Although I have come to expect factual inaccuracies from your often emotionally charged, predominately liberal readership, the letter titled "Religious Freedom and Health Care" [Dec. 31-Jan. 6] was so riddled with glaring misinformation that I was surprised your editor did not offer a correction. No matter, I'll do it for you. First of all, the "abortion amendment," passed by the House, prohibits federal funds from being spent on "on-demand" abortion procedures—this much is true. However, unbeknownst to Ms. Miller, the bill does provide a few exceptions, one of which just happens to be in case of "the life of the mother." This not only makes the bill conform to current federal law, it also would bring it in line with majority opinion on this issue—not to mention Ms. Miller's specific case, which would definitely be covered under this amendment. Also, although the amendment forbids taxpayer money from being spent on elective abortion, it does NOT prohibit someone from spending their OWN money on the abortion itself, nor does it stop someone from purchasing a health plan, with their own money once again, that covers it. Thomas Jefferson once wrote, in his “Statutes on Religious Freedom” (how relevant!), "To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." So, be it resolved that in a free society it is just as immoral to compel Don Schrader to spend his money on "the war machine," as it is for pro-life Joe Blow in Nebraska to pay for an abortion by some 15-year-old girl in California. Is that unreasonable, Ms. Miller?
Brandon Venaglia Corrales
Burning Down the House
The Albuquerque Theatre Guild is grateful to the Alibi for covering the recent and important meeting of theatre organizations and the city Fire Marshal's office [Art News, "The Code Talkers," Dec. 24-30]. The safety of the theatregoing public is a primary concern of ours, so when several venues were recently cited for non-compliance with city codes, we immediately convened a meeting to initiate an exchange of information and working perspectives. A better understanding between theatres and the city is clearly a matter of urgent public interest.
As your story reported, the dialogue got off to a good start on Dec. 19 and will continue into the new year. Alibi readers will be glad to know that, contrary to the opinion of CTB [alibi.com reader comment, Letters, “Acting!” Jan. 7-13], local theatres are not seeking "exemptions" from city ordinances. On the contrary, all of the cited venues are now open under temporary permits, and their managers are working hard to bring them into compliance, with input and guidance from the Fire Marshal's office and licensed contractors. The many safety codes for businesses operating in the city, and the procedures for their enforcement, can be difficult to access and understand, but the ATG hopes to develop, in collaboration with the Fire Marshal's office, a clear synopsis that theatres can use to guide their compliance activities in the future.
The ATG exists to help the theatre community to work together and respond more cohesively when public issues of this type arise. We are a nonprofit, all-volunteer umbrella group with 33 member organizations and nearly 140 individual members. Far from "working in a vacuum," as CTB has it, we are rapidly becoming an integral and constructive part of Albuquerque's thriving arts-and-culture dynamic. For further information, please visit abqtheatre.org.
Hugh Witemeyer, President Albuquerque Theatre Guild
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