Best of the Week
of March 28, 1999


Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of March 28, 1999, as selected by Y? These
postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found in their respective archives, which we invite you to browse. There, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. We encourage you to answer any questions relevant to your demographic background, as well as to ask any provocative question you desire. Answers posted are not necessarily meant to represent the views of an entire demographic group, but can provide a window into the insights of an individual from that group.

First-time users should first make a quick stop at our guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.

Question Code Key:

A=Age

GD=General Diversity

RE=Religion

C=Class

G=Geography

SE=Sensitive Matters

D=Disabilities

O=Occupation

SO=Sexual Orientation

GE=Gender

R=Race/Ethnicity

THE QUESTION:
GE60: I was a topless dancer for a year and quit nearly a year ago. How and when, in a relationship, is it appropriate to reveal this? How do men feel about dating former topless dancers?
POSTED AUG. 4, 1998
J.P., 20, white college girl, San Antonio, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
Never consider a relationship serious unless you are prepared to be totally honest with your partner. You may have negative feelings about your past or how it will be perceived, but your partner may not take it as badly as you suspect. If you want a serious relationship, reveal all the parts of you that you feel are negatives. If he or she is the right person for you, they will be kind and understanding. If not, they are not the right one for you. This is a real part of you and who you are. Don't be ashamed of that.
POSTED MARCH 31, 1999
Ron J., male <
RONJACKSON@worldnet.att.net>, Chino Hills, CA
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THE QUESTION:
GE130: Why don't women who start getting hair on their upper lip - sometimes to the extent that it becomes a true and full mustache - shave it off? I've heard the argument that it will just grow in thicker, but men shave their faces regularly, as do women their legs. Why not their upper lips?
POSTED MARCH 30, 1999
Cliff C., 33, black male <
coles@ieminc.com>, Baton Rouge, LA

ANSWER 1:
I have often wondered this myself. I guess some women think the resulting stubble would be worse than the mustache. Nearly all women have hair on their upper lips. It usually isn't noticeable, although some choose to wax, which totally removes the hair and causes it to grow back more sparsely over time. (It's also painful!) But I've heard shaving doesn't actually make hair grow back thicker; it's an illusion caused by the fact that all the hair is the same length.
POSTED MARCH 31,1999
G. Carrington, female, 28 <
gcarrington2@yahoo.com>, TX

FURTHER NOTICE:
Women who don't shave generally aren't motivated to do so. What purpose would it serve? The basic reason anyone, male or female, shaves or doesn't shave any part of their body is to conform to either their own or culturally imposed esthetics (which vary) and sometimes religious reasons. If it doesn't bother them, why should it bother you? Learn to value diversity!
POSTED APRIL 1, 1999
DykeOnByke, non-shaving woman <
DykeOnByke@aol.com>, Southfield , MI
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THE QUESTION:
SO131: How can some homosexuals call themselves Christians when what they are doing is specifically mentioned in the Bible as an abomination to God?
POSTED MARCH 30, 1999
Robert R., 22, white male, Christian , St. Joseph , MO

ANSWER 1:
One answer would be that they are "Christians" by being followers of Christ's teachings and not "Paulists" by being followers of Paul. Christ never spoke of homosexuality (not once). The supposed references in Corinthians were written by Paul, not Jesus, and reflect Paul's views and prejudices. Many people (including those who hold the opinion you do) interpret the Bible for their own ends - some to exalt themselves at the expense of others. Jesus, I believe, would be appalled at the alarming intolerance displayed by many of his so-called followers today.
POSTED MARCH 31, 1999
Michael, 37, gay white male, relaxed Methodist <
txmichael@worldnet.att.net>, Houston , TX

