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8362NEWS -- 2013.11.01.Friday

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  • James Martin
    Nov 1, 2013
      Friday 01 November 2013
      1) Recently I was in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi
      2) Ole Miss Athletes Harass Laramie Project Cast
      3) Freedman: Shame on Ole Miss football players
      4) Ole Miss: Pride Week provides both encouragement and education
      5) Study suggests getting tough on tax-exempt groups may help the budget
      6) Wall Street Journal (Rupert Murdock): Tax Policy Isn't the Purview of Preachers
      7) Vatican polls parishes on birth control, marriage
      8) Tea Party Group Leader: File 'Class Action Lawsuit' Against Homosexuality
      9) Salt Lake Tribune Letter: LDS Church should give up fighting gay marriage
      10) Public speaking tips
      11) Wisdom of Wolves
      Recently I was in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
      Used to be that you could not drive even one mile on a highway in Arkansas without seeing a "get right with Jesus" sign and confederate flags.  A notable change now is the lack of "come to Jesus" signs and confederate flags.  The number of signs was way, way down.  The number of confederate flags was way, way down.  Even the number of American flags was way down.  What's going on?
      There were NO Jesus signs or confederate flags in Oxford. But something else had just occurred, detailed at #2.
      Stopped by the Ole Miss bookstore in the student union building and bought myself a new hoodie and a nice 12 oz
      alumni mug in harvard crimson and yale blue -- school colors -- red and blue.
      Smithville got hit by a huge tornado two and a half years ago.  Some churches were re-build -- some nice; some tacky.
      Went to Hopewell Cemetery where my great grandparents on my mother's side are buried. 
      The country church across the gravel road was blown off its foundation.  It will fall in another year or two -- no need to repair or rebuild it.  The view from the top of that hill was nice -- all the trees were leveled, so the view was long.
      Had lunch in Amory at Miller's on Main.  Sort of a down home country french bistro wantabe.  Open for lunch only 11-2.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Millers-On-Main/130134313733544
      In Tupelo there's a new place -- Steele's Dive.  Not expensive, and jeans are OK. 
      Fried catfish and tater tots, et cetera. Good eatin.

      Ole Miss Athletes Harass Laramie Project Cast

      Football players at the University of Mississippi heckled cast members during a production of The Laramie Project, prompting university officials to apologize on Thursday.

      BY Nicholas Cimarusti

      October 04 2013 1:40 PM ET

      Officials at the University of Mississippi issued an apology Thursday regarding the behavior of student-athletes during a university theater production of The Laramie Project. Audience members' verbal harassment was described as "borderline hate speech," reports USA Today Sports. Hecklers hurled inappropriate comments at female cast members' body shapes, and used the words "fag" and "faggot."

      "We don't always have the best audiences, but this was taking it to a new level to be sure," said Michael Barnett, assistant chair of the theater department at Ole Miss. Football players and athletes from other sports were among those who initiated the verbal harassment. According to an undisclosed source who spoke with USA Today Sports, the audience primarily consisted of first-semester freshman, athletes included.

      In the statement, released Thursday by Chancellor Dan Jones and Athletics Director Ross Bjork, the university promised to investigate and take action: "We will be engaging our student-athletes with leaders on the subject of individuality and tolerance, so we can further enforce life lessons and develop them to their fullest potential."

      The Laramie Project is a play based on the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student killed because he was gay. After the play, the student-athletes were made to apologize for their behavior, but Garrison Gibbons and other cast members felt the apology was insincere.

      Gibbons, a junior and the only gay cast member according to an NFL article, does not, however, want to see the student-athletes suspended from games. He believes they should instead be taught why their behavior is not acceptable. "Even though it was a negative event, it made us positive this is why we need to do this show because we need to open the minds of people on this campus — not just athletes," said Gibbons.

      "For the department of theater arts, what we want ultimately is for this to open up a dialogue on campus about the problems we have," said Barnett. The athletic department and university officials are conducting an investigation to decide what further action should be taken. 

