-- Jay Montgomery, Marietta
(In reference to "Atlanta 2012: After the end of oil," Dec. 2.) I just wanted to let you know that that was one of the more creative, thought-provoking and interesting pieces of journalism I've seen in a long time. (Also, it scared the hell out of me.) It's an awesome and terrifying thing.
-- Phil Dunn, Washington, D.C.
Take back the party
Did I read correctly in Cliff Bostock's column that he feels that discouraging sex in public is "trying to impose conservative decisions" (Headcase, "Queers who don't act right," Nov. 18)? I'm no conservative, but it is outlandish ideals like this that have caused the Democratic Party to fall off a cliff. I'm a registered Democrat living intown, and there are many, many people like me who think that Mr. Bostock's views are insane. And don't think that it was only Republicans who voted down the gay marriage amendment. It is up to us Democrats with common sense to take back the party from extremists like this or this country is doomed to Republican presidents and senators forever.
-- Brian McGee, Atlanta
Belongs to all of us
John Sugg: I not only respect that you openly admit your religious beliefs, but are willing to stand behind the moral guidelines presented to us in the Bible (Fishwrapper, "I am a Christian, too," Nov. 18). When I read your article, I heard myself echoing the same thoughts, and I firmly believe there are others out there in the political landscape thinking the same thing. I also find it appalling that belief in God is being used as a political tool that excludes people in an already divided country instead of including all Americans as a common thread that binds us all.
No one "owns" the belief in God but should use it as a moral compass. Too bad the religious right (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) didn't get the message when they read their Scripture.
-- Tim Peek, Atlanta
The short straw
I found your "I am a Christian, too" column (Fishwrapper, Nov. 18) inspiring and found your public profession of Christianity (Methodist division) a wee bit troubling. I suppose I should say also that I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior many years ago, backslid (Baptist division) for years and questioned my once-professed belief system, not out of tragedy or pain so much as sheer adolescent-into-young-adult contrariness. I wanted to do what I wanted to do and I didn't want to hear a lot of crap about it from my conscience, much less anyone else. But after many years of waving off Scripture, the beliefs I publicly professed so long ago have reclaimed my support and the parts I don't quite get have engaged my imagination.
In print, your testimony and mine now have roughly the same degree of credibility. Not much. But we know that when you drop a profession of Christian faith into a largely secular environment, suddenly you're dropped into the eternal rounds of "gotcha" that is really the only legit claim of moral superiority that the secular culture can make over Christianity. It gets so every time you curse or hold a beer or two in your hand -- caught in the middle of a good time or a bad day -- you'll be called a hypocrite, with the word "sinner" skipped over.
That's a lot to put up with. Who'd relish the thought of living like that? So it's completely understandable to me why your profession reads sort of like you drew the short straw among CL writers to see who'd be a Christian for a column. Then again, mine probably reads the same way.
But since you've made this public profession, Mr. Sugg, don't stop. The real interest is what you'll do in your columns from now on. Our local religious and political discourse would be greatly refreshed by having an alternative-media columnist quote Scripture -- against going to war, in support of gay marriage, stem-cell research, cloning, Palestinian right of return, green causes, whatever -- just because it would focus our discussions on the biblical aspect of these issues. This would be all to the good.
-- John Young, Atlanta
I thoroughly enjoyed John Sugg's article (Fishwrapper, "I am a Christian, too," Nov. 18). Lately, it's been so rare to read Christ's teaching coming from Christians. I hope that Bush's Christ is as kind, loving and forgiving as the one I read about in the Bible.
-- Mark Kelch, San Antonio, Texas
Cliff Bostock: Your Nov. 11 article is definitely one of the best you've written (Headcase, "Back to decency"). You summed up the situation better than Maureen Dowd ever could!
-- Bill Solomon, Roswell
John Sugg: I am not a Reconstructionist. While I agree with them occasionally, only a person who wants to deceive would suggest I come close to their position. They are usually Calvinists, postmillenarian and Presbyterians, and many would impose Old Testament penalties in our constitutional republic.
When I told you that Old Testament penalties were right, I meant they were right for that day. That does not mean what was done in that day, under those circumstances, would be the right thing to do today. If you understood dispensationalism, you would easily understand my position.
Your comparison of the "Christian right" with the Taliban is unconscionable, and to declare that you are "fair" is a comment on your value system. Surely you don't know anything about the Taliban or the "Christian right."
I hope you know that it is outrageous to blame all evangelical Christians if a nutcase says, "God told me to do it," to justify harming innocent people. Most people think they are Christians if they have been baptized or go to church a few times each year, but informed people know that one becomes a Christian when he/she repents of sin and places faith in Jesus Christ.
-- Rev. Don Boys, Ringgold
Editor's note: Boys is referring to John Sugg's March 25 cover story on Christian Reconstructionalism, titled "America the theocracy," and to a column Sugg wrote three years ago.