FURTHER NOTICE:
Homosexuality is mentioned as an abomination to God in the pre-Christian Old Testament. Paul in the New Testament discusses it more as a punishment than a crime. Christ himself never mentioned homosexuality. Therefore, a homosexual has good grounds to argue that he or she is justified in calling him or herself a Christian. And if you want to get technical, only one act is mentioned as an abomination; there are homosexuals who may not perform this act. As a Christian, you should at least become aware of these things.
POSTED MARCH 31, 1999
Ben S., 30 queer Caucasian male <
bscaro@hotmail.com>, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
The Bible is mistranslated in a hundred different ways, and this is one of them. The Bible is talking about pedophilia, plain and simple. The Romans, at that time, had made it a fashion to take a young teen boy as a lover. This is what Paul was talking about. Read the passages a little more carefully. I had this conversation many times at the Christian college I attended to study for the ministry. The biggest problem I saw is that people would not discuss it with a clear head. They hated gays, and their minds were made up. Try not to let this cloud your judgment. A monogomous homosexual is not a sinner.
POSTED MARCH 31, 1999
Jason B., white, straight, 26 <
slingblade@qconline.com>, Quad Cities , IL

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
There is a chapter-long discussion of this in The Good Book by Peter Gomes, a minister connected with Harvard University. That book should be available in many libraries and bookstores. Also note that in Leviticus it is an abomination to eat shellfish.
POSTED MARCH 31, 1999
B. Hale <
halehart@aol.com>, Hartford , CT

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
There are 10 commandments, you know, and I don't recall them being listed in any particular order of severity. Are liars also "abominations"? What about those who don't respect their parents or covet their neighbor's RV? (And how are gays included here, anyway? I suppose they come under the "adultery" clause.) I was taught that when Christ came he wiped out the old laws (from the Old Testament) and brought a new one: Love thy neighbor as thyself and he that believeth and is baptized will be saved. There doesn't seem to be any mention of gays here, or any room for all this human judgment.
POSTED MARCH 31, 1999
A loving woman, St. Paul , MN

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
Amen to all the postings so far. It is also interesting to note that when Jesus speaks about the sins of Sodom (a fundamentalist favorite), he is talking about inhospitality to strangers. Isn't that ironic!
POSTED APRIL 1, 1999
C. Brown, 37, white gay male, Christian <
cjbmli@ix.netcom.com>, Boston , MA

FURTHER NOTICE 6:
Those who know the basics of the Bible know that man was created first, then woman. Any sexual relations, especially through intercourse, are for the union of man and woman, not man and man, or for that matter woman and woman. There are reasons for the gender differences, procreation being primary. Whether Paul wrote the reference, or Jesus specifically said it, it all comes from God. Many people tend to look for any means of justification to make sinful acts in the eyes of God acceptable. I believe you can not practice homosexual acts and still be considered a Christian, living by the teaching laws and commandments of God. Homosexuality has been around for centuries, but that does not make it acceptable. I can love and accept you as a person, but I do not condone the act.
POSTED APRIL 1, 1999
Caddy, 40, Protestant, Lexington , KY

FURTHER NOTICE 7:
The only passage in the Bible that is a direct quote of God is the Ten Commandants; none of which has "unless you're gay" attached to them. Has anyone considered that the reason there is anti-gay, anti-black and anti-female scripture in the Bible is to give us an example of how not to act?
POSTED APRIL 1, 1999
Alma, white Methodist lesbian <
pridewks@seacove.net>, Kempner, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 8:
Like most other sacred texts, the Bible provides us with a social and moral framework within which to conduct our lives. However, much of the Bible is also couched in folklore, superstition, fear and a lack of scientific understanding. I doubt the apostle Paul had any understanding of the concept of sexual orientation; his invective against homosexual acts was directed at the degenerate, pagan cultures of ancient Rome and had nothing to do with loving, nurturing relationships. Similarly, the various codes of diet, personal hygiene and social conduct listed in Leviticus may have contributed to cultural cohesion in tribal Israel, but they have little meaning in today's modern world. The practice of tattooing is forbidden in Leviticus; yet how many Christians do you know who have tattoos?
POSTED APRIL 1, 1999
Chuck A., 39, gay, Catholic male <
PolishBear@aol.com>, Spring Hill , WV