      Wyoming Star Tribune
      October 29, 2013 7:30 pm  •  By LEW FREEDMAN Star-Tribune staff writer   

      Freedman: Shame on Ole Miss football players

      If you didn't squirm and cringe when you heard about the University of Mississippi football players haranguing actors during a theatrical performance of "The Laramie Project" this month you should look into your heart to determine just what type of person you are.

      No place is more sensitive to the issues discussed in "The Laramie Project" than Wyoming because this is where the Matthew Shepard killing took place.

      The victim of the most vicious hate crime imaginable simply because he was gay, Shepard, 21, was a University of Wyoming student seeking a ride home from a bar on the grim night in October of 1998 when assailants tied him to a fence, clubbed him into unconsciousness with a gun, and abandoned him.

      The beastly conduct murdered Shepard, but also turned him into a martyr for gay rights. His ghastly death -- imagine the victim as your son or brother -- enraged multitudes, but also inspired some.

      Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project of New York wrote a play about the Shepard case to educate the ignorant about tolerance and prejudice.

      On Oct. 1 "The Laramie Project" play in three acts was performed at Meek Auditorium on the campus of the University of Mississippi. The play employed eight actors performing 60 character roles. Raw language that stings even when pouring forth from a script was part of the dialogue. Such offensive words as "fag" and "queer" are uttered in the show.

      Actors were startled by the audience response. Crowd members heckled them, laughed loudly at inappropriate times, and in a setting normally comparable to library silence, the noise level interrupted the actors' lines.

      What carries this deplorable incident into the realm of sport is that an estimated 20 Ole Miss Rebel football players were present, fulfilling a course requirement.

      Doings inside the auditorium became a national story because they were appalling. Not all members of the audience were football players, and apparently not all guilty parties were football players.

      Yet football players represent the school publicly. Mississippi authorities said it has been difficult to identify obnoxious viewers. No one stood up and tried to halt the debacle, either. In NCAA Division I sports coaches monitor players' class schedules closely, so football coach Hugh Freeze had to know who was there.

      The appropriate response would have been for Freeze to immediately suspend the players for the next game against Auburn for their actions or inaction. No such punishments were meted out. Instead, the athletic department required football players to apologize to the actors. Reports following the incident suggest that the apology did not seem sincere and the athletes didn't seem to know why they were apologizing.

      The university estimated 100-200 people were present, and the students were ordered to attend an "educational dialogue session" where the group, university spokesman Danny Blanton told the Star-Tribune on Tuesday, was divided into sub-groups of 10-12 people to discuss "why [it] was disrespectful."

      It is pretty amazing that a special course is needed to comprehend a dignified way to treat other human beings. For those of a certain age, especially African-Americans, this type of hate speech in Mississippi harkens back to the 1960s. Substitute "n-----" for "fag."

      Ole Miss has a standing Bias Incident Response Team which has been investigating what Blanton on Tuesday termed the "destructive" behavior all month. No individual blame has been assigned, though the group -- still meeting -- issued recommendations urging curriculum and policy changes.

      "We're not done," Blanton said.

      For some elsewhere "The Laramie Project" episode will fuel the notion that Mississippi has never changed.

      Pre-Civil Rights Movement days in Mississippi African-Americans were lynched, sometimes by the Klu Klux Klan. The murder of Matthew Shepard was the equivalent of a lynching. The mob behavior of those attending the play, football players and others, indicates they are of the same ilk as those who egged on the wearers of the white hoods.

      American society has come far over the last 50 years in respecting equal rights. Overdue debate granting permission is bringing gay rights issues to the forefront in national politics.

      The nation seems to be getting the message that irrespective of age, sex, color or faith, and yes, sexual orientation, we all count the same. Mississippi is burdened with a reputation hangover from the '60s. There is definitely a generational grudge amongst older African-Americans.

      This occurrence besmirches Ole Miss anew. There is no room for hate speech in our daily lives. At a minimum, the offenders, Mississippi football players included, should have shut up.

      That they didn't, and that the university did not penalize them by benching them for even one football game is shameful. The best payback would be for Ole Miss' football team to lose the rest of its games.

      Reach sports editor Lew Freedman at 307-266-0573 or lew.freedman@...

