The First Amendment protects speech and assembly, no matter how objectionable or offensive. It does not protect anyone from being offended. Despite Cothran's ranting, there is no more to this story.

Carl Stein
Noe Valley

Give George Cothran the Alicia Becerril award for vicious attacks. Becerril I can understand. She's Willie Brown's mouthpiece, going after Tom Ammiano, the only politician who can give Willie a run for his money in the mayoral race. The strategy was transparent -- knock Tom down a few pegs in front of the city's powerful Catholic vote.

But what's Cothran's problem? Has he forgotten that the First Amendment doesn't specify that the content of one's free speech has to be cleared through the archdiocese? If speech offends, that's all the more reason to protect it. Remember Lenny Bruce? The only olive branch Archbishop William Levada can offer queers (this one among them) is to speak out when we're murdered (he remained conspicuously silent when three recent gay bashings happened); to start teaching tolerance towards queers and others in his school system (I went to Catholic School for 12 years, so I know how bad it is); and to lay off politics (like the upcoming Defense of Marriage Act).

I don't expect Levada will do any of these things. Frankly, I don't think he gives a damn if queers are murdered or discriminated against. When's he ever said otherwise? Levada's a politician. He may have his eye on the throne of Rome. For certain he's going to use his new newspaper as a vehicle to influence politics in this city. Doesn't that violate his tax-exempt status?

I sure hope the IRS is watching. Willie's no better, of course. He took advantage of the situation to set up Ammiano as the fall guy. And Cothran fell for it, blaming the powerful gay community, instead of seeing the more obvious motives of the archbishop and the mayor. Not too swift, this Cothran.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca
The Castro

While I agree with George Cothran that holding a rally on Easter Sunday was probably not the smartest move the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence could have made -- at least if they want to win support for gay rights at the ballot box -- I strongly disagree that the city should have denied their permit.

No city government serves as a guarantor of polite (or even civil) public discourse. When a group makes an application that satisfies all the usual criteria regarding traffic, safety, etc. the city may not deny the permit based upon the group's views, or the content of their protest, however offensive it might be. Besides, you can't blame gays for having some negative feelings concerning Christians. How many times can you kick a dog before it will bite you?

Mike McCulley
Atlanta, Ga.

I was a little surprised at George Cothran's siding with the Catholic Church in his column, but totally baffled when he threw in the absolutely ignorant quote that the Catholic Church is "a leading force behind liberation in Central America." Examples? He gives us none.

Have you ever been to Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, or Honduras? Spanish conquistadors (good Catholics) forced those they didn't kill to convert to a religion that has kept women popping out children they cannot support (witness Guatemala City, Rio, and Sao Paulo's legions of homeless children), prevented them from having any choice in the matter, and from getting divorces. The mind-boggling poverty of these countries is largely based on the fact that there are too many babies being born.

If you call that a liberating religion, then you're as out of it as the Pope.

Cynthia Walker
Inner Richmond

In our review of A Long Day's Journey Into Night ("The American Canon," Stage, April 14), we misidentified the actor playing Edmund. His name is Jason Butler Harner. SF Weekly regrets the error.

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