Re: Pinellas schools reject grant for Scout program, story, Oct. 12
Decision was vote against prejudice
Congratulations to those members of the Pinellas County School Board who had the backbone to look beyond the dollar signs and reject the Boy Scout offer of funds for the Learning for Life program. As we know, the Boy Scout organization is antigay.
I think by rejecting this funding, a greater lesson in life was taught to the students: that we live in a world full of different people, people who look different, sound different and act different, but that is no reason to reject them, or to be prejudiced against them, or decide that they are not "good" enough to associate with. And more importantly, we do not take money from organizations that are prejudiced against certain groups, because to do so would be saying that we agree with that prejudice.
Some people are criticizing board member Linda Lerner for enforcing her "private agenda" in a public institution. Others are saying that if we need money, we should ignore the gay ban and take the money.
To these people I would ask, if the money were coming from the Nazi party, would you take it? If it came from the KKK, would you take it? Prejudice is prejudice, whether it comes from Nazis, the KKK or the Boy Scouts of America. If this organization were prejudiced against a group you or one of your children belonged to, would you still be in favor of taking the money?
Thank you, Linda Lerner, for being the voice of reason and decency and showing the Boy Scouts that integrity cannot be bought, at least not while you are on the board.
Frances Hill, Safety Harbor
Biased values similar to religion
Imagine an elected official with the character to stand up to bigotry and intolerance! School Board member Linda Lerner should be commended for her unwavering stand on opposing the Boy Scouts of America's intolerance of gay people. The Boy Scouts also exclude atheists.
But wait, isn't the gay intolerance also a religious issue? It is the religious fundamentalist's dogma that also fuels the antigay attitude. Perhaps the BSA should change its name to the Christian Scouts of America.
Francis Prahl, St. Petersburg
Liberal leanings drove decision
Did it ever occur to the Pinellas County School Board and your newspaper that you are discriminating against the Boy Scouts of America? Hillsborough County does not see a problem.
This is typical of the liberal left. It is never politically correct to discriminate against or oppose the liberal agenda. Discrimination is only okay if it relates to conservative causes.
William C. Bolin Sr., Largo
Schools deserve that $55,000
So Linda Lerner and the majority of the School Board decided to turn down $55,000 from the Boy Scouts because of their policy on gays.
Linda and her cronies are entitled to their opinion, of course, but they should not be making political statements with my money. I do not believe they have the right. If there are ways to make it up, they should have already utilized them. They should put $55,000 of their personal money in the kitty or reverse this decision.
They are taking liberties they do not possess.
Gerald Doty, St. Petersburg
Re: A hint and a retort: 'I happen to be gay,' story, Oct. 12.
Being different won't be tolerated
Talk about a town without pity. The city of Largo could easily have been the town Gene Pitney once sang about.
Perhaps Largo Commission candidate Michael Smith would have been a little more forthcoming about his sexual orientation, but he knows how the folks of Largo react if you don't dance to the tune of the same drummer. Remember what the townspeople did to former Largo City Manager Steve (now Susan) Stanton?
Apparently, Commissioner Mary Gray Black couldn't resist the temptation to verbally beat her opponent, Smith, over the head because he is gay.
And wouldn't you know it? Black's mailer identifies her as a Christian. At times, these so-called "good Christians" really make me laugh, because if they were really good Christians, I would think they'd be more tolerant of others.
In any case, there is no doubt that Smith will have an uphill battle in this small-minded, homophobic town.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater
Re: A hint and a retort: 'I happen to be gay,' story, Oct. 12
Resorting to hate speech is low
Gay bashing is just so politically incorrect these days. And it's especially unbecoming when it falls from the lips of a 72-year-old woman who advertises herself as a Christian.
It seems like in her long career in local politics, Mary Black would have learned to resist the temptation to fan the flames of prejudice to make points with her ultraconservative supporters.
Her Largo City Commission opponent, Michael Smith, handled her hateful comments well at the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce luncheon candidate forum.
Kathleen Jamison, Largo
Re: The sloth's a star, story, Oct. 12
Creature feature stoked memories
Loved the article on sloths, which brought back many memories.
I saw my first three-toed sloth up close and personal when we were stationed in the Panama Canal Zone in the 1960s. During the rainy season, sloths would climb out of the deep jungle ravine behind our quarters and would be found suspended from the crossbar of the clothesline pole in the morning. The MPs would be called to remove them and put them back in the ravine.
As long as you approached it quietly, a sloth would just hang there upside down and look at you with what I would describe as a silly, drunken smile on its face.
Years later, a friend sent me an article that stated sloths were indeed drunk. Their digestion of certain berries was so slow the berries fermented in their bodies. The original party animals?
Patricia Bates Smith, Clearwater