      My comment -- The majority of hecklers were Black football players.  Wonder what would have happened if I had been there and stood up and shouted at them "fag is the same word as nigger".
      see also
      Looking at Wyoming 15 years after Matthew Shepard's murder
      October 15, 2013 5:00 am  •  STAR-TRIBUNE EDITORIAL BOARD
      The Daily Mississippian (Ole Miss student newspaper -- serving Ole Miss and Oxford since 1911)

      Pride Week provides both encouragement and education

      Posted on Oct 22 2013 - 8:02am by Katelyn Miller  kamille3@...

      The week of Oct. 5, The University of Mississippi celebrated its second annual ALLIES Pride Week. Established in 2012 by former Associated Student Body President Kimbrely Dandridge, the primary goal of Pride Week is to recognize the contributions of the LGBTQ community for what they bring to the university in terms of diversity and individual leadership.

      The acronym LGBTQ stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer.” Pride Week events included distribution of purple ribbons for students to wear in support of the LGBTQ community, as well as the opportunity to talk to members of The Pride Network, an organization that advocates education and understanding for people of all sexual orientations.

      This year’s Pride Week was considered especially significant in light of the events surrounding the performance of “The Laramie Project” earlier this month at which several students heckled performers with homophobic slurs.

      “The Laramie Project” tells the story of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, who was tortured and beaten to death by homophobic classmates in 1998.

      In response to calls for punishment, both university officials and students said education of the uninformed was of paramount importance to prevent anything of this nature from happening again.

      An important part of Pride Week and the response to “The Laramie Project” is Ally training. ALLIES is a program coordinated by the University Counseling Center and Outreach Programming in conjunction with the Pride Network. Those who wish to be considered part of the Ally network are asked to attend a training session during which they are educated on the challenges faced by sexually diverse students, including the ordeal of “coming out” to their parents. Olivia Cooper, sophomore chemical engineering major and community assistant, is one such Ally, and she also attended the Oct. 1 performance of “The Laramie Project.”

      “A big part of training are exercises that really show the difficulty in coming out and life after that,” Cooper said. “I feel like if those in attendance during that performance had been through Ally training, they never would have made those remarks, or certainly would have thought twice about it.”

      Many residence halls are encouraging their community assistants to undergo Ally training to encourage increased sensitivity to the varied needs of their residents. At present, all but two CAs at the Residential College are certified Allies. Nicholas Boullard, community assistant and senior biochemistry major, expressed his desire for all of the CAs in the Residential College to complete Ally training.

      “It’s about making the university’s climate safer for all students, regardless of sexual orientation,” Boullard said. “It’s my belief that education is the only way to decrease the chance of what happened at ‘The Laramie Project’ from happening again.”

      In addition to Pride Week, the Pride Network will be hosting the Breaking Silence Symposium April 19 and 20 next semester. April 19 will also mark the 17th annual Day of Silence to call for an end to harassment and bullying of LGBTQ students. Pride Network meetings are held on the first and third Fridays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in Barnard Hall.


      Study suggests getting tough on tax-exempt groups may help the budget

      By Mike Krumboltz, Yahoo News | Yahoo News – Friday 25 October 2013

      Ever-increasing pressure on the U.S. budget has inspired some unconventional thinking on how to balance it, or at least make a dent.

      One idea gaining traction: Get stricter with tax-exempt groups.

      Newsweek, citing a study from the Secular Coalition of America, reports that if the IRS were to stringently enforce section 501(c)(3) by getting tougher on religious groups that promote political candidates or use funds for noncharitable purposes, it could lead to an additional $16.75 billion in revenue.

      Via Newsweek:

      "We're trying to use the current budget crisis as an example, as a way to show lawmakers what can be done," says Lauren Anderson Youngblood, Secular Coalition for America spokeswoman. "We're not doing this to hurt anyone. We're not doing this to attack churches or attack religion. We simply want things to be fair."

      All told, in 2012, there were 1,616,053 tax-exempt organizations in the U.S., according to Time magazine. That list includes educational institutions, sports leagues, and potentially polarizing groups like the Heritage Foundation and Planned Parenthood.

