Likes Our Coverage
Thank you for including the Equality Center in your summary of 2007 in (last week's "Hot 100" edition, 3-9 January, 2008). Your acknowledgment of our presence and participation in the downtown east village cultural revitalization is appreciated.
We are proud that Tulsa's most progressive weekly considers us significant. You folks are the best and we are pushing your publication like a drug. We can not get enough of your community spirit and good will.
Even More Love
A frequent visitor to and former (1950-69) citizen of Tulsa, I peruse Urban Tulsa Weekly publication each visit with enthusiasm. With strong exception, however, your statement #3 on page 5 of the above referenced manual is cause for deep concern, although you are "torn on this one." Here's the story...
Having coffee at the Coffeehouse on Cherry Street several weeks ago with a manager of Tulsa Vision Builders, that construction professional reflected (and that professional wasn't trying to justify either his job or the BOK Center, just in thoughtful reflection, into staring a great cup of coffee), "You know, I've been involved with construction jobs over the world, and the companies I've worked for have always tried to bring buildings in on budget, on time and build them well. It's not easy. They were all good buildings, but you know what? They were just buildings. This is something special. Everyday I walk into the BOK Arena construction site, I wonder at the new construction methods, the incredible design, what is really being built and what that building will become. It's something truly special."
Now I read that Urban Tulsa, harbinger of all things urban in Tulsa, is not proud of the BOK Center (... we would have preferred an art deco look...). Maybe because I am a stranger in a strange land attempting to reacquaint myself with my former home town (recently purchasing a bungalow in Brookside), my "vision" needs new glasses, or do I need old glasses, glasses from the 1920's and '30's, looking backward toward gone, living in the past?
No, I'd prefer to wake up call in place of sleeping in the past. The BOK Center is "something try special," right before our very eyes.
That building in unique, with contoured lines unimaginable, a sculpture of a new day, and a piece of Art (surprise test: name the 7 arts). Today is neither 1920 nor 1930. It's a new millennium, a new day, possibly a rare day of unique opportunity.
If the BOK Center was to be Art Deco (and we just love art deco; see our building at 201/211 S. Cheyenne; the half building at 211 S. Cheyenne was originally built in 1936 and returned to its original exterior after being covered in 1957 with a façade identical to 201 S. Cheyenne, now however, is original. To have made the BOK Center art deco would have been nice, beautiful even, but it would have been just that: a façade, a reproduction.
Now Tulsa has "something truly special." Get on board, Urban Tulsa. Bring on the new days, the new citizens, the new businesses (come on City Council, a downtown Tulsa Drillers Stadium is a no brainer as is continued urban renewal!). Let's honor our historical character but not live in the past. Let's become "something truly special."
Respectfully, Ben F."Biff" Rummerfield, Jr.
Co-Manager Geo Trend LLC, owner of 201/211 S. Cheyenne,
Editor's Note: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We voted for the arena and do love the BOk for what it could become. It is an impressive structure and design. Well then, how about Driller's Stadium downtown in a retro style?
Yet More Love
I appreciate Holly Wall's excellent article on Gay Homeless Youth (13-19 December, 2007). Nice to see several community organizations being featured. Our city in blessed to have so many individuals and multiple programs trying to serve this marginalized segment of our local youth population.
On September 27, 2007, an article titled, "Quran rejection is criticized", in The Tulsa World said "Rep. Rex Duncan R-Sand Springs, refused a gift of Islam's holy book earlier this week, saying, 'Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology.'" The article went on to put down Representative Duncan as though he was wrong for stating his opinion regarding the Qur'an.
Since, the first Amendment of the US Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;... Rex Duncan had a right to refuse the offer of a free Quran. He also had the constitutional right to say openly and freely that he did not respect the Quran's teaching that led to the killing of innocent women and children. The Trade Towers tragedy of 9/11/01 was accomplished by Muslims who believed they were operating in behalf of Allah when they crashed into the building murdering thousands of innocent men, women and children.
The constitution gives all Americans the right to believe and worship or not according to their conscience. Jews, Christians, Muslims, and other religions are all free to believe and propagate their beliefs and faith freely in the United States. This freedom, however, does not include forcing or compelling others to follow Islam or any other religion.
The continued insistence of too many Muslim leaders that Islam is a religion of peace, and the continued failure of the press to inform the public as to what the Qur'an says continues to contribute to the blindness of the American public as regards the Qur'an, Allah, and Islam. In 1950, President Harry Truman said, "When even one American -- who had done nothing wrong -- is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth then all Americans are in peril."
So-called political correctness that suppresses the truth regarding Islam put non Muslim peoples of the world, including Americans, in peril.
Ram Through It. A Dodge Aries suffered light damage as century old tree limbs fell during Ice Storm 2007.
