To the Editor
RE: Winter Park Times March 29, 2019 Column Entitled “The Right Stuff” The Culture of Death by
Mr. DiGirolamo, I take it from your article about abortion that you are concerned about the death of fetuses and the soul of those who would have an abortion, and those that allow it. It is truly sad that there has to be legislation instead of allowing the woman and her doctor to make the decisions.
The rate of abortions are declining, thanks to education and available birth control. I strongly urge you to pry open your mind to consider a woman’s motive for having an abortion. Consider the following motives; desperation, love, fear of economic ruin, fear of loss of maternal life, fear of bringing a child into poverty. Obviously, there are many motives that you have failed to consider.
If you are creative and really wish to stop this killing of fetuses, there are somethings that can be done to prevent abortions. Make sure that every woman has health care, a high school education and birth control. Family planning goes a long way towards preventing the need for abortion. Instead, we are doing the opposite. The current administration is trying its best to repeal The Affordable Care Act, ostensibly without a replacement. Will pregnancy soon become a pre-existing condition unworthy of healthcare funds? Do you have any idea how expensive it is for a woman to get prenatal care and deliver her baby?
We can do better on supporting the woman who carries her child to term. The CHIP program which provides health coverage for over 9 million low income children and pregnant women had its funding cut to help balance the budget after cutting taxes to the richest 1% in this country. Finally Congress authorized CHIP funding, but cynically left out funding for more than 10,000 community health centers. Basically children got their insurance card but they have nowhere to go to actually get healthcare (vaccinations), especially in rural neighborhoods. The SNAP program which supplies food stamps to low income families to afford healthy meals was cut deeply. This 30% cut in funding hit 4 million low-income families with children.
I suspect your only reason for railing about killing fetuses is to criticize the Democratic Party. It is this party that has fought for better funding for universal child care, for affordable housing and living wages, and the coverage of birth control methods. I challenge you to find a GOP candidate that supports healthcare for all, evidence-based sexual education and programs like CHIP and SNAP that lift families out of poverty. It would be great to have the GOP support the culture of life. This will go much farther in preventing abortions than legislating against and criminalizing abortion.
I’m sure that Pope John Paul II would approve. A central tenet of Christianity is caring for the poor.
Wow! What a breath of fresh air and not just from these glorious spring time sunny days.
John DiGirolamo’s column is like a tall cool summer drink after a long tiring dry season.
It is engaging and thought provoking. It gives one an opportunity to give those brain cells a chance to breathe and grow.
No matter what side of the debate one may find themselves on, open and free dialog is a freedom inherent to the culture of life. When we are not challenged at some time or the other in what we believe or what we claim to stand for, we become lethargic and flabby intellectually. Thank you for the challenge.
Winter Park CO
To the Editor
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid! . . . The Wrong Stuff
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid! by John DiGirolamo in the March 8th edition purports to be the “Right Stuff.’ It is, in fact, sadly, and even pathetically wrong from every moral, ethical, and logical perspective. His argument can only be defended from sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, and xenophobic perspectives.
Substitute Woman, African American, Jewish, and, yes, Italian and Catholic for LGBTQ and see if what he says makes any sense whatsoever.
For example, he attacks Ellen Page for criticizing Chris Pratt for attending a church that is “infamously anti-LGBTQ” because it believes in and preaches about traditional marriage—whatever that has been over time and space, but he presumably means between a man and a woman. DiGirolamo further excoriates Page for tweeting, “Being anti-LGTBQ is wrong, there aren’t two sides.”
Let’s substitute African American for LGTBQ. Granted, until not so long ago there were churches that were infamously anti-African American. The Southern Baptist Convention seceded from the Baptist church on the issues of slavery. But, even the Southern Baptist Convention now argues that ‘being anti-African American is wrong, there aren’t two sides.” In fact, in 1995 it adopted a resolution rejecting its racist roots and apologizing for its past support of slavery, segregation, and white supremacy.
DiGirolamo introduces “a new term: tramarra-phobe. It is people who fear the virtues of traditional marriage”—that is, marriage between a man and a woman.
Not so long ago interracial marriage was considered an abomination. But, today, “there aren’t two sides” to this questions. In 1967, in Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court struck down all state laws banning interracial marriage as unconstitutional.
I could just as easily have substituted Jews for LGBTQ. Had DiGirolamo made that Right Stuff argument, it would not been well-received except by the white supremacists who paraded in Chancellorsville, VA.
Or I could have substituted Women for LGTBQ. Had DiGirolamo made that Right Stuff argument, I think he might have joing Tucker Carlson ‘on vacation.’
I could have substituted Catholics for LGTBQ. Today, the Catholic church has immense political power in the U.S., but at least until the election of John F. Kennedy’s election, being a Catholic was considered disqualifying. For years, the Catholic church was seen much as Muslims are seen today.
We have all read about the protests which have taken place when Muslims want to be build a mosque. In 1785, when Catholics wanted to build a church in the center of Manhattan, city officials, afraid of the papacy and his sinister influence, make them move it outside the city.
On December 24, 1806, protesters outraged by the weird ceremonies taking place inside (it was a Christmas mass in Latin), assaulted the congregants. Dozens were injured and a police officer killed.
I could also have substituted Italian Americans. Today, they are on the Supreme Court, governors, senators, congressmen AND women, businesspeople, etc. But it wasn’t always thus.
At one time they were as despised as the LGBTQ community. One of the largest single lynchings in American history took place in New Orleans on March 14, 1891. The victims, Italians all, were accused of belonging to the Mafia and of having killed police chief James Houston. They were tried and acquitted. A mob of hundreds, instigated by Mayor James Shakespeare, assaulted the parish prison and murdered them.
The reaction of the New York Times to the event was:
“These sneaking and cowardly Sicilians, the descendants of bandits and assassins, who have transported to this country the lawless passions, the cut-throat practices, and the oath-bound societies of their native country, are to us a pest without mitigation. Our own rattlesnakes are as good citizens as they… Lynch law was the only course open to the people of New Orleans to stay the issue of a new license to the Mafia to continue its bloody practices.”
Teddy Roosevelt, who later became president said that is was ‘a rather good thing.’
John Parker, one of the organizers of the lynch mob, and later governor of Louisiana, said that Italians were “just a little worse than the Negro, being if anything filthier in [their] habits, lawless, and treacherous.”
This wasn’t the only lynching of Italians, merely the most egregious.
The bottom line is, be afraid, be very afraid of anyone who targets any ‘tribe’ because as German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller wrote:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Ben Lawton, Fraser Valley Vacationer
West Lafayette, IN