      The National Football League, for example, enjoys tax-exempt status, albeit a different type — section 501(c)(6) — than religious organizations. Recently, that status has been called into question.

      Earlier this year, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) proposed an amendment to the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would end the NFL's tax-exempt status. The wildly popular NFL is a $9 to $10 billion-per-year organization, but does not pay federal taxes. A Change.org petition asking that Congress revoke the NFL's tax-exempt status has over 282,000 signatures.

      --- click on URL to continue ---
      The Wall Street Journal, October 25th


      Tax Policy Isn't the Purview of Preachers

      Calling for Pentagon cuts or for ending the budget sequester is beyond pastoral competencies.

      --- available online for a fee ---
      response ---
      Letters to the Editor, Wall Street Journal, October 31st
      Oct. 31, 2013 3:12 p.m. ET

      Pope Francis has spent the first months of his papacy calling for a "church that is poor and for the poor." He has been a constant and forceful advocate for those left behind by a "culture of indifference."

      But Nicholas G. Hahn argues that the U.S. Catholic bishops should not try to apply this central Christian insight to American political questions ("Tax Policy Isn't the Purview of Preachers," Houses of Worship, Oct. 25). In fact, they have a responsibility to do so. While Catholics can legitimately disagree over particular policies, we're called to root those policy judgments in Catholic teachings, among them our shared obligation to protect the most vulnerable among us and see that their basic needs are met. Church teaching explicitly recognizes that the government has an essential role to play in promoting this aspect of the common good.

      Along with our rich body of teachings on such questions, Catholics have extensive on-the-ground experience helping the poor. At a time of growing inequality, with some 46 million Americans living in poverty, a robust Catholic voice is essential to the American political conversation.

      Kathy Saile

      U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops


      Mr. Hahn believes that pastors are on firm biblical ground when speaking about moral issues, but that their veering into political matters such as tax revenues or military spending isn't consistent with biblical teaching.

      Evangelical pastors who stick primarily to moral issues are the ones most likely to attract attention from IRS enforcers of U.S. tax policy. In order to maintain their tax-exempt status, churches aren't allowed to participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of candidates for public office. Traditionalist preachers strongly opposed to abortion or gay marriage must carefully frame their message in the pulpit so as not to favor a candidate or political party. Meanwhile, social-justice-driven pastors actually receive advice from the IRS and Justice Department as to what they can and cannot say to help social-justice-driven politicians (i.e., Democrats). Last year Attorney General Eric Holder and IRS officials briefed several hundred pastors in the African-American community on how to motivate and steer parishioners, citing voter-ID laws allegedly designed to "disenfranchise" black voters.

      Mr. Hahn's distinction between moral and political issues may be biblically based, but it doesn't reflect current practice. Churches and other nonprofits concerned about moral issues are more likely to be intimidated by the government than are those who favor more government spending and higher taxes. Those who give guidance contrary to biblical teaching and outside their purview eventually will be answering to someone who has a pay grade well above the president's.

      Alan Rose

      Naples, Fla.

      Perhaps we can better understand our religious leaders sounding more like politicians than pastors if we realize how deeply they are already beholden to government. As prominent examples, Catholic hospitals receive government funds without which they fear not surviving. This is presumably why the government can tell them to ignore Catholic theology and supply free condoms and abortion drugs. Remember, Catholic Charities receives most of its funds from government.

      Like the Pied Piper, the pastors are leading their flocks to an inevitable apotheosis: government as the holy mother, brooking no interference by any other god or authority, imposing its own secular humanitarianism and finally outlawing and persecuting religious belief.

      John J. Greczek

      River Forest, Ill.

      Did Jesus go beyond his competence when he said to those who don't reach out to the least of the brethren: "Depart from me you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41)?

      Deacon Don Zirkel

      Circleville, N.Y.

      My comment ---
      Nobody knows how to lie and bear false witness like dripping with disdain religionist.
      Maybe it's satire.
      Americans Against the Tea Party
      October 16, 2013

      Boys Suspended From School For Wearing The Confederate Flag — And Why That’s OK!