Recalling the Ice Storm of 2007
Tears stung my eyes as I returned once again to my devastated Owen Park home. Tulsa's first planned community, a historic landmark of a bygone era, crumbled like so many twiddle sticks in a pile. From the Grand mansions to the darling Craftsman cottages, we are physically and emotionally crippled by this storm. Our beloved historic homes along with our ancient Oaks, Pecan and Elms; lay in ruins all around us.
My house has been crushed by a century old Pecan tree, but today I cry tears of joy. Without electric power, heat, cable or phone; I have been shut out for several days praying help will soon come.
Today help arrives but not from Oklahoma PSO, but from far away states such as AL and NC. They are everywhere, clearing the streets and fixing power lines. I hear their speakers as they communicate; coordinating, organizing, and pouring their strength into returning life to this crushed neighborhood.
Thank God for these Men and Women who have traveled so far to help complete strangers, in our time of need. Thank you for your skills, your passion, your determination, and love. We are forever indebted to you all.
Begs to Differ
The article "Christianity: Root of Evil or Good?" (27 December, 2007-2 January, 2008) is maddeningly non-committal and obviously editorial cloaked as something of news -- providing that, incorrect as such, news is based off presumptions and ill-advised attempts to gather and incorporate our founding fathers' "true attitudes" on separation of church and state under a particular banner. The writer fails miserably at convincing history that our forefathers, at least covertly or even unbeknownst to themselves, planted seeds of Christianity in an entirely secular document.
The writer either incorrectly assumes meanings behind words like "Creator" and "self-evident" truths in the Declaration of Independence, or is, in full knowledge, taking such terms out of context to fit his own faith. I'm not sure which is more inexcusable. Why then, if it was our founding fathers' intention was to create a government that favored Christianity, would they not specifically say something like, "...that they are endowed by our Holy Father, God of Abraham, Jesus' Pappy, with certain unalienable Rights..." You know, instead of intentionally keeping the term vague, such as deists would do. The fact of the matter is exactly the opposite of how the writer approaches it when he says, "While reference to a 'Creator' is made, and at first glance would seem to refer to the God of Christianity." Are you crazy? At first glance, the word "Creator" seems empty of any theological assumptions. It seems as such because that was precisely their intention. Because our self-evident truths "seem to support that Creator's identity as the God worshipped by Christians," is certainly not a palpable fact, especially in light of the attitudes of the framers of the Declaration. If I hear hoof beats coming from behind me, should I assume them to be the hoof beats of an approaching zebra? Or would I be better off at assuming a horse is coming up behind me?
The concept of "self-evident" truths came less from what the writer may wish to be Christian theology and more from the scientific determinism of Isaac Newton and the analytic empiricism of David Hume -- a close friend of Benjamin Franklin. Hume asserted "analytic" truths -- truths that are self-evident by virtue of reason and definition. When Franklin struck Jefferson's wording of "sacred" and replaced it with "self-evident," he did so as an assertion of rationality.
The disjointedness of the article's presumptuous claims and illogical leaps to back those claims up, are nothing but self-serving and misleading in a dangerous way to those who may attempt to connect the dots. In comparing and contrasting the "self-evident" truths our forefathers saw w/ the not-so-self-evident truths of other world religions, such as the caste system in India, is to miss the point entirely and only proves America isn't based on Hindu or Islamic worldviews. Congratulations! It's the supposition that if its not any of the other world religions, then it must be Christian. Faulty and incorrect. The tenets set forth by our forefathers rose above mere religion and resided in the spaces just above it where coercion isn't necessary.
As students of history, our founding forefathers noted that history makes it abundantly clear that problems result equally when the state interferes with churches as when churches interfere with the state. The wall of separation between church and state isn't a one directional wall, as the writer seems to imply, but is a clear divider between the two spheres -- government has no authority over the human conscience and religion has no authority over how non-members structure there lives. Madison, whom your writer quotes (out of context) as a proponent of the one way wall of separation (in which the government can't interfere with religious matters but the church is, in fact, encouraged to have its hand in government affairs), thinks differently when quoted correctly -- "The tendency to a usurpation on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded against by an entire abstinence of the Government from interference in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order and protecting each sect against trespasses on its legal rights by others. I suppose his intention was to show Madison using words like "Governour of the Universe," and "Universal Sovereign," as proof that he was referring to the Christian God. Fact is, those terms have a decidedly Deist or Agnostic edge to them. No trace of Christianity at all. Congratulations.
Our forefathers intended a society governed by informed individuals -- informed by reason and rationale. When a citizenry acts with these principles in mind, equality and liberty for all are self evident and follow naturally as night follows day. This is all dependent on an informed society -- everything hinges on that...and with papers like yourself who cloak editorial as fair and balanced news, you're doing a disservice to the principles our forefathers set forth. It's not bad that this story was written (except that it was written poorly), but that it's masqueraded as something its not. Put this trash in the editorial section where it belongs so people readily identify that this is someone's opinion...that facts were blatantly disregarded.
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