Great American Conversations
                    With The Alumni of RHS
                Issue 100 ~ October 30, 2000

      Choices/Body Slams/Pre-Fab Folding Chairs
      Jimmie A. Shipman Class of "51" 

      Enough  of Anti-Gay Venom
      Patricia Keeney (63)

      Give Our Schools A Break
      Mike Franco (1970)

      We Can Learn From What We Read
      Anna Durbin '69


Subj: Choices/Body Slams/Pre-Fab Folding Chairs
From: Jimmie A. Shipman Class of "51" 
Richland, Washington

Does any one have any old pre-fab folding chairs
 that they would like to part with?

To Pam Jewett-Bullock (nee Plye'69)

1: It is Jimmie A. (Not Steve) Shipman.

2: The thanks that you gave to Lynn Hatcher (68)
 was for her Snippet "Let's Focus On The Person,
 Not The Lifestyle" was addressed to Steve
 Carson (58) not to Steve Shipman (51) as stated
 by you. It was in the Sandbox #94 issue, However
 I do take credit for "It's Against God's Law"
 as Jimmie A. Shipman (51), in Sandbox #94 issue.

3: Homosexuality is a lifestyle of choice, it has
 nothing to do with skin or eye color or any of the
 other rhetoric that you went on and on about.

4. God's Words on homosexual relationships can be
 located in the following Bible verses:
 (Lev 18:22), "Do not lie with a man as one lies
 with a woman; that is detestable."

(Lev 20:13), "If a man lies with a man as one lies
 with a woman, both of them have done what is
 detestable. They must be put to death; their
 blood will be on their own heads."

(Rom 1:18_32), "The wrath of God is being
 revealed from heaven against all the godlessness
 and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by
 their wickedness, {19} since what may be known
 about God is plain to them, because God has made
 it plain to them. {20} For since the creation of the
 world God's invisible qualities__his eternal power
 and divine nature__have been clearly seen, being
 understood from what has been made, so that men
 are without excuse. {21} For although they knew
 God,  they neither glorified him as God nor gave
 thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and
 their foolish hearts were darkened. {22} Although
 they claimed to be wise, they became fools {23}
 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for
 images made to look like mortal man and birds and
 animals and reptiles. {24} Therefore God gave
 them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to
 sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies
 with one another. {25} They exchanged the truth
 of God  for a lie, and worshiped and served
 created things rather than the Creator__who is
 forever praised. Amen. {26} Because of this, God
 gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their
 women exchanged natural relations for unnatural
 ones. {27} In the same way the men also
 abandoned natural relations with women and were
 inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed
 indecent acts with other men, and received in
 themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
 {28} Furthermore, since they did not think it
 worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he
 gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what
 ought not to be done. {29} They have become
 filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed
 and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife,
 deceit and malice. They are gossips, {30}
 slanderers, God_haters, insolent, arrogant and
 boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they
 disobey their parents; {31} they are senseless,
 faithless, heartless, ruthless. {32} Although
 they know God's righteous decree that those who
 do such things deserve death, they not only
 continue to do these very things but also approve
 of those who practice them."

(1 Cor 6:9_11), "Do you not know that the wicked
 will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be
 deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor
 idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor
 homosexual offenders {10} nor thieves nor the
 greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor
 swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. {11}
 And that is what some of you were. But you were
 washed, you were sanctified, you were justified
 in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the
 Spirit of our God."

 (1 Tim 1:8_11), "We know that the law is good if
 one uses it properly.  {9} We also know that law is
 made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and
 rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and
 irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or
 mothers, for murderers, {10} for adulterers and
 perverts, for slave traders and liars and
 perjurers__and for whatever else is contrary to the
 sound doctrine {11} that conforms to the glorious
 gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to

5. Again, let me say that homosexuality is and will
 be always against God's Law, as stated in the
 Scriptures of the Holy Bible.

6. God expects us to love not only him, but also our
 neighbors as well. I, as a Christian, do love
 homosexual people, It's the sin of homosexualtity
 that I deplore. We have an extended family
 member who by choice is a homosexual and we
 love her.

God Bless
Now go and have a good day.

                 Jimmie A. Shipman (51)


Subj:   Enough  of Anti-Gay Venom
From:   Patricia Keeney (63)
Forest Grove, Oregon

For years I have been in the middle of heated
 political debate here in Oregon in defense of my
 gay son and others in the widely disdained and
 misunderstood gay community.  In April of this
 year, a mother in Vermont wrote to her local paper
 and said so many of things I have wanted to say.  I
 could not have said it any better... so I will
 reproduce it here....        

         I've had enough of your anti-gay venom
         by Sharon Underwood For the Valley News 
         (White River Junction, VT/Hanover, NH)

As the mother of a gay son, I've seen firsthand how
 cruel and misguided people can be.