      Posted by: Richard Rowe in Op-Ed, Racism in America, TEApublican Smack Downs, Videos October 16, 2013

      - See more at: http://aattp.org/boys-suspended-school-wearing-confederate-flag-thats-ok/#sthash.4zYjvsuc.dpuf

      Boys Suspended From School For Wearing The Confederate Flag — And Why That’s OK!

      Posted by: Richard Rowe in Op-Ed, Racism in America, TEApublican Smack Downs, Videos October 16, 2013

      - See more at: http://aattp.org/boys-suspended-school-wearing-confederate-flag-thats-ok/#sthash.4zYjvsuc.dpuf

      Boys Suspended From School For Wearing The Confederate Flag — And Why That’s OK!

      Posted by: Richard Rowe in Op-Ed, Racism in America, TEApublican Smack Downs, Videos October 16, 2013

      - See more at: http://aattp.org/boys-suspended-school-wearing-confederate-flag-thats-ok/#sthash.4zYjvsuc.dpuf

      Boys Suspended From School For Wearing The Confederate Flag — And Why That’s OK!

      Posted by: Richard Rowe in Op-Ed, Racism in America, TEApublican Smack Downs, Videos October 16, 2013

      - See more at: http://aattp.org/boys-suspended-school-wearing-confederate-flag-thats-ok/#sthash.4zYjvsuc.dpuf
      Boys Suspended From School For Wearing The Confederate Flag — And Why That’s OK! - See more at: http://aattp.org/boys-suspended-school-wearing-confederate-flag-thats-ok/#sthash.4zYjvsuc.dpuf
      Boys Suspended From School For Wearing The Confederate Flag — And Why That’s OK! - See more at: http://aattp.org/boys-suspended-school-wearing-confederate-flag-thats-ok/#sthash.4zYjvsuc.dpuf
      Boys Suspended From School For Wearing The Confederate Flag — And Why That’s OK! - See more at: http://aattp.org/boys-suspended-school-wearing-confederate-flag-thats-ok/#sthash.4zYjvsuc.dpuf
      Boys Suspended From School For Wearing The Confederate Flag - And Why That's OK
      Boys Suspended From School For Wearing The Confederate Flag — And Why That’s OK! - See more at: http://aattp.org/boys-suspended-school-wearing-confederate-flag-thats-ok/#sthash.4zYjvsuc.dpuf

      Before we get into the story of these two students and their chosen vector of hate speech, it might be a good time for all of us to go back to the 11th grade. Back when I was in high school, I had an English teacher who started every class with a little mental warmup called the “Flag Game.” To understand what’s wrong here, we’re going to play a simplified version of the Flag Game.

      A symbol is just like any other scribble on paper — it doesn’t mean anything unless we assign a value and a meaning to it. Different people assign different values and meanings to different things. But once you have assigned that value, the thing will always become interchangeable with the value assigned to it. In short, a symbol means whatever we think it means. Or, more relevantly, it means whatever it means according to its agreed upon value. That’s how symbols like the words you’re reading communicate thoughts — agreed value.

      - See more at: http://aattp.org/boys-suspended-school-wearing-confederate-flag-thats-ok/#sthash.4zYjvsuc.dpuf
      --- click on URL for picture, videos, and story ---
      My comment ---
      There are a few who haven't gotten the message, and don't want to hear the message.  There are lots of them in ________ and ________.  Other places too.

      Vatican polls parishes on birth control, marriage

      By RACHEL ZOLL | Associated Press – Thursday 31 October 2013

      NEW YORK (AP) — The Vatican is taking the unusual step of conducting a worldwide survey on how parishes deal with sensitive issues such as birth control, divorce and gay marriage, seeking input ahead of a major meeting on the family that Pope Francis plans next year.

      The poll was sent in mid-October to every national conference of bishops with a request from the Vatican coordinator, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, to "share it immediately as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes so that input from local sources can be received."

      The survey reflects the pope's pledges to move away from what he called a "Vatican-centric" approach toward one where local church leaders are more involved in decision-making.

