Spirit of Wittenberg
Congratulations, and thanks, for Matt Smith's thorough and insightful article "The Holy War Over Gay Marriage" (Nov. 4). We agree that the holy union of Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton on Jan. 16 will significantly change the United Methodist Church, as many UMC pastors co-officiate.

We at Bethany United Methodist Church would invite gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people -- and perhaps even some straight folk -- who have left Methodism, or any denomination, over exclusion of equal participation to consider trying us once again. Attend either our church (at Clipper and Sanchez) or any UMC in the city or the region in the crucial months ahead. Make yourselves known as either GLBT or straight defenders of these courageous pastors who are putting their careers on the line.

Religious opposition to GLBT rights is the single greatest obstacle to our full rights as citizens of this nation -- as is apparent when politicians always cite biblical references as their exclusionary defense. Some mainline Christian denomination must break through first. Once one does, others will follow. We would be proud for the precedent to come in United Methodism with the help of many new allies whom we, in turn, can also nurture.

We regard Jan. 16, 1999, in Sacramento as potentially significant in church history as Oct. 31, 1517, when Martin Luther posted 95 theses on the door at Wittenberg.

Bruce Pettit
Reconciling Committee
Bethany United Methodist Church
San Francisco

Methodists, Leftists, and Gays, Oh My!
I am a bit disappointed, but not surprised, at the feature "The Holy War Over Gay Marriage," by Matt Smith. I also continue to wonder who the audience is that is being targeted by such promotional opinions, just as I would an article written by a sports-hater about why diving should not be part of the Olympics.

The "church" is the defined Body of Christ, representative of the testament on Earth to God and his loving, saving plans for mankind. The church willingly has no permission to, of its own will and direction, alter the word of God (the Bible and its inclusive Jewish heritage) or to fail to recognize one portion over the other.

Yet your claim is that the long-since apostate United Methodist Church affiliates in California are on a crusade to "rightly" reform biblical teaching in a simile to the true church's stands taken in the Civil War against slavery. I contend that the two fights are not synonymous and that to say they are is a gross ignorance of the basis of the church itself.

I do agree with Smith in that the word "pastor" is not capitalized in referring to the UMC officiates wishing to part from the denomination by "marrying" homosexuals, for such "pastors" are not at all what the title represents. There is not the option for any church officiate to ignore or alter such scriptures as 1 Kings 22, Amos 4, Matthew 10, Romans 1, Romans 13, 1 Corinthians 6, 1 Timothy 1, 1 Thessalonians 4, etc. There is no Christian interest in promoting this sexual agenda. God made sex as a pleasurable, procreative representation of his own son's relationship to the church and this is scriptural (1 Corinthians 13).

San Francisco and its leftist media is certainly a promoter of this, and many of the city's "mainline" churches have so fallen into only selectively recognizing their biblical foundations that even the UMC in Chinatown has sent its laypeople this last week to "diversity training" outside of the Chinatown area (a brilliant move, I suppose, since this avoids the uprising from any incidental Christians who may still be worshipping there).

Somehow, the city has altered the view of the pure and upright to exclude anything not congruous with its leftist sex-agenda of overthrowing family structure. No wonder San Francisco is known internationally as "no place to raise a family."

The UMC surely must rein in its promoters of a social agenda in such ill-begotten articles as this one and let the pretenders hide behind another banner. Otherwise, it risks the wrath due any other heresy which is hateful of families, normality, and the children of God.

Arthur Barrons
Via Internet

Boulware's an Idiot
Why do you write? If the story of Julia Butterfly ("Up a Tree. Still?" Nov. 11) cannot inspire you to join in the cause (of humanity), nor enlighten you that environmentalist issues have no end until every breathing human being, down to the last greedy f-ck-all businessman, shares even a glimpse of the beauty that surrounds us, what on earth could motivate you to become a journalist? Your article serves to betray countless activists, concerned citizens, and a most extraordinary and eloquent heroine whose efforts continue to draw attention to the deals -- i.e., Gov. Wilson's bill -- which preserve a mere 7,500 of 60,000 acres for oh, just $245 million of our money. If you think that equates to saving the Headwaters, you are an idiot. Or worse, an employee of Charles Hurwitz.

Paul Fyvolent

Boulware's Damn Near an Idiot
While I appreciate the prominence of Jack Boulware's article on the Headwaters Forest ("Up a Tree. Still?"), I was saddened by the author's lack of sensitivity to what is perhaps the core issue.

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