The University Record, November 6, 1995


Note to readers: The University Record welcomes letters from members of the University community.

Not a question of right to write letter

In the Oct. 30 issue of The University Record there is a letter written by Prof. Jan Kmenta in economics. He states that I and "Ms. Robertson criticize Mr. Bender not only for his views but for writing his letter in the first place."

This is false. I cannot speak for Ms. Robertson, but I can speak for myself. I know that I will not agree with the opinions and viewpoints of everyone who is expressing them. I do think that Mr. Bender had just as much of a right to write his letter as I had to disagree with it.

My letter did not attack Mr. Bender's character, only his argument.

Prof. Kmenta quotes the ending of my letter saying that "arguments and attitudes like Mr. Bender's only add more fuel to societal renovations in the opposite direction."

Restrictive societal constraints based on ignorance and intolerance inspired people into social movements which changed the basic structures of society. These changes were/are being made to include, rather than exclude, traditionally outcast persons/groups based on race, class, gender and sexual orientation. I was saying that arguments like the ones the Mr. Bender made were examples of the very attitudes that cause these "social renovations" in the first place. This has nothing to do with "criticizing or intimidating" his views as Prof. Kmenta states.

Dorian Arana, office assistant, Taubman Medical Library

Bender offers rebuttal

(Editor's Note: This letter has been edited with Mr. Bender's knowledge.)

In response to the outcry by the homosexual community in regards to my Oct. 16 letter in The University Record, I would like to share the following information with those who have been unduly influenced by gay and lesbian rhetoric at the University of Michigan. How can a behavior be accepted or even tolerated if it is neither socially, physically or religiously justified?

The family, that marital union which is comprised of a father, mother and children, is vital to society and should be safeguarded against those who attempt to undermine it. Homosexual relationships weaken the institution of marriage because they are non-committal, short in duration and, most importantly, they confuse the sexual identity of our children. Contrary to exaggerated claims of 10 percent, homosexual men comprise only 3 percent and women 1 percent of the population.

However, if the teaching of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle becomes more prevalent in our schools, expect these percentages to increase as the homosexual movement continues to infiltrate and influence every aspect of our society while portraying themselves as victims of oppression. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and other homosexual organizations represent a powerful political force that is working relentlessly to change the attitudes of our children, and then our laws, and finally the attitudes of the general public. If U.S. legislation cannot be enacted to support homosexual practices, then participation in United Nation conferences becomes a means to influence public opinion.

Although billions of dollars have been spent on AIDS research and other biological programs directed at discovering a "gay gene," there is presently no evidence to support biological differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals. However, there are major health and mortality differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals due to behavioral differences.

According to author Roger J. Magnuson in his book titled Are Gay Rights Right?: "The average male homosexual engages in sex two or three times a week and has an average of 1,000 or more sexual partners in his lifetime, with the majority of these being one-time encounters."

Homosexuals are 14 times more likely to have had syphilis and 23 times more likely to contract venereal disease. . . . And most tragically, according to the Family Research Institute, the average life expectancy of a male homosexual is 42 years (instead of 74 for heterosexual men) and the average life expectancy of a lesbian is 45 years (instead of 79 years for heterosexual women).

Is there any biblical support for homosexual behavior or does the Holy Bible not address this issue? (Editor's Note: Mr. Bender cites several passages supporting his position, including Leviticus 20:13, Corinthians 6:9 and Romans 1:24-32.)

I do not hate people with homosexual tendencies. But it is out of concern that I have submitted this letter to inform our University community that it is wrong to support a behavior that not only devastates the victim, and their immediate family, but also our society. My advice to those who are struggling with their sexual orientation is to first re-establish your relationship with your parents, seek religious counseling, make new friends and, most importantly, do not participate in gay and lesbian activities. Lastly, I would pray to God for help and forgiveness.

Bruce A. Bender, Central Campus area maintenance coordinator, Housing Facilities Department

LGB activists saddened

We, the LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) activists at the University of Michigan, are saddened to see the recent letter by Bruce Bender in the Oct. 16 issue of the Record. This letter shows that Ann Arbor is not always the open-minded community it strives to be. We take this opportunity to clarify our goals and values.

LGB organizations are not out to seduce students into a different sexual orientation. Mr. Bender's claims about the orientation process are entirely false. In the orientation programming, there was very little attention given to LGB issues. The orientation leaders were not trying to convert incoming freshmen into homosexuals, as if that were even possible. The image of our organization preying on innocent freshmen is ludicrous. We have these goals: first, to promote understanding of LGB people on campus. Second, to support---not convert---people who are trying to understand their sexuality, so they can lead more fulfilling and productive lives.

We are pleased with the new technological innovations on campus which allow us to operate more efficiently and reach more people. We use such services as e-mail, the World Wide Web and ConferU to communicate effectively and make information about LGB issues more readily available. No one is ever forced to access and read this information, as Mr. Bender's letter implies. We have the same access to these services as any other organization on campus.

We are also pleased with the University's open-minded attitude toward same-sex couples, especially in the area of married housing. Whatever Mr. Bender believes about this and other schools, all that this school is trying to do is promote equality between heterosexual and homosexual partnerships. The University's policies are far ahead of state and federal laws in their progress toward an understanding of LGB people and issues. We are fully in support of family values, patriotism and religious values, in that we have the same rights under the flag as all of our fellow Americans.

The goals and values of the LGB community include understanding and acceptance of everyone, regardless of racial, religious, and gender or sexual identity. We don't understand how people like Bruce Bender, a long-term employee of the University and Ann Arbor resident, can possibly find this offensive. We thank the Record for this opportunity to clarify our position.

Katt Hernandez, Geoffrey L. Ream, Victor Myatt, Dorina Arana, Shawn La'Yave, Amin Panjwani, Ceyrena Kay, Jeffry S. Wallbaum, Gordon Beeferman, Jon Weitz, Jim Paffenbarger, Matthew W. Robison, George Hardnett, Ingrid Ehrbar, Jeffry Herman, Brian Wayland