    Many letters have been sent to the Valley News
 concerning the homosexual menace in Vermont.  I
 am the mother of a gay son and I've taken enough
 from you good people.

    I'm tired of your foolish rhetoric about the
 "homosexual agenda" and your allegations that
 accepting homosexuality is the same thing as
 advocating sex with children.  You are cruel and
 ignorant.  You have been robbing me of the joys of
 motherhood ever since my children were tiny.

    My firstborn son started suffering at the hands of
 the moral little thugs from your moral, upright
 families from the time he was in the first grade.  He
 was physically and verbally abused from first grade
 straight through high school because he was
 perceived to be gay.

    He never professed to be gay or had any
 association with anything gay, but he had the
 misfortune not to walk or have gestures like the
 other boys.  He was called "fag" incessantly,
 starting when he was six.

    In high school, while your children were doing
 what kids that age should be doing, mine labored
 over a suicide note, drafting and redrafting it to be
 sure his family knew how much he loved them. 
 My sobbing 17-year-old tore the heart out of me as
 he choked out that he just couldn't bear to
 continue living any longer, that he didn't want to
 be gay and that he couldn't face a life with no

    You have the audacity to talk about protecting
 families and children from the homosexual menace,
 while you yourselves tear apart families and drive
 children to despair.  I don't know why my son is
 gay, but I do know that God didn't put him, and
 millions like him, on this Earth to give you
 someone to abuse.  God gave you brains so that
 you could think, and it's about time you started
 doing that.

No Choice
    At the core of all your misguided beliefs is the
 belief that this could never happen to you, that
 there is some kind of subculture out there that
 people have chosen to join.  The fact is that if it
 can happen to my family, it can happen to yours,
 and you won't get to choose.  Whether it is genetic
 or whether something occurs during a critical time
 of fetal development, I don't know.  I can only tell
 you with an absolute certainty that it is inborn.

    If you want to tout your morality, you'd best
 come up with something more substantive than
 your heterosexuality.  You did nothing to earn it; it
 was given to you.  If you disagree, I would be
 interested in hearing your story, because my own
 heterosexuality was a blessing I received with no
 effort whatsoever on my part.  It is so woven into
 the very soul of me that nothing could ever change

    For those of you who reduce sexual orientation
 to a simple choice, a character issue, a bad habit or
 something that can be changed by a 10-step
 program, I'm puzzled.  Are you saying that your
 own sexual orientation is nothing more than
 something you have chosen, that you could change
 it at will?  If that's not the case, then why would
 you suggest that someone else can?

    A popular theme in your letters is that Vermont
 has been infiltrated by outsiders.  Both sides of my
 family have lived in Vermont for generations.  I am
 heart and soul a Vermonter, so I'll thank you to
 stop saying that you are speaking for "true
    You invoke the memory of the brave people who
 have fought on the battlefield for this great
 country, saying that they didn't give their lives so
 that the "homosexual agenda" could tear down the
 principles they died defending.  My 83-year-old
 father fought in some of the most horrific battles of
 World War II, was wounded and awarded the
 Purple Heart.  He shakes his head in sadness at the
 life his grandson has had to live.  He says he fought
 alongside homosexuals in those battles, they did
 their part and bothered no one.  One of his best
 friends in the service was gay, and he never knew
 it until the end, and when he did find out, it
 mattered not at all.  That wasn't the measure of the

    You religious folk just can't bear the thought that
 as my son emerges from the hell that was his
 childhood he might like to find a lifelong
 companion and have a measure of happiness.  It
 offends your sensibilities that he should request the
 right to visit that companion in the hospital, to
 make medical decisions for him or to benefit from
 tax laws governing inheritance.

    How dare he? you say.  These outrageous
 requests would threaten the very existence of your
 family, would undermine the sanctity of marriage.

    You use religion to abdicate your responsibility
 to be thinking human beings.  There are vast
 numbers of religious people who find your
 attitudes repugnant.  God is not for the privileged
 majority, and God knows my son has committed no sin.

    The deep-thinking author of a letter to the April
 12 Valley News who lectures about homosexual
 sin and tells us about "those of us who have been
 blessed with the benefits of a religious upbringing"
 asks: "What ever happened to the idea of be better human beings than we are?"   
 Indeed sir, what ever happened to that?

Postscript from Patricia Keeney...

    Vermont became the first state to approve civil
 unions for gays and lesbians.  May it be the first of
 many to offer the same privileges and freedoms the
 rest of us enjoy. 

    Bomber parents of gay children, if you want
 more information and want to learn how to
 support our wonderful children, contact your local
 Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
 (PFLAG).  If you don't know how to find a local
 chapter, email me and I will help you.

