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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor premiere audio episode!

Voicemails received between March 26 and April 1, 2014. To leave your own voicemail about the Reader, call 619-235-3000, x460.

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Believers and Unbelievers

I am an atheist who supports the right to believe in God, the Devil, or anything else, as long as it does not intrude on me. Having read Siobhan Braun’s story on the goings on in my park (“Atheists, Evangelists, and Prophets take over Balboa Park,” March 27 cover story), I found the usual arguments between atheists and theists that fail to produce the only correct conclusion: No one is actually aware of why they believe as they do.

We are all products of our conditioning; the fruit of our upbringing. Only when one is in doubt is one open to solicitation. In the park, the only people responding to any camp are those already believers, and unbelievers don’t have a choice; they simply cannot accept belief. It’s that simple!

Proselytizing is the practice of acquiring positive re-enforcement of one’s belief. It is an intrusion on people in parks who is are there to escape tension and enjoy the day.

Krishna followers, I believe, are there to raise money on which to live, as well as for their cause.

I want to see the day when religion — pro or con — is kept out of any public park or street.

The battle among believers who can’t reject belief, and those who can’t accept belief is a no-win thing. Atheists are wrong to fight religion; most people need it, and must reject the idea that non-belief is valid.

Let them be.

  • Saul Harmon Gritz
  • Hillcrest

Live and Let Live

Why should anyone visiting one of the world’s most beautiful urban parks be subjected to this traffic of proselytizing (“Atheists, Evangelists, and Prophets take over Balboa Park,” March 27 cover story)? It’s intrusive and offensive.

Yes, I know all about Jesus and the Bible. No, I’m not interested in discussing it, and I find it inhuman that someone would assume that because I’m not an Evangelical Christian, I need to be saved (as my husband would say, we Jews were saved... 5,000 years ago).

I am all for people embracing faith, or embracing rationality, or worshipping Aqua Buddha. I just don’t want to have to deal with it when I visit the park, and I don’t feel that a banner or sign is an enhancement to the park’s beautiful architecture.

It should be pointed out that this same insistence on imposing one’s private beliefs in the park is a paradigm for what is happening to us nationally, and other countries internationally. There’s little difference between someone feeling it’s not just their right, but their obligation to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us, whether this is happening by the Prado or in front of the Supreme Court.

When did the need to testify become more important than live and let live, and when did the notion of religious freedom become defined by denying the freedoms of anyone who disagrees with you?

Balboa Park — like the rest of the world — should be a haven for everyone to privately, freely, and proudly practice their own faith (or not), and to have the basic decency to respect the rights of others.

  • Elizabeth Schwartz
  • Mission Hills

San Diego’s Five Critical Issues

Once again Don Bauder offers an article I believe everyone in San Diego should read (City Lights, “San Diego Water: You Will Pay,” March 27). As someone whose education and career involved studying urban environments, I’ve come up with a list of five critical issues for San Diego’s future.

That list includes: fresh water supply, sewage treatment, solid waste disposal, infrastructure delivery (those aged water and sewer pipes — and possibly gas lines — which continue to fail), and our public education system (California statewide has fallen from the top five in the U.S. to the bottom five in test score measures). Mr. Bauder backs up number one. Admittedly, the sequence within this list can change from time to time but the issues remain the same.

I understand that potential funding resources may have specific strings attached, but how can our city leaders continue to promote and support public funding for sports stadiums and convention facility expansions when we have five such important issues that go without being better addressed year after year?

  • Tim
  • La Jolla

New Appreciation for Opera

This letter is in response to Don Bauder’s articles on the tragic closing of the San Diego Opera.

I have been exposed to the talent and wonder of the opera over the last few years. And, while opera is not normally my cup of tea, the operas put on by San Diego have been amazing. Some of the credit does go to Ian Campbell as artistic director, but it takes a team — and that team of artists, costume designers, set designers, marketing, and orchestra are all incredibly talented. It is a huge loss to San Diego.

That all being said, the nice piece of spin Mr. Bauder has included in each of his articles has an obvious goal: protecting and defending the very people responsible for the Opera closing – Ian and Ann Campbell, along with the Board.

As a person whose life will be impacted by the Campbell/Board decision, I have watched and witnessed the team work tirelessly to try to continually create a successful and enjoyable opera season for all its patrons — nights, weekends, after hours. Staff members were aware of the falling ticket sales, every day, and all tried to come up with new, innovative, and creative ways to touch the larger San Diego audience, not just the wealthy and grey-haired.

I have stayed silent because of fear of retribution from the Campbells. But I have finally reached my limit as these articles do not portray the true culture, atmosphere, and environment in which the staff and artists lived in. Mr. Bauder’s “inside” opera story is not an inside story at all, but an attempt by the Board and the Campbells at damage control and self-preservation.

I have witnessed the talented opera staff make attempts to be innovative, creative, and adventurous in getting a younger, new, and changing demographic to experience the opera and the arts. However, the Campbells have a reputation for demoralizing, overriding, and silencing any staff effort to do so. For the past 3-5 years, the creative staff and artists have been trained to simply do what the Campbells want and stay silent or deal with the consequences.

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David May 10, 2014 @ 11:51 p.m.

I would agree with Saul Harmon Gritz and Elizabeth Schwartz on one point... it is obnoxious to be approached by these christian nut-jobs and their childish delusional lunacy at the Park...or anywhere for that matter. On a campus, at a festival, etc.. I rather enjoy the way Amazon tribes deal with these whacko intruders (they shut them up permanently). How offensive can the self-righteous religious be? And what do they expect when intruding upon another and telling them they are living their lives wrong (according to xtian nonsense) for generations? However, Saul confounds me with his contradictions and unreasonable thinking. Disappearing though it is, we still have a semblance of freedom of speech in our public places. Saul awaits a day when even this will be taken from us all? I don't, though with the Republican hell-bent ruination of all that the U.S. used to stand for; it will be taken from all U.S. citizens soon. There is a religious assault going on in this country Saul. Go outside and see it for yourself. Stand and fight it or move out of the way. I wonder also if Saul (atheist he claims to be) approves the way the Republican foot-soldiers (the born -again, evangelical, protestant christians) are forcing their religion down the throats of our school children, our government, our health-care, indeed our health, and our real science? We are a nation of freedom of religion and freedom from religion, and a nation based upon and governed rationally from the separation of church and state. I wonder if nebulous persons, atheists such as Saul, approve of so many right-wing christians attempting to usurp our constitution and our nation's laws by their unending attempts at forcing their shit upon all of the rest of us, and making this nation a nation of religious fascists, complete with all of that hate and tyranny ruling all of our lives? You can't hide forever Saul; there is an insideous war going on. We atheists didn't start it, but we atheists are going to protect the freedom of our nation and our lives from it.


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