FURTHER NOTICE 9:
As I recall, the context of the original language in the Old Testament placed as much emphasis on homosexuality as eating non-kosher food. The words used to describe the behavior were exactly the same. However, the translation from the original language into Greek, Latin, English, etc. resulted in a differentiation between acts of similar distaste. So unless you are willing to begin demonizing people who eat pork, you might want to reconsider your justification for your prejudice.
POSTED APRIL 1, 1999
John K., 25 <
the-macs@geocities.com>, Cranford , NJ

FURTHER NOTICE 10:
So many folks read the Bible with a pre-existing notion of what they will find there. Some folks erroneously call gay people "Sodomites." In the books of Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Amos, Zephania, Luke, and 2nd Peter, The Sin Of Sodom is listed as Idolatry, Murder, Greed, Theft, Rebellion, Coveness, Mistreating the poor, Oppressing the poor, Arrogance, Adultery, Pride, Cruelty and failure to care for the young and poor. The two times when Jesus mentioned Sodom, it was in reference to the sin of inhospitality to strangers. The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision.
POSTED APRIL 1, 1999
Pastor Jim, 45, white heterosexual guy <
pastorbilbrey@angelfire.com>, Columbus, IN

FURTHER NOTICE 11:
The Bible contains many verses that no one even tries to follow, but many people latch onto the verses that seem to condemn gays. After all, why not condemn something that they aren't? It makes them feel better to say, "Look at those evil people over there. I'm not one of them." Actually, we can find many verses that condemn everyone else. But Jesus is about love, not condemnation or laws. I deal with these issues in great detail in my Reactions To Homophobia essay, taking on the specific verses used against gays, as well as ones that can be used against everyone else. For further information, access http://members.tripod.com/~DuaneSimolke/react.html
POSTED APRIL 1, 1999
Duane Simolke, Ph.D., 33, mixed race (mostly white), male, author,
The Acorn Stories, <dsphd@hotmail.com>, Lubbock , TX
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THE QUESTION:
R640: I noticed the creator of Y? Forum is a white male, and that there is a plea for donations to keep the site up and running. I have several questions: 1) Why do people responding to questions think they have the authority to answer ethnic-related questions when they haven't lived in the shoes of other ethnic backgrounds. 2) Why is it that Caucasian people feel black people are lazy or don't want to work, when in actuality we basically built this country on our own blood, sweat and tears? Is it OK for white males to run scams on the Internet or do high-tech crimes to make their living? I guess Anglo America feels this is a form of work - to rip people off any way they can. White men are always running business scams in every way possible, but no one makes a big issue about it.

POSTED MARCH 29, 1999
African American <
de_lightful1@hotmail.com>, New York, NY

ANSWER 1:
There are a lot of questions in here, but I will try to give some of them a shot. First, although there are some instances of clearly unqualified people posting answers to ethnic questions on this forum, the moderator keeps reasonably good control and it does not seem to happen too much. Second, I am sure there are white people, some of whom actually are Caucasian, who think black/Hispanic/American Indian/whatever people are lazy and do not want to work, but by no means is it all white people or all Caucasians. Stereotypes go both directions and are usually wrong in both directions.

I can't speak for how the original questioner built this country with his (or his ancestors') blood, sweat and tears, but I can comment that at the same time that his ancestors were slaves in this country, mine (actual Caucasians from Caucasus) were serfs in Czarist Russia, which amounts to almost exactly the same thing. It is a misconception to think African Americans are the only people who have a history of oppression. Nearly every ethnic group in the world has had their time; it is just that blacks have the most current history of oppression in this country.

