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Friday, February 13, 2004 - Page updated at 12:51 A.M.

Letters to the editor


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'PASSION' PLAYS

The Lamentation: best depicted in scenes from the Gospels

Editor, The Times:

Because I have not yet seen the "Passion of the Christ," I will not comment on it. However, I am disturbed by some of the reported comments by those who have — those that go along these lines: "There was not a dry eye in the house," and "People sobbed throughout."

Is this what makes a film successful and important — that we can all have a good cry?

My hope is that viewers will (re)read the Gospels to discover how restrained they are in depicting Jesus' suffering and death. They do not exploit these obviously emotional events. There is nothing of the clinical analysis of the "doctor looks at Jesus' execution" genre, where lurid accounts are given of how under exposure this organ failed and how that system broke down during the trauma.

Unless we ask what the suffering and death were about, unless there is an attempt to see how the end of Jesus' life is related to the beginning and middle (and how physical suffering solves a spiritual problem), we will have denied him (and ourselves) justice.
Eugene E. Lemcio, Ph.D. , professor of New Testament, Seattle Pacific University

The true cross-examination

I'm not sure what it will take to mollify and reassure those concerned with Mel Gibson's film depicting the death of Christ. From what I understand (I'll admit I haven't seen the movie), it is a historically, biblically accurate depiction of the death of Christ. If anyone (who has seen the film) is actually arguing that point, they should speak out. In fact, I haven't yet seen an actual argument based on the accuracy of the film's content.

What I've read indicates people are upset by the fallout that might be felt by those offended at the content, not its authenticity. Blaming people of the Jewish faith today for the death of Christ is like blaming the white people of today for slavery of the past. Both are ludicrous.

What would those who are concerned about the film's effect suggest? Should we alter the historically accurate depiction so as not to offend? Should the film be banned? Both options are, of course, equally ludicrous.

If you think you might be offended, why not just stay home, or see another movie?
Nancy Webster, Seattle

Spreading the worst

I do hope Hollywood can come up with a movie that answers the question, "Who really killed Jesus" more truthfully than Mel Gibson (in the movie, "Passion of the Christ"), without a private agenda.

I do not see how Pontius Pilate or the Romans can (be absolved) of responsibility. Pilate was in a position of authority and could have prevented the crucifixion. He did not. Apparently, the Romans viewed Christ as a threat to Roman rule, just as the high priest viewed him as a threat to his leadership.

The disturbing thing here is that the film risks fueling anti-Semitism at a time in the world when we are witnessing a resurgence of it in Europe and elsewhere.

The concern here is not so much that Christians will misunderstand the deeper purpose of the film. It is the extremist and the fringe groups that may use the film as a basis to justify their rabid hatred of all Jews for an event that occurred centuries ago.
Josh Basson, Seattle

CULTURED PERIL

Oyster is their world

"Beach erosion threatens coastal state park (Times, Local News, Jan. 25) is interesting in that, for over 100 years, the shorelines of Grays Harbor and ocean beaches have been undergoing rapid change as man has interrupted natural processes. The last major assault on the shoreline was the Grays Harbor Deep Draft Project that widened, deepened and straightened the navigation channel.

The Deep Draft Project has allowed ever-increasing ocean energy to enter the estuary, creating even greater shoreline change that must be managed to protect man-made projects. Mix into this bowl-shaped estuary shifting sands, erosive wave energy and competing economic interests — season with politics and federal money — and you have created a recipe for social conflict.

The oyster industry has lost hundreds of acres of prime oyster land because of site-specific erosion reduction projects and major channel realignment in Grays Harbor. The oyster growers would like to see a full-blown, peer reviewed environmental-impact study for the whole Grays Harbor estuary and associated ocean beaches. This would help the decision-makers develop better decisions and provide better funding efficiencies for taxpayers.
Brady Engvall, Aberdeen

TEST OF PRIORITIES

Class act

We would like to tell this to our citizens in Seattle: We thank you sincerely for making it possible for the levies to pass. Your gesture proved that one of your priorities has been the education of the children, the future citizens of our country.

We will cherish your generous hearts.
22 students of Ms. Flor Gonio's second-grade class, Lawton Elementary School, Seattle

Second that

On behalf of the Seattle School Board, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the voters of our city who overwhelmingly supported the school levies on the Feb. 3 ballot. If the strength of our community can be measured by the investment we make in our youth — and I believe it can — then Seattle is strong indeed.

Unofficial returns showed that the educational programs and operations levy, which represents 23 percent of the School District's general fund budget and provides important educational services to our 47, 000 students, won 78 percent of the vote. The capital levy, which funds 700 projects and will improve every school in our system, won 74 percent of the vote.

Those returns demonstrate Seattle's commitment to improving public education and providing the children of our city with the knowledge, experiences and opportunities they need to build a better, brighter future. That kind of commitment has long been a hallmark of this city, and it makes me very proud to live here.

My colleagues and I would also like to say an extra special thank you to Schools First! and the incredible corps of volunteers who devoted countless hours to ensuring passage of these levies — and success for our students. Their time, energy and efforts are appreciated far more than words can convey.
Mary Bass, president, Seattle School Board

WHY WE WORRY

Mad about W

If John C. Picinich's contention is true, that John Kerry looks like Herman Munster ("John scary," Northwest Voices, Feb. 11), I'd still take Kerry, any day, over that Alfred E. Newman clone (in both mind and body), George Bush.
Ken Kreps, Puyallup

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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