Backtalk

Keeping Up With Jones

Thank you for publishing the fair and impartial article “The Three Conversions of Walter B. Jones” by Robert Dreyfuss. I truly appreciate your diligence in ensuring that the article recounted the evolution of my position on the war in Iraq in a thorough and evenhanded manner.

However, the correct name of the young boy whose portrait I keep in my office is Tyler Jordan, not Tyler Jones. I think it is important to publish his name accurately in appreciation for the great sacrifice of his father, U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Phillip Jordan, who bravely gave his life while serving our country in Iraq.

REP. WALTER B. JONES
Farmville, North Carolina


The article about Walter Jones presents an incomplete picture of the man. I live in his district in North Carolina, and I know firsthand the disdain he has for anyone to the left of his fundamentalist beliefs. Jones is currently attempting to erode the separation between church and state by drafting a law that allows churches to be politically active while retaining their tax-exempt status.

Jones’ war stance may be admirable, but his religiosity is anything but.

PAUL FIELD
New Bern, North Carolina


Ernie, Esquire

As a resident of Nebraska, I wish to express my gratitude to Sara Catania and Mother Jones for the excellent article on state Senator Ernie Chambers.

Not noted by Catania is Chambers’ law degree, earned while serving in the Legislature.

He never took the bar exam but has used his legal expertise effectively in waging his many legislative battles.

Chambers is arrogant, egotistical, often obnoxious, and almost always right on every issue. Although Chambers, as an atheist, might not appreciate my saying it, thank God for Ernie.

REV. JAMES W. MCCHESNEY
Lincoln, Nebraska


Blonde Joke

Thank you for the article “Counter-Coulter” by Brad Friedman, about the growing number of conservatives who object to the elevation of Ann Coulter as their standard-bearer, an elevation all the more repugnant since Coulter denies in practice those few conservative principles she espouses in public. However, I most emphatically do not “loathe” Ann Coulter, as the article states. Rather, as traditional Christianity teaches, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” Although Coulter is certainly a blight on conservatism and should be marginalized (not lionized) by conservatives, I pray for her repentance and redemption, and for the healing of her heart and mind, soul and spirit.

DANIEL BORCHERS
Odenton, Maryland


“Counter-Coulter” was totally on target. Although I’m a political junkie, I no longer have the stomach to watch the blood bath that pundits accept as debate. It is just too tedious to watch grown men and women spitting invective at each other, and annoying to have the word “liberal” used as an attack.

KATHY CHAPMAN
Joshua Tree, California


Animal Rights’ Wrongs

The article “America’s # 1 Threat” was appropriately titled. The subject, Kevin Kjonaas of the animal rights group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, indeed appears to be a terrorist. If you don’t like some organization’s practices, there are many lawful ways to protest. Most of these require that a minority work to sway the majority to its point of view. Product boycotts, picketing, petitions, press coverage, and the like are effective tools. You cannot destroy their property, physically attack them, burn crosses on their lawn, or hold up their children as potential targets. These are terrorist-type activities, and those using them should be dealt with severely. The level of force employed in Kjonaas’ arrest was an appropriate precaution for any suspected terrorist. Unfortunately, zealots do not come with a sign around their neck specifying the level of action they are willing to employ.

The article seemed to paint this guy as a folk hero, and tried to solicit sympathy by detailing his dress and eating habits. I expect to read that sort of logic while standing in line at the grocery store, not in Mother Jones.

KEN JOHNSON
Norfolk, Virginia


The God Squad

Before I pass along the “God and Country” special issue to friends, I want to thank you and congratulate you on an extremely well done project.

As an Episcopalian who has also been active in ecumenical and interfaith affairs over the past 30 years, I opened the issue with some trepidation. To my delighted surprise, I did not find one word to complain about. It was fair and to the point.

ELIZABETH JORDAIN
Teaneck, New Jersey


JoAnn Wypijewski’s insightful article, “The Roman Inquisition,” shows that she loves the Church while being realistic about its sins and limitations. I am a Catholic priest who has been ordained 40 years. When I look back at the seminary, I remember injunctions against “particular friendships” but was so naive I had no idea what that was really about. I could not have named a single gay seminarian, even though time revealed they were a sizable minority in my class. I have no idea what the consequences of this latest fiasco will be, but I can imagine many gay seminarians and some gay priests just giving up. Too bad for me. In the midst of this priesthood shortage, I am already administering three parishes. Sigh. Only three more years to retirement.

FATHER BILL TAYLOR
Moscow, Idaho


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