Finally, I fail to see how this site is a scam. A scam involves a false promise of financial return, services, products or some other deception. No one is promising anything of the sort from this site. This forum claims to be nothing more than a place for people to ask sometimes difficult questions and have a reasonable expectation of getting a thoughtful answer without being accused of racism, sexism, ageism or any other 'ism'.
POSTED MARCH 30, 1999
Randy S., white male, atheist, Atlanta, GA

FURTHER NOTICE:
I'm trying to decide if you're just venting anger or really want answers to your questions. When I answer a question put to a culture different from mine, I'm expressing empathy. Without empathy, we cannot build cross-cultural bridges. If I cannot make the effort to cross that bridge, then I am confined to make decisions based on stereotypes I have seen and heard about that culture from others. If I as a minority will not allow others to cross that bridge, I am branded with the stereotype that intolerant thinking fosters. Only when someone makes the effort to look at life through my eyes can they question their own previous stereotypes about me.
POSTED MARCH 30, 1999
Alma, white lesbian <
pridewks@seacove.net>, Kempner , TX

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
1) R627 asked about blacks being able to dance. After reading the responses, I wanted to explain how white culture encourages sports for boys and dance/music for girls, and that there is pressure not to cross boundaries. By adding that, I was trying to put it in context. It is an interesting point, though, and I would like to hear what others have to say.

2) Here, you lose me. You begin with a prejudicial statement ("Why do Caucasians feel blacks are lazy or don't want to work"), and then call Y? Forum a scam. A scam is when someone tries to cheat you out of money without delivering anything. Does this sound like Y? To have a web site, you have to buy a server or pay for a remote server sit, write HTML or Java, pay for the electricity to run the server, fix the server if it is having problems, srt through the responses, etc. The donations are to cover expenses. If there is a profit made for providing people the opportunity to cross barriers and communicate, then good for him. If you have an issue with it, don't make a donation. Sounds like sour grapes to me. I'm amazed how often I hear the creator of the site attacked, when his crime was trying to bring people together through communication and understanding.
POSTED MARCH 30, 1999
Craig, gay white male, 35 <
cmorris@loft.org>, Minneapolis , MN

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
I would like to know what motivates the director of Y? to post messages like this. Is it the need for comfort and reassurance? Martyrdom? Masochism? White guilt? To be honest, I'd guess a combination of A and D, because I honestly don't believe this post would ever have seen the light of day if it was a white person saying "I see this forum is run by some sort of liberal, PC, bearded hippie communist! Which is no surprise! Where do all those blacks and minorities get off passing judgment on white people all the time? Why do they think whites are racist when the civil rights movement could never have made any headway without support from the white majority? Why do they expect us to support equality for them when black scholars spend all their time trying to destroy the reputation of any white person who ever did anything for their causes? The truth is, the majority of crime against black people are done by black people - hell, it beats working! Speaking of which, I see you expect donations for running this commie site. Isn't that just like a liberal to expect to mooch a handout from my hard-earned money! I work for a living, pinko! Get a shave!"

And before those of you with no sense of humor scream at me, the previous was simply a parody of the original post, not my opinion.
POSTED MARCH 31, 1999
Colette, 33, white female <
inkwolf@earthlink.net>, Seymour, WI
From the Director: From time to time, submittals critical of the methodology of Y? are posted, generally those that raise the issue of how users interact with each other. This is done in the interest of promoting further discussion and obtaining feedback on our efforts - positive or critical.

FURTHER NOTICE 4
I know not all black people are lazy, but in my experience, my daughter had a child with a black man at 18. In six years he has contributed $200 to the child's welfare. He doesn't work, but he does deal drugs for money. Then my daughter married another black man who had three children. He hasn't worked since they were married and lets her support him. Again, no support for his children.

