From Our Readers: March 2009

Questioning OutRight, questioning religious tax breaks, questioning LeftOut, questioning OutSmart, questioning Obama.


Dale Carpenter misses the mark re: Rick Warren’s association with Obama by focusing on ideology [OutRight, “The Purpose-Driven Choice,” February]. The main connection between Warren and Democrats and Republicans alike is financial, according to “Religion-Based Tax Breaks: Housing to Paychecks to Books,” from a four-part series by Diana B. Henriques published October 11, 2006, in the New York Times. Both houses of Congress overwhelmingly passed into law, thanks to Rick Warren’s efforts, a new law that clergy members of all faiths could deduct [from their taxes] the amount used to provide a home, however much that might be. Nice perk for clergy, right?

Furthermore, we could solve all of our financial problems in this country if we simply began taxing the land that churches own, which we all know is tax-exempt, and remove sales tax exemption status from churches. What a wonderful gesture that would be in Jesus’ name!

Buzz Bellmont
Houston, Texas


I congratulate James Fedowsky [for his] letter, “Don’t Let the Facts Get in the Way” [Letters, January, re: Mark Timmers, “Houston’s Animal Cop”].

OutSmart has never been unbiased in support of its advertisers. It is noteworthy that Ms. [Phyllis] Frye’s ad ran opposite [OutSmart ‘s editor’s note, which defended] her client [Timmers]. And your support of Ms. [Karen] Derr’s candidacy is based in part on her being one of your earliest clients.

Robert J. Wilson
Houston, Texas


How predictable that the comments in OutSmart regarding Obama’s inauguration were unanimously enthusiastic, and how discouraging that the breathless tone resembled teenagers with a crush more than serious adults [“Why We Love This Man” by Steven Foster, February].

Surely somewhere in this community of ours there exist people who noticed that we haven’t been attacked since 9/11; that Iraq just held fair, free, and peaceful elections . . . ; that al-Qaeda, which had made Iraq its central battleground, was unable to disrupt a single polling place; that Libya has given up its weapons of mass destruction program; that Syria is out of Lebanon. . . . [Or] that Obama gave himself a long time to close Gitmo. . . . [Or] that it wasn’t Bush, the Republicans, or any conservative that caused oil to spike at $140 a barrel . . . [or pushed] the idea of giving mortgages to people who can’t afford them. . . . [Or] that under the Bush tax cuts, which “favored the rich,” tax revenues to the government actually went up. . . . [Or] that the dreaded Patriot Act, which we all like to believe is stomping on our Constitutional rights . . . was passed by Congress, just as the Constitution designed it. . . .

I noticed all these things, and actually liked President Bush. I would never write breathless prose about how he changed the world or fought for my rights. I just don’t have those feelings of helplessness or victimhood or whatever it is that makes gay people act so childish about Obama. I guess that means I hate myself.

Dirk Marshall
Houston, Texas


The office of the presidency is not charged with raising, feeding, or disciplining Americans. Its first order of responsibility, constitutionally, is national security and the protection of our borders. The institution of the family is charged with the duties of raising children, yet Mr. Wolf so willingly yields them to Obama’s White House [LeftOut, “Spare the Rod, Spoil the World” by Brandon Wolf, February]. I sometimes wonder if there are any responsibilities left to the individual.

Mr. Wolf seems to suggest that our source of success and happiness exists in Washington. Government is not and never has been the source of American greatness. Freedom is that source. Our government is authorized by its citizenry to “promote the general welfare,” not to provide it! Helping people who cannot help themselves is one thing, but Americans who demand womb-to-tomb assistance are simply lazy and fail to recognize their individual self-worth. We do not answer to a central government. Government answers to us.

Under Bush, the economy was stable for six of his eight years. Unemployment was, on average, lower than any previous decade since the 1960s. Due to his tax-cutting efforts, tax revenues to the federal government have never been higher, a paradoxical truth that liberals do not understand. We have not been attacked again since 9/11, although there have been some attempts. Perhaps Mr. Wolf desires Obama to dismiss terrorist desires even though the 9/11 Commission Report said specifically, “They have been at war with us while we have not been at war with them.” This is a profound statement, given that it references decades of Muslim terror plots against U.S. interests, going back to 1979 when Iranians took 52 Americans hostage—until Reagan was sworn in. Yes, even with understanding Democrats in the White House, radicals had America in its cross-hairs.

If Mr. Wolf really thinks Obama is going to “lead us into a new world of discussion, understanding and negotiation” with psycho-leaders in the Middle East and elsewhere, you’re living on the planet Romulac. Obama will finally be held accountable for his talk and his decisions. He cannot vote “present” and his rhetoric of two years of campaigning is documented. And so are the declared desires of terrorists speckled across the globe. He better be ready to spank evil. And the terrorists need to know that.

Michael Crowe
Houston, Texas


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