Daily opinion unfairly criticizes Church’s intolerance

To the Daily:
I found two different pieces printed in the Daily’s opinion section last week a little misleading. In response to Emmarie Huetteman’s viewpoint (The Church’s silenced peacemaker, 02/15/2007), I would like to note that the Catholic League is not an official arm of the Catholic Church, but rather simply a lay organization. Also, the retirement age of bishops is set for a reason, and despite Bishop Thomas Gumbleton’s claims of being forced out because of his social views, many bishops retire at that age to allow new shepherds to lord over the flock. We have all heard Thomas Gumbleton’s message, and we will not forget it. Nothing is stopping him from continuing his campaign. A new bishop will only add to the dialogue, not take away from it.

Another piece I found even more disturbing was Thursday’s editorial about adoption (Adopting equality, 02/15/2007). Of particular interest is the following passage: “Not surprisingly, the voices of intolerance on the religious right, particularly the Michigan Catholic Conference, oppose (Rep. Paul) Condino’s bill (to allow unmarried partners to jointly adopt children) because they claim unmarried couples, especially same-sex ones, threaten the well-being of children by failing to provide ‘traditional family structure.’ These religious groups would rather have children run through the turbines of state-controlled foster care than live in a loving, two-parent environment. And they claim to have the children’s best interest at heart.”

As one of those voices of intolerance, I would like to defend myself. Catholics are typically not in the business of choosing between the lesser of two evils. One of Christianity’s most famous champions, author C. S. Lewis would say that once we have done this, the devil has already won. Sure, having a child in the state foster care is not an ideal situation. However, I would argue that adoption by any collective other than a married couple is also not optimal. I am sure that, as all Catholic adoption agencies do, the Michigan Catholic Church is in favor of placing every child in a loving two-parent home.

However, we believe a child is not a social experiment. While no one doubts that a gay couple could love a child just as much as a straight/married couple, a major part of a child’s upbringing is determined by the example set by the parents. Were a straight child to be raised in a gay couple’s home, where would he learn about proper relationships between men and women? There are many more points to this argument, and I would encourage anyone with questions to contact me.

One could easily point to all of the divorced couples and single parents as examples of what is wrong with traditional marriage. However, we must simultaneously acknowledge that these instances of a breakdown in traditional family structure are not acceptable. The Catholic Church is concerned with ideals, and so we continually strive for perfection. Problems arise when we settle.

Daniel Phalen

Romney unworthy of native son fanfare in Michigan

To the Daily:
Wednesday’s piece on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s decision to enter the presidential race was one of the best fluff pieces I’ve seen ever seen in The Michigan Daily (Native son launches bid for presidency, 02/14/2007). The article seemed to have been extracted directly from www.mittromney.com. It completely lacked any critical perspective on the presidential candidate’s timely return.

As a 22-year resident of Michigan, I can’t help but wonder where our supposed “native son” has been all this time. Here is a refresher: While the state’s economy has been steadily tanking in recent decades, our boy Mitt was graduating from Harvard and running a consulting business in Massachusetts. While many in this state sunk into poverty, Mitt was making millions out East. While the state was running a massive deficit he was rescuing the 2002 winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. While Michigan was looking for strong leadership in hard times, Mitt Romney was governing Massachusetts. Now Romney finally returns as our “native son” – not because we need his help, but because he needs our votes. I, for one, don’t plan to give him mine.

The only politicians that have provided this state with any strength and leadership in these tough years have run blue and I am not going red to reward our prodigal son, who has finally returned looking for a handout.

Andrew Smith
LSA senior

LSA-SG’s registration date reform only exacerbates woes

To the Daily:
In Matthew Murphy’s letter to the editor on Tuesday (Registration bracket reform would level playing field, 12/13/2007), he expressed the belief that the “old system had the effect of creating a fast track into desirable classes for students who started college with a lot of Advanced Placement credit. Most such students are from wealthy suburbs. On the other hand, students from rural or urban schools that lack the resources to fund extensive AP programs end up at an academic disadvantage from day one.”

That’s excellently put. I too share Murphy’s distaste for the registration date system. As a fourth year student who did not take AP courses in high school, I’ve suffered from consistently late registration times. I’ve missed the chance to take classes with talented professors because their lectures closed before I even had a chance to register.

Unfortunately, the LSA-Student Government’s projected reforms do not address this issue. They will only exacerbate the problem. The LSA-SG reforms will decrease the number of credit brackets to ensure that students with more credits get an earlier date than those who have fewer credits. In the old system, the bracket size was 15 credits, which means that students with 0-15 credits were lumped together and then assigned a time at random. A student with zero credits (no AP courses out of high school) could have had an earlier registration time than a student with 15 credits (several AP courses). Now, the bracket will be smaller.

In the new system, there’s absolutely no chance that a student without any AP credits will register ahead of one who has some; such a student had a shot in the old system. Besides being a token gesture to upperclassmen, this change will only help privileged suburbanites and overachievers – not necessarily a bad thing, but certainly not a change. Assuredly, the only aspect of the registration overhaul that would help level the playing field for all students is the elimination of the “random loser phenomenon,” a relic of the days of in-person paper registration.

Murphy expresses such palpable excitement, remarking that LSA-SG deserved “tremendous credit for tackling this issue.” Lest you think otherwise, LSA-SG is still working tirelessly to push for change – but only for peripheral issues. Credit brackets and putting median grades on the transcript may occupy the bulk of LSA-SG’s concerns, but its impact on the students at the University is minimal. I admit degree progress reports recently brought to Wolverine Access would have been a welcome change – if they were actually accurate, that is.

Matthew Coakley
LSA senior

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