Letters: Holiday TV; The Bible On Gay Marriage

Talk of the Nation listeners react to shows on Christmas specials. Plus, comments on Lisa Miller's contention that the Bible makes a case for gay marriage, and further discussion of President-elect Barack Obama's racial identity.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your emails and Web comments, and they both poured in after our conversation about the Bible and gay marriage. Lisa Miller wrote a cover essay for Newsweek titled "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage."

Dave emailed from Kansas to respond to a protest outside of Mormon churches by people opposed to California's Proposition Eight. The Mormon Church worked actively to pass the same sex marriage ban. I'm an active Mormon, or, more accurately, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who was frustrated with the misunderstanding of many who make us sound as if we are against the rights of gays and lesbians. The Church has never made any statements opposing any other legal rights of the gay/lesbian community. We believe marriage is between a man and a woman. Any other unions are not marriage but another type of legal union. The legal rights associated with marriage can be legislated in other ways. We are not trying to take away the rights of others. We are only trying to preserve the legal respect for our own religious and moral beliefs.

Another listener, Todd Smiedendorf(ph), emailed from Colorado to complain, it was more than frustrating not to hear the moderate and progressive Christian voices that come from the historic Protestant denominations. The religious case is not new for many us in the United Church of Christ. Our national body has already voted to support marriage equality and to encourage its congregations to consider doing so. It's frustrating to hear self-identified Christians saying things that come from basic ignorance of scientific study and the reality of LGBT Life. Many Christians would not appeal to such shallow arguments.

We also talked about the simmering debate over racial identity and the president-elect. Barack Obama is African-American, but some, including Kimberly Foster(ph) argue he is not black. I find it irritating that President-elect Obama does not describe himself as mulatto or biracial. As a mulatto, I feel as though he's putting me in one boat or the other, is at best, inaccurate, and at worst, bigoted. My Caucasian mother has an equal part in my existence as my black father. It is curious that someone can simply eliminate her from the equation by referring to me as black. With regards to the president-elect, your identity shouldn't be about how others see you, but about how you see yourself. If you have both races in equal measure, you should reflect that. Why should he be black? If you have to identify him by one race, why not white? He's got both in equal measure. That's where the bigotry begins.

Another listener disagreed. Before last month's election, there was no question what race Mister Obama belonged to - black. But now that the unthinkable has happened and a black man has been elected to the presidency of the United States, white people can't accept it. Now, Mr. Obama must be labeled half-white or biracial, anything but black. That note from Dale Armelin(ph) in Denver, Colorado.

And we couldn't get through last week without talking about those well-trod and much loved Christmas television specials - Rudolph, Frosty, the Grinch, even He-Man and Star Wars put on Christmas extravaganzas. But none of them may be so special anymore, argues a listener named Amy. When I was growing up, I waited anxiously to watch the Grinch, Charlie Brown, Rudolph - this was in the '70s, before VCRs and DVDs. Now, children can watch these shows any time of the year. I think something is lost. The anticipation has been replaced with instant gratification.

I suppose you could argue the same about to this show, because if you missed this broadcast or any of our previous programs, you can download the podcast. Go to npr.org and click on Talk of the Nation. If you have comments, questions, or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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