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No need to fear Gibson's 'Passion'


Published February 15, 2004

Re: Passion plays are not gospel truth, by James Shapiro, Jan. 31.

I cannot understand all the fear of increased anti-Semitism that some say will come from Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of the Christ. As the writer states, passion plays have been around since the 12th century. Mel Gibson tells the same story that has always been told, which is one of the mainstays of Christianity.

I do agree with the writer that the story of the passion of Jesus Christ is taken from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which were written a generation after the death of Christ and are therefore not firsthand accounts of the event. But I must remind him that this is also true of almost every historical account of a happening. They are written accounts made by historians who have researched the facts. For example, most accounts now written about the Holocaust are being made a generation after the actual horror.

The writer also refers to Vatican II, which I believe he somewhat misinterprets. The pope's message was that Jews of today must not be held accountable for what was done 2,000 years ago.

As for the fear of Christians hating Jews because of the crucifixion, the writer, who appears to have researched to some extent, ignores the teachings of Christ and one of the basic fundamentals of Christianity. True Christians practice forgiveness, not hate and revenge as is being feared.

Giant steps have been taken in the fight against intolerance and prejudice. I think the protesting of this film strongly displays anti-Christianity and may itself cause a setback in the progress thus shown.

I in no way try to say there is no anti-Semitism in the world today. There is, just as there is anti almost anything. But I have too much faith in Christians to believe Mel Gibson's Passion will destroy what has been accomplished in the past 50 years with regard to respecting and understanding people of different beliefs.


-- Donald Murphy, Clearwater

Cigarettes are not biodegradable

I am writing this letter to inform smokers that smoking is bad enough and there is no reason to litter with your cigarette butts. Cigarettes are not biodegradable. They can take up to 10 years to decompose, because the filters are made with acetate, a plastic. Not only are they bad for the environment, but they can kill humans and animals who mistake them for food. Just two or three ingested cigarette butts can kill a toddler.

Some smokers think it is okay to just throw a cigarette butt out the window when they are driving. If you want to harm yourself by smoking, please do not harm those who do not choose to harm themselves from smoking. Think about your actions and please do not litter.


-- Caryn O'Steen, Seminole

Pure greed motivates this decision

Re: County may end deal with blind vendor, Feb. 3.

I was born and raised in Washington, D.C., during the '40s and '50s. I had unfettered access to all federal buildings, most notably the Library of Congress. In those days all, repeat all, services were provided by disabled veterans. It was always a treat to talk to the blind vet who ran the newsstand or coffee stand. Alas, those services went the way the Pinellas County Commission intends for Kricket's Kafe.

Commissioner Steve Spratt states he wants to "evaluate the market response to that space." Well, did he think McDonald's or some other fast-food chain wouldn't be interested? They could make a killing, and the last time I looked, Mickey D's sure needed the money. Just look at the cafeteria at the VA Medical Center at Bay Pines for a shining example. Just how much money could the county make by putting a blind man out of business? Exactly what services to the people of Pinellas County will be enhanced by such a move?

What is it with all these sorry politicians who think the acquisition of wealth is the only honorable goal in life? If there was a "market response" for mothers, Pinellas County commissioners would sell theirs. Then ours.

This is an outrageous idea, driven by greed. Pure and simple.


-- Richard De Berry, Gulfport

A head for business, but no heart

Re: Plans for Parsley's ratchet into place, Jan. 14.

We residents of Parsley's by the Gulf mobile home park know that it was a very clever business deal that John Loder put together, and we are sure he made or will make a lot of money by doing so. He may have earned his bragging rights, but for a businessman he sure used poor judgment when he had you print in the paper the fact that he was "grinning from ear to ear."

He should visit our park and talk to some of the people who have lost their homes and money and see all the sad faces. If he has a heart to go along with his business head, it may take some of the smile off his face.


-- Roy Wager, Redington Shores

Music festival was delightful

As January weather reports from the Northeast have shown, I was so fortunate recently to arrive in sunny Florida for a week's vacation in Clearwater.

My friends, with whom I was staying, told me we had tickets that evening to the All County Music Fest at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. Their granddaughter was performing in the event. Being a former educator and school administrator, I knew these gatherings can often be very boring. Much to my surprise and delight the experience that evening was an eye opener. The quality of music performed was excellent to outstanding! The students, teachers, band directors and all who were responsible for the event received a standing ovation and many "bravos." I was so grateful to be there.

May the Pinellas County school district continue to budget for music in the curriculum as the students learn more than music while being involved in a music festival. Discipline, cooperation, self-esteem and many other worthwhile values will become a part of their growth and development.


-- Sister Jane Doherty, OP, Hicksville, N.Y.

Money didn't spur this lawsuit

Re: Lawsuits siphon school dollars away from classrooms, Feb. 2.

Special note to Pinellas County School Board attorney John Bowen: Not every litigant against the Pinellas County School Board sues to receive monetary gain. Some do not want money, and money cannot replace what some have lost thanks to unscrupulous and arbitrary disciplinary actions taken. The victims I speak of sued because their basic constitutional right to due process was violated.

Please remember that it costs a large amount of money to sue the School Board, and that it is heart-wrenching and emotionally difficult to do this, but that, sometimes, to fight for what is right and against unfairness is the only choice.


-- Barbara A. Pafundi, Palm Harbor [Last modified February 15, 2004, 01:15:45]


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