on this kind of stuff, but I can tell you that if you have $30 and 15 minutes (tops!), then you too can be enlightened to the glories of mechanically assisted self-satisfaction. It's really not as intimidating or complex as it is often thought to be.
I'm not sure what website you were on, but turn off the computer and find a female-owned novelty store (sorry guys, I'm sure your store is great, but this chick is a little scared, so give me a break). I know one in particular that is great. It's got a huge selection, very clean and comfortable environment, and the recommendations of the owner and other patrons are helpful, not creepy.
I'm not sure if Ms. Chapel is now convinced, but to all you other readers out there, please take my advice and get yourself something! You'll be glad you did. -- M.J. Hoke, Charlotte
'm writing you about a review of Bruce Springsteen's latest album The Rising (by Gene Lazo, July 31). This guy obviously has more than a clue about Springsteen, his music, and the new album. It's nice to read a review from someone who has taken the time to listen and understand an album. It's a shame more critics don't approach their craft as seriously as Mr. Lazo has in this review. -- Bill Muldowney, Charlotte