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Keeping Straight Men Safe 

Letters published August 23, 2001

Gays and women can fend for themselves:

Okay. I want every construction worker and weirdo in a car or on a street corner who has ever suggested that I have sex with them to be arrested. I want to be able to call the police whenever I feel uncomfortable or threatened because a guy has made suggestive comments on an elevator or in a parking garage. I want protection under the law.

Erick Trickey's article about Ohio's importuning law ["Name That 'Tuning," August 2] not only illustrates that our courts still protect bigotry when it's directed at gay people; they also continue to give women less protection than straight men. The importuning law protects straight men, and the fact that a woman could not ask for legal intervention when sexually propositioned also protects straight men.

Also, what is to stop a vindictive, homophobic man from making charges against a gay man just because he doesn't like him? Women and gays are constantly subjected to derogatory sexual comments, and they have no recourse. I applaud Joseph Maistros and Kenneth Rexford for taking on this law. Is there some attorney who will take this on as an issue of equal protection for women?

Elizzabeth Shiros
Cleveland

A brief history of Catholicism:

Reading Gerald S.'s July 26 letter about "A Few Good Men" [May 24] reminded me of the hopelessly and willfully uninformed and narrow-minded people who drove me, intellectually exhausted, from the Catholic Church. This very Catholic rock musician (I have no idea why this should be a paradox) spews the sort of crap that alienates both Catholics and non-Catholics who have decided to live in the 21st century.

Gerald claims that the Church is ignored, misunderstood, and unappreciated. I guess Gerald hasn't read too much history or kept up with current events. The Catholic Church can't be ignored, because it has involved itself in politics and international affairs since ancient times. As for being misunderstood, the Church is no more misunderstood by Americans than any other religion. If Gerald thinks the Church has been a tireless advocate of the poor and downtrodden, he is woefully ignorant. Even into the 20th century, the Vatican condemned labor unions and democratic elections. Priestly corruption and overbearing interference invited severe retaliation against the Church during civil wars in Mexico and Spain. Also, Gerald probably doesn't know that, before Italy became a unified country in the late 1800s, the Pope ruled the "Papal States" with an iron hand, crushing calls for democracy with his army.

Finally, Gerald's biggest misunderstanding is that modern American culture caused the decline of the Catholic priesthood. The reality is that intelligent, working-class men no longer needed to be priests to escape the drudgery of daily life. College education, middle-class pay, and suburban life offered the security and upward mobility that the priesthood once provided ambitious men in the Catholic slums. While the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe struggle to fill the priestly ranks, Third World countries are blessed with crowded seminaries. Although lifelong celibacy and daily Mass may attract some men, I'm sure economic freedom is a greater inspiration than saintly devotion.

Michael Marin
Brunswick

The Corn Queen tradition lives on:

I am writing to inform you that the North Ridgeville Corn Festival does indeed have a Queen, albeit an unofficial one ["Canned Corn," August 9]. Each year, a group of people gather at my North Ridgeville home to eat, drink, be merry, and wait with unbridled anticipation to see who will have the honor bestowed upon her. Last year, in an effort to keep things equal, we added the Korn Kernel; this year, we added the Corn Dog.

We have a short ceremony, at which nominees must answer such questions as What is your favorite vegetable? (corn), What is the price of admission to the festival? (free), and What is your favorite Stephen King short story? ("Children of the Corn"). This year's Kernel was chosen largely due to his enthusiasm and the fact that he has actually visited the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. Both the Queen and the Kernel are given crowns and an "I love corn" bracelet. Each Queen is awarded a corn pin handcrafted by Prosperity Jewelry.

After the ceremony, we get in the back of pickup trucks and go to the festival, where we watch people, buy junk, drink beer, and eat funnel cakes, corn dogs, and other meat-on-a-stick products.

Stephanie A. Boyd,
1996 Corn Queen
North Ridgeville

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