      Among the questions are whether gay marriage is recognized in their country and how priests minister to same-sex couples, including how churches can respond when gays seek a religious education or Holy Communion for their children. The poll also asks "how is God's mercy proclaimed" to separated, divorced and remarried couples. Additional information is sought on the pastoral care of men and women who live together outside of marriage. The survey also asks parishes whether they believe married men and women tend to follow church teaching barring the use of artificial contraception.

      The National Catholic Reporter, an independent news organization, was first to report Thursday that the survey will be conducted, and it posted a copy online.

      Helen Osman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, confirmed plans for the poll to The Associated Press.

      "It will be up to each bishop to determine what would be the most useful way of gathering information to provide to Rome," Osman wrote in an email. In England, bishops have posted the survey online to be filled out by a wide range of Catholics, including priests, lay people, parents and nuns.

      The poll findings will help set the agenda for an extraordinary synod, or meeting, of the presidents of national bishops conferences in October 2014.

      The introduction to the survey lays out a broad list of concerns which the document says "were unheard of until a few years ago," including single-parent families, polygamy, interfaith marriages and "forms of feminism hostile to the church." Surrogate motherhood is lamented in the document as "wombs for hire," and the survey cites as a new challenge "same-sex unions between persons who are, not infrequently, permitted to adopt children."

      Francis has said the church needs to do a better job preparing young people for marriage, lamenting that newlyweds seem to think marriage isn't a lifelong commitment but just a "provisional" one. At the same time, he has said the church process for annulling marriages isn't working and must be reviewed.

      Francis' emphasis on reforming the Vatican bureaucracy and boosting the participation of local church leaders and lay people has prompted speculation about how far-reaching his changes could be.

      The pope has urged pastors to focus on being merciful and welcoming rather than emphasizing only such divisive issues as abortion, gay marriage and contraception. At the same time, he has made clear his support for traditional marriage and opposition to abortion.

      The introduction to the new survey extensively quotes former popes and the Catholic catechism on marriage being the union of a man and a woman for the purposes of having children.

      Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, wrote in his letter that the meeting next year would be followed by another on the topic in 2015.


      Documents posted by The National Catholic Reporter: http://www.scribd.com/doc/180575701/Letter-from-Msgr-Ronny-Jenkins-to-the-USCCB

      see also ---
      --- click on URL ---
      Nobody knows how to lie and bear false witness like a ...

      Tea Party Group Leader: File 'Class Action Lawsuit' Against Homosexuality

      Igor Bobic - October 18, 2013, 3:59 PM EDT
      If you can't beat them, sue them.

      At least that's Tea Party Unity leader Rick Scarborough's thinking, who suggested Friday that conservative activists should take a page from campaigns against Big Tobacco and file a “class action lawsuit” against homosexuality.

      The far-right pastor was responding to fellow tea partier and president of Americans for Truth Peter LaBarbera, who was arguing that Fox News should tell more "stories of happy men and women who have left the homosexual lifestyle" in the same way they highlight black conservatives.

      "Peter, the whole issue of a class action lawsuit, you and I have talked about this a little bit," Scarborough said. "I just wonder if you’ve explored that, talked to anyone about it. Obviously, statistically now even the Centers for Disease Control verifies that homosexuality much more likely leads to AIDS than smoking leads to cancer.

      "And yet the entire nation has rejected smoking, billions of dollars are put into a trust fund to help cancer victims and the tobacco industry was held accountable for that," he added. "Any thoughts on that kind of an approach?" 

      "Yeah I think that’s great," LaBarbera responded. "I would love to see it. We always wanted to see one of the kid in high school who was counseled by the official school counselor to just be gay, then he comes down with HIV. But we never really got the client for that."

      h/t Right Wing Watch

      Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site's coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at igor@....
      Salt Lake Tribune
      Letter: LDS Church should give up fighting gay marriage
      Oct 20 2013

      Thanks to The Tribune for recent articles on gay rights, including the excellent op-ed of Oct. 13 by attorneys Paul Burke, Brett Tolman and John MacKay ("Marriage equality will arrive in Utah soon"), and the Sept. 14 piece about Steve Young and his wife, Barb, an outspoken opponent of Proposition 8 in California ("Former NFL star Steve Young to keynote conference for LGBT Mormons").