I have no problem with black people unless they have a chip on their shoulder and think that since their slave ancestors helped build this country that they should get a free ride. All of my ancestors came here after slavery was abolished, so I feel I owe them nothing. I work with several black men who chose to go to school and make a life for themselves and are very fine, upstanding people. I also believe that white men who choose to quit school and whine about no opportunities are lazy. It's not the color that brings on the prejudice, it's the lack of drive.
POSTED APRIL 1, 1999
Tom, 50, white male, Brazoria, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
I have to wonder what prompted these questions. I find this site allows people to exchange ideas, and even though I am Caucasian, I try to try to keep in touch with the thinking of other ethnic groups and how others think of those same groups. It is a matter of curiosity in a number of ways, but I also feel this site allows me a different perspective than I could ever get anywhere else. I believe that you should maybe step back a little and try to see this site for what it is. I also think you should step back and try to judge each person for their character. As for your first question, no one ever portrays themself as an expert on another ethnic group; they merely state their opinion. It is up to you whether you believe their statements to be true or false. You are welcome to submit your comments to anything you do not agree with.
POSTED APRIL 1, 1999
Stacia, female <
sljbuttercup@yahoo.com>, WI
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THE QUESTION:
O47: I have quite a few health problems and visit doctors' offices frequently, and I am finding less and less personal attention from the doctors. I suffered with a painful distended abdomen for three months while doctors simply told me the pain was in my head instead of listening to my symptoms. Why does it take visiting numerous offices and dishing out mega bucks to find a doctor who will listen to you as a patient and person?
(Director's note: Y? would be interested in hearing responses from doctors.)
POSTED MARCH 29, 1999
27-year-old female suffering from Crohn's Disease, Erie, PA
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THE QUESTION:
GD66: What are the opinions of people who do not ride motorcycles of the people who do ride them (i.e. Harleys or sports bikes, Ninja style, etc.)? Is there a stereotype or preconceived notion of what these people are like, and of the different types of riders, such as Harley riders vs. Ninja-style riders?

POSTED MARCH 29, 1999
Deb, 39, white female, married with children <
debrag@clemson.edu>, Pelzer, SC

ANSWER 1:
I am a non-motorcycle rider and must admit I probably do have an incorrect stereotype of Harley riders. For the most part, I see them as lower-class individuals, or I guess dirty people. It seems like I see so many Harley riders who are just plain scummy looking. I realize this is not right, and I need to void that stereotype from my head. I have met some Harley riders who were very nice people, and they were also wealthy people. These types of Harley riders disprove my stereotype. On the other hand, I look at people with Ninjas and other crotch rockets as cool people. I have driven a Honda 200 and really liked it. These bikes are also not as noisy as Harleys. I am working on trying to erase those stereotypes from my head because I realize they are not always correct.
POSTED MARCH 30, 1999
Robert R., 22, male, St. Joseph , MO

FURTHER NOTICE:
The stereotype that comes to my mind when I think of Ninja motorcycle riders is of jocks and frat boys. Around here at least, this is not necessarily just a stereotype but rather those are the people I see riding those types of motorcycles. I used to think of Harley riders as just Hells Angels on two wheels. In the last 10 years, though, Harleys have become trendy enough that they're ridden by serious biker types and rich corporate weekend warriors. My question to Harley owners: Do your cycles have to be so loud? I'm tired of having to plug my ears when one drives by me on the street. Or even if I'm driving with the windows down and one passes me, often they're so loud they hurt. What's the purpose of this? Do they not come with mufflers? Or do you feel more powerful when you're louder than everyone else on the road? It's not just older Harleys, either. I've seen brand new machines that could shatter glass.
POSTED MARCH 30, 1999
Brian <
killykill@geocities.com>, Minneapolis , MN

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
Bikers are non-conforming, risk-taking attention-seekers. I associate them with tattoos and cigarette smoking. Ninjas are rocket-sleds for extreme risk-takers.
POSTED MARCH 30, 1999
B. Hale, hog-free <
halehart@aol.com>, Hartford, CT

