Banner reading: Incoming. Mash notes, hate mail.

Loved the religion issue. Just have to share a relevant, true story with y'all.

One day at work my power chair broke down, and we went home, leaving the power chair in the office. Next day I went to work while hubby scrounged for parts. Later in the day he came to my office and fixed the power chair. Our (then) teenaged daughter was with him.

When we left, daughter plopped herself in the manual chair and off we rolled. As we stepped/rolled out of the building, a very matronly lady came up to us and said, 'Dears, if you'd only believe, you'd be healed.'

Before I could react, daughter leapt out of the chair, began dancing around, saying — quite loudly — 'I believe, I believe! I'm healed, I'm healed!' The poor woman turned so pale I thought she was going to faint. She left as fast as she could. We laughed all the way home.

Marcia Carlson
Madison, Wisc.

Some thoughts on Josie Byzek's story ["How I Became a Lesbian Gimp Christian,"Mouth #75].

Homosexuality is a sin according to Christianity. Of course one can find a church that accepts homosexuality or adultery, etc. And I bet that when the people who commit incest come out of the closet, they will be able to create a church for them too.

But these churches cannot change the Christian teachings for sexual purity. Yet sexual purity does not mean just to be straight. Adultery, a very common practice among Christians, is an equally serious sin that straight Christians avoid condemning as often and as eagerly as they do homosexuality.

Forgetting one's own sins and overstressing others' is an oppressing mechanism — and another sin.

Melina Fatsiou-Cowan
Huntsville, Alabama

Good job! Still devouring the Mouth issue on religion. It was just what I needed after attending the funeral of a close friend whose 'twisted body,' according to the minister, had been 'delivered at last into the loving arms of the Lord....'

The only thing 'twisted' was that sermon! Out of respect for my friend's family, I managed to sit fairly still after the initial jolt, but I'm sure I left a few claw marks on the church pew that day.

Thank you for leading your writers onto hallowed ground and encouraging them to speak freely on a too-often tabooed topic. Keep up the good work!

Deb Mitzlaff Koenen
Lincoln, Nebraska

Thanks for the article on the Oregon apology [for sterilization of people like Kenneth and Shirley Newman, Mouth #75]. The photo of the Newmans is so sweet.

We had a tremendous amount of good coverage leading up to December 2 and after, including an interview with a survivor on NPR ‘Morning Edition' and an interview on CNN that ran several times.

Our state's Diversity Committee is taking the lead in planning an annual event to mark the anniversary of the apology and celebrate human rights in Oregon.

Bill Lynch
Salem, Oregon

Joni & Friends Newsletter in November quoted Winston Churchill about measuring ourselves as a nation by how we care for people in need — or words to that effect.

Then today, on the Social Security 800 number, Alicia in Los Angeles said I must not continue to take SSI because I 'have not earned it' but instead take Social Security on the account of someone who never supported me, someone with whom I never lived, who I never even met until ten years ago. Even after I met him, he never sent me even one birthday card. But his Social Security was money earned while working. He and his rotten 48-year-old son are also Kevorkian supporters.

Some weeks after my conversation with 'Alicia in Los Angeles,' I heard about a rep payee who collected benefits while the disabled person was conveniently encased in cement. Now there's hard work worth rewarding!

Social Security has interesting requirements for representative payees: 1. That they have a Social Security card (a real challenge); 2. That Social Security interview the disabled person at the Social Security office —one time; 3. That the payee has never prevously misused Social Security funds.

They don't ask if the payee has abused others, or robbed a 7-11 store — just as long as Security funds were not involved.

This Mouth #75 is brilliant, a work of genius.

Pam Nicholson
Warren, Michigan

My friend Tom Cagle from New Hampshire ADAPT bought me a subscription to Mouth because he says the movement needs people like me. I don't know what I would have to offer other than my big activist mouth. I am a survivor of many wars, an activist for homeless people.

That used to mean dealing with and advocating for people with substance abuse and mental health issues. Now, however, as rents continue to rise, I see more and more physically disabled people who have been put out of their housing by landlord greed. They're people who can't even find accessible apartments to look at. They fill the shelters if they can get up the stairs, shelters where staff doesn't know what 'reasonable accommodation' means, nor do they care.

Your magazine spoke to many places in my heart. Every article reminded me of someone I know in our community, someone who is surviving the best way they can. I am compelled to get more involved though I don't yet know where and how. So thank you. And than Tome for pushing me. Sometimes that's just what a person needs to see over the hill.

Cindy Carlson
Manchester, NH