      Faithful Latter-day Saints who support the legalization of same-sex marriage should not hesitate to respectfully but vigorously express their views. Sustaining church leaders does not mean always agreeing with them, especially when we are confident they are wrong. I appreciate President Uchtdorf’s reminder in the recent general conference that top LDS authorities make mistakes, even in doctrinal matters.

      The church may regret that in 2006 it urged members to voice support for a federal amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. That effort fell flat. Similarly, Prop. 8, backed by the church, appears dead in the water.

      Rather than continuing to fight against something that will soon be legal throughout the land, opponents of gay marriage would be better advised to focus on making traditional marriage work. It needs the help.

      Steve Warren

      West Valley City

      There are some gay rights spokespersons who could use some lessons in public speaking --->
      Here are this week's media and presentation training how-to videos.

      Obama Official Fired for Secret Twitter Account


      And to see all new videos of the last week, go to http://www.youtube.com/tjwalker
      TJ Walker
      Excerpt from Wisdom of Wolves ---
      “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”  ~Rudyard Kipling
      No other mammal shows more spirited devotion to its family, organization or social group than the wolf. The members of the wolf pack hunt together to insure survival of the group, but they also play, sing, sleep, scuffle and protect each other.

      A wolf’s purpose for existing is to insure the survival of the pack.
      A wolf pack is made up of parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, half brothers and half sisters – it is truly an extended family organization. And though generally only the Alpha male and Alpha female produce pups, every member of the pack participates in the nurturing and education of the young. Each pack member assumes responsibility for the food, shelter, training, protection and play where the pups are concerned, for the pack realizes that the young are their future.

      The loyalty exhibited between wolves is well known and documented. But a Montana man who has used his summers for years to study wolves in Alaska gave me a different view of wolf loyalty. He told about a couple he knew who lived in an extremely remote area with their two sons in a log cabin they had made by hand. This family also included two wolves they had raised from earliest puppyhood, rescuing them from their den after their mother had been indiscriminately shot and the pups left to die. This was the only family the wolves had ever known, having only lived with humans as their pack mates.

      One day the parents were cutting wood about a mile from home when one of the boys accidentally turned over a kerosene lamp (there was no electricity), and a raging fire began to consume the wooden structure. The two wolves immediately dashed toward the flaming cabin where the two boys were trapped inside, immobilized by smoke and fear. The parents were far behind, so the wolves gnawed and fought their way into the cabin and pulled the boys outside to safety. Though both wolves were badly burned, their loyalty to their “pack” meant the difference between life and death for these two members of their “pack.”
      The Wolf Credo written by Del Goetz truly captures what the wolf is all about:
      Respect the elders  
      Teach the young  
      Cooperate with the pack.
      Play when you can  
      Hunt when you must  
      Rest in between.
      Share your affections  
      Voice your feelings  
      Leave your mark.
      Advertisement ---
      It's a society where teamwork, loyalty and communication are the norm rather than the exception. Sound like utopia? Actually, it's already present in nature – in a wolf pack. The wolf pack knows who it is. Those in the pack exist for one another. Imagine what human organizations (families, co-workers, communities) could accomplish if they lived by "pack" principles?

      Twyman Towery, Ph.D., a professional speaker and consultant who studied the lessons of leadership in nature, has captured them in Wisdom of Wolves. Twyman shares the parallels between the wolf pack and human behavior: in business life, family life, and personal life. Twyman became interested in wolf packs after a grueling consulting project where the corporation he was working with had a group of executives trying to one-up one another and were generally stabbing each other in the back to get ahead. When he turned on public television that night he was transported to a different world, the milieu of the wolf pack, where teamwork, loyalty and communication were the norm rather than the exception.

      Reading Wisdom of Wolves has changed the way I function in my community and workplace in a very positive manner. Today, I'd like to share an powerful excerpt from Wisdom of Wolves. Please share it with anyone else you think would enjoy it. 
      honest direct unfiltered news ---> http://www.democracynow.org/ <--- Watch live at 8am Eastern; 5am Pacific Mon-Fri