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
I threw this question out to a fast-lunch (they rarely get one) crowd in the ER. Harley riders were described as everything from unemployed Vietnam vets to a $150,000-a-year urologist (and yes, we have one). But when it came to the Ninja bikes, there was a unanimous description; "Not a motorcycle, it's a donor-cycle." Personally, I'd love to have a Harley if I could afford it. The Harley owners I know are very meticulous and detail-oriented. But the Ninjas, umm, no thank you, I don't need a crotch-rocket.
POSTED APRIL 1, 1999
Alma, white lesbian <
pridewks@seacove.net>, Kempner , TX
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THE QUESTION:
GD65: To smokers: Why do you inflict your smoke on other people in public places such as malls, restaurants, bus stops, etc.? I don't like breathing cigarette smoke, but it seems like I don't have a choice sometimes.
POSTED MARCH 26, 1999
C.P., 21, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

ANSWER 1:
I don't think anyone is doing this to you intentionally. What happens sometimes, especially in restaurants in resort areas, is that non-smokers will prefer to eat/drink outdoors, which effectively puts them in the smoking section. I go out of my way not to smoke near anyone who is eating or has food on the way, even in the smoking section, as this is common courtesy. However, I am always surprised to see people seat themselves a seat or two away from me while I'm smoking when there are other seats available farther from me, and then get upset by the smoke. I honestly don't know the answer to the bus stop question, but it is against the law to smoke in malls here. I think the problem you wrote about is a lack of consideration on the part of some smokers, but there are those of us who do respect your right to breathe clean air and are trying to keep our distance. And remember that smoking is a bad habit, but not a character flaw.
POSTED MARCH 29, 1999
Randy, smoker, male, Key West, FL

FURTHER NOTICE:
As an ex-smoker I can assure you I never intended to "inflict" my smoke on anyone, any more than you consciously intend to "inflict" me with poisonous exhaust fumes while driving your car. I can understand some people being offended, and would ask that smokers be more courteous to those around them. On the other hand, to all of you non-smokers, I would say, lighten up already!
POSTED MARCH 29, 1999
Greg P., male, Rock Island, IL

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
Here in Minnesota, smoking is prohibited in public buildings such as malls. In general, this is strongly enforced. I'm not sure what the situation is where you live. Restaurents have smoking and non-smoking sections, so unless you sit on the border I don't know why there would be a problem. Finally, I smoke, but I am not going to feel guilty about smoking outside while I wait for a bus. I am very considerate of others' discomfort of cigarette smoke. If I see that my smoke is blowing in someone's face, usually I'll move. Why punish all smokers because of a few inconsiderate ones?
POSTED MARCH 29, 1999
Brian, male <
Hellcityhell@yahoo.com>, Minneapolis, MN

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
I'd like to add a question: Why do smokers not only feel they have to blow their smoke in other people's faces, but that they also have to do it in places it is not allowed that we non-smokers specifically go to so we can get away from a smokey environment? The prime example would be when I go to a night club where smoking is not allowed, and there is still a large majority of people there who light up and sneak smokes whenever they can't be spotted by staff or security. I will be sitting right next to them and they will light up and blow it in my face, and if I were to complain they would get all snotty with me. I have asthma and really do not appreciate having to deal with wheezing when I go out for a night of fun.
POSTED MARCH 29, 1999
D. Meerkat, white, male, 26, Vancouver British Columbia, Canada