                  - Patricia Keeney (63)

Subj: Give Our Schools A Break
From: Mike Franco (1970)
Kent, Washington

I must respond to comments regarding
 homosexuality and our tolerance or lack of it in
 our lives, schools, etc. In particular a submittal 
 stated..."schools and media promoting  
 homosexuality as no different than 
 race or blond hair. We should channel our God
 given sexuality in a positive and healthy
 direction....this is where the schools come into

PLEEEEEEEEEZ  give our schools a break! Let's
 not burden our teachers with any more of the
 policing, feeding,  child raising, morals promoting
 that we currently bury them under.  Many of my
 closest pals are teachers and the last thing they
 desire is to get into the  morals business. 

I must ask another question though. I am very
 active in my daughter's jr high school, spend a lot
 of time there and also read two daily newspapers
 (big city  "lib" papers) and have not encountered
 any  "promoting " of homosexuality.  In papers we
 certainly see different attitudes and morals, but I 
 cannot say I have ever seen any promotion and
 NEVER any in the schools. I spend days each
 month on several committees and other activities
 and have no idea what  this "promotion" is all

I find it alarming that to make a point an individual
 will simply make a statement ("schools do this, or
 that") and then goes on to condemn the entire 
 education system.  I will defend our public schools
 here in Kent as doing a great job and dealing well
 with the issues of the day. I too remember our 
 Richland childhood days fondly. But if you equate
 those times with the challenges of teaching and
 parenting today you don't understand the changing 
 times.  The good old days are just that...old  and in
 the past.

On this very emotional and moral issue there is
 more than one road to follow in  leading and
 educating our children. Decisions  are not easy 
 and there is no one right way to deal with issues
 and people.....but do NOT blame institutions
 (schools, newspapers, TV)  outside the family. The
 only reason  these institutions may have more
 influence than parents is because some of us 
 did not or do not meet issues head on. 

It's OK for us to disagree on the issue of 
 homosexuality awareness. It's a tough one. It is
 also well worth our time and consideration. Just
 remember,  it involves a lot of people and how
 they are treated. That,  (treatment of others), is
 ALWAYS worth the effort.

                       Mike Franco (1970)

Subj:   We Can Learn From What We Read
From:   Anna Durbin '69 

I just want to thank Bob Rector ('62) for his
 concise wisdom and Bob (Mike Clowes)
 Carlson '54  for his info and wisdom on ballot
 issues [Issue 98] (my two concise takes:  ignorance
 is  not bliss, really, and fear of the different or
 unknown causes hatred).  I loved the no mandates
 without funding idea.  If we are talking about
 banning the apparently evil Harry Potter, does that
 mean we want to ban Grimm's Fairy tales,
 especially because they really dump on
 stepmothers, and anything Walt Disney as well
 since he anthropomorhises animals, not to mention
 the Sorcerer's Apprentice?  I think the Amish go
 really far trying to protect their children from the
 current culture, and there was a big arrest among
 some young Amish adults not too long ago for
 drug dealing. I go for learning from other
 cultures and believing that searching for truth shall
 make us free, myself. 

I still think we learn something from what we read. 
 And if Christians are good role models and really
 do practice loving their fellow humans, their
 children will not turn to Satanism, which is very
 different from Wicca, but will follow the good of
 the religion as Jesus taught it.  For example, he did
 not let people stone the adulteress, but suggested
 that he who is without sin should cast the first
 stone.  I think that message, instead of the message
 that allows people to think it is okay to beat
 homosexuals to death because they are an evil
 abomination according to the Bible, is Christianity
 as I learned it.  I don't think God made people who
 are evil abominations and I think the song from
 South Pacific is very true.  Remember the one
 about how "Children must be carefully taught..."
 And I can't thank  Andrew Eckert (54) enough for
 doing research for me to send to the members of
 my family who repeat the propaganda they read. 
 Amazing how intelligent people from the same
 family can have such diametrically opposed ideas
 to mine.  But we enjoy mixing it up by email much
 as the Sandboxers do. I must confess that an older
 brother did recently call me a communist, however. 
 And I thought they were all dead.

And Editor, do you think it would be possible to
 refer people back to earlier editions if they miss
 some beginning of discussion so we don't have to
 start it all over again?  Or are we not set up with
 some indexing ability?  And no, I am not
 suggesting to stick you with the task.  You already
 do enough work already.  Any retired net wizards
 (oops, did not mean to espouse Satanism) (Yes, it
 has taken over our language) who could help you?

And Happy Halloween.  I really enjoy Trick or
 Treaters, myself. And please, I am trying to be
 lighthearted, not to insult anyone.  

                - Anna Durbin '69 

Note: Generally, extensive quotations are avoided in
The SANDBOX in order to leave more room for the
original  thoughts and comments of Bomber Alumni.
Exceptions have been made in this issue for purposes of

That concludes this issue of THE SANDBOX folks. Please
include your class year and maiden name, (if applicable),
in all correspondence and subscription requests.  You may
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Alumni of Richland High School, Richland Washington,
AKA Columbia High School, representing classes from 1942
through 2000. Visit the THE SANDBOX website.

Al Parker (53)
Shippenville, PA
                             - 100 -