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
I've been smoking for five years and am completely addicted. I don't smoke at malls (it's been against the rules at most of the malls around here for a couple of years) but I do smoke at restaurants (in the smoking section only), and I used to at bus stops. I don't necessarily like making others breathe that smoke, but my craving for a cigarette usually overrides my usual politeness. Also, I've always seen people do those things, so I figured it was all right (poor reasoning, I know) and I didn't mind when I was a non-smoker (I know, I know, my opinion doesn't represent everyone's). I've probably smoked thousands of cigarettes in public, and no one has ever asked me to move away or put it out. They haven't so much as coughed - some well-mannered people! If anyone indicated discomfort or annoyance, I would not mind putting the cigarette out or going elesewhere to smoke. I'm just glad I have the choice. Wouldn't laws prohibiting smoking at outdoor bus stops be scary?
POSTED MARCH 29, 1999
S.R., white female, 21, Austin, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
I don't smoke but it bothers me that smokers have become pariahs for the political gain of certain elected officials. If you are berating individual smokers for lighting up in areas set aside for non-smokers, then you have my blessing; but the trend in public policy I see, and the tone of your question suggests, that there should be no smoking allowed in any public place. This I cannot accept. By lighting up in public, smokers expose others to second-hand smoke, which can be unpleasant and even with sufficient exposure unhealthy. But in the PC-mandated frenzy to condemn smokers, let us not forget that the same could be said about habits practiced by everybody everyday. Have you ever gone out in public with a cold or the flu? While one person smoking one cigarette is unlikely to have any serious health effect on those around him, an ill-timed sneeze could be deadly to someone around you with a weakened immune system. Have you ever driven a car? I'm sure the guy behind you with his defoggers on wasn't crazy about sucking up your car's exhaust.

The point is that we all have to live and work together in modern society, and that means finding reasonable and practical ways to accommodate the needs of all people. If malls or restaraunts want to cater to smokers by providing smoking areas, is it really such an imposition for you to avoid these areas when possible or tolerate them when not?
POSTED MARCH 29, 1999
Mark, 32, white, married male, Alexandria, VA

FURTHER NOTICE 6:
To add to this question: Why do smokers seem to think throwing their cigarettes (usually lit) out of their car window is OK, but throwing trash out is littering? Don't you realize this is also littering, not to mention dangerous to motorcyclists?
POSTED MARCH 29, 1999
D.R.E., Fairfax , VA

FURTHER NOTICE 7:
Believe it or not, some smokers consider tobacco a pleasant odor and do not easily understand why some people find it so offensive. Personally, I object to most people's perfumes and other weird scents, but I deal with it.
POSTED MARCH 31, 1999
Kiki, St. Paul, MN
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THE QUESTION:
RE148: Do Christians think it's OK to study karate and other martial arts, even though they're so rooted in non-Christian, Eastern religions?
POSTED MARCH 26, 1999
Norma S., female, Amarillo, TX

ANSWER 1:
I was raised Catholic and am now a black belt. The Martial Arts are not based in other religions. Not once did my Sensei talk about Shintoism or any other Eastern religion. I did learn quite a bit of Japanese, and I did learn about the Japanese culture, but religion was never brought into the dojo.
POSTED MARCH 29, 1999
Leah, 27, female, Erie, PA

FURTHER NOTICE:
Yoga, karate, jujitsu, acupuncture and many other aspects of Eastern culture have come to the West and brought much good. But each idea is built on teachings, or assumptions that are not be visible at first glance. Personally, I could see what each of these defenses has to offer, but I need to keep in mind that everything we do has a spiritual base (whether we eat or whether we fast, whether we live or whether we die, we do so unto the Lord). I have friends who like to do yoga, but there will be a point at which they will have to say, "I enjoy the physical aspect of this, but I don't subscribe to the underlying teachings (philosophy) associated with it."
POSTED MARCH 29, 1999
Ronald V., 46, male, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
As a Christian I do see problems with practicing Martial Arts that focus on meditation, idols or certain powers, and/or that are meant to control people. Meditation on anything but God is thought of as opening your mind to the wrong thing. Believing you can tap into certain powers or strength by believing in a certain aspect of Martial Arts is thought of as worshiping an idol and goes against the 10 Commandments. Trying to control or overpower another person goes against the Golden Rule, which is also in the Bible. It is good to practice Martial Arts, though, if it is used only for self-defense or for enjoyment and does not do any of the above mentioned items.
POSTED MARCH 29, 1999
Jerrid F., 25, Bowling Green, OH
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