Letters to the Editor

June 26, 2013

Cover, June 12:
"Summer Guide 2013"

Shock and Mock
The cover of your magazine, Summer Guide 2013, during this very holy time, honoring our city's history, depicted not La Conquistadora, but rather an image of the Virgin clad in a two-piece bathing suit, drinking a margarita. If your intent was to in effect slap Catholics across the face, by putting forth this public depiction of Our Lady as a party girl, during the very week that we honor her as our patroness, then I can only say that from my perspective, you succeeded.

I must voice my outrage and disgust at the decision to depict Our Lady of Guadalupe in such a demeaning manner. I am personally and professionally insulted by the cover. Our Catholic community and others who were offended deserve an apology. I hope the person(s) responsible for this decision take the time to educate themselves about cultural and religious sensitivity issues in our community.

Between the last two weekends, Catholics, and indeed all Santa Feans, celebrated what is the core and essence of the Fiestas de Santa Fe, based on Don Diego de Vargas' promise to Our Lady to hold a novena at the site of Rosario Chapel if the efforts of he and his men found favor in securing a foothold for the faith here in Santa Fe after the Pueblo revolt. Processions of the faithful, led by La Conquistadora and the banners of their parishes and other Church societies walked through the city in pilgrimage from the Cathedral to Rosario Chapel and back, observing Don Diego's promise, and keeping the traditions of our city alive.

I invite the editors and staff of the Santa Fe Reporter to come to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, and see and hear about La Conquistadora, Our Lady of Peace, La Virgen de Guadalupe. You will hear the story of the Mother of Christ, who acceded to God's request and became a symbol for all humanity of the virtues of humility, piety, chastity and purity. She is for me personally someone that I pray to daily. "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." She is for Santa Fe part of our history, and enriches our city's name, "La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís."

I would urge the Reporter not to take Our Lady, who we Catholics venerate and adore, and use her image to shock and mock the faithful and the Catholic faith. Many politicians and faith leaders condemned the efforts by certain faith-based groups as well as certain members of our armed forces to spite, demean and denigrate the religious beliefs of other religions when the burning of the Koran took place some time back. They did the right thing. We must respect the beliefs of others, even though the United States has been at war with those countries that believe fundamentally in those religious texts. They were joined in the condemnations of those who did not respect the religious beliefs of others by a multitude of national, international and other leaders throughout the world.

I wonder whether the Reporter would feel free to depict Mohammed as an alcohol-guzzling, womanizing hedonist? I certainly hope not, not because to do so might be seen as a comppr[om]ise of journalistic expression or free speech, but rather because it too has respect for our diverse cultures and religious beliefs and does not use its powers of the press to insult the faith beliefs of a large segment of its community.

Sincerely in Christ,

Very Rev. Adam Lee Ortega y Ortiz
Rector, Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of AssisI
Pastor, Cristo Rey Parish
Rector, Santo Niño Catholic School

An Insult
I am greatly disappointed at the Santa Fe Reporter in publishing an image that is an insult to what we, as Catholics, hold sacred, and to what we, as Hispanics, hold in great reverence as a symbol not only of our faith, but of our identity as Hispanics.

I am referring to the desecration of the image of our Lady of Guadalupe.
This is not a joke, nor is it funny or taken lightly. What you have done is nothing but another act of bigotry against Catholic Christians, and especially against Hispanics. I am sure you would not dare do something like that to a Muslim icon.

I am ever more convinced that media people like to prey on Christians, and feel it is always open season to ridicule our faith. I demand you make a public apology. This "joke" of yours is not funny at all.

Sincerely in Christ,

Sister Magdalena
Casas-Nava, DLJC

As a practicing Catholic and native New Mexican, I was deeply offended by the depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a bikini, drinking a margarita and wearing sunglasses on the cover of your June 12-18 Reporter.

Northern New Mexico, and in particular Santa Fe, has a significant Catholic population. Many of our celebrations and feast days, dating back to the 1600s, are centered around the Catholic religion. I'm sure that all my fellow Catholics have found your cover to be in very bad taste and offensive to all. If it was an attempt at humor, you failed miserably. I can only assume that the person who made the decision to print the cover is an agnostic or atheist. If so, I respect his or her views. However, that does not give anyone the right to mock a very revered and sacred symbol of the Catholic religion, which happens to be the patroness of the Americas. Shame on you!

Sammy Quintana
Santa Fe

An Affront
I am writing you concerning the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe depicted in a bikini. This is an affront to all Catholics and is a hate crime. I know that you would never allow any depiction of Mohammed in your magazine due to the fact that they would attack you and most likely cause a riot.
But we Catholics are not like that. You owe all Catholics an apology. I have also notified the Catholic League regarding this article.

Thomas E Rondeau

Yes, I thought that with all the furor a couple of years ago about the art using Our Lady of Guadalupe in an irreverent way, that we would all have learned that lesson.

Although I am not a Catholic myself, I certainly know, because of that incident, how sacred her image is to people of that faith.

One of the things shared by Catholics at that time was that Our Lady was often the only thing that helped poor and downtrodden people in Mexico and other places get through the hardships they have to endure. There is much talk of being sensitive toward other groups of people and I imagine the Reporter adheres to this with certain groups.

I would wish that you could expand that respectfulness and understanding to these Catholic peoples who make up such a large part of this state that we reside in.

When I saw the cover, I thought:  "I thought we had all dealt with that a few years ago."  I would very much like to see an apology and a new policy in place so that this never happens again.

Kaye Burr

Editor's note: The intent of our Summer Guide cover design was not to insult or denigrate any religion or ethnicity, but rather to incorporate an important part of Santa Fe's culture into an image that also unites other diverse cultures that flourish in our city. We do, however, appreciate our readers' perspectives on the issue, as we hope they appreciate ours.

The Dirt, June 19: 
"Muddy Hymnal"

Wake Up
Thank you for bringing us the wisdom of Laura Paskus. She informs us, frightens us, and maybe, just maybe, wakes us up.

Susan Wider
Santa Fe

Hard Truths
Laura Paskus is a valuable asset to the Reporter for covering the environmental beat. She is willing to present the facts and speak the hard truths that many in this region prefer to deny or ignore:  that the sprawl of overpopulation, industrialization and the misuse of natural resources exacerbated by global climate change are rapidly making the American Southwest unlivable for humans and other life forms.

Scott Shuker
Santa Fe

Fuzzy Math
Thank you for covering my friend Rosa Weiss' fight against Santa Fe Public Schools [news, June 19: "Tenured"]. Lost in the story of the lawsuit about the district's fuzzy math is the positively atrocious and unethical behavior engaged in by then-Principal Jennifer Sallee and signed off on by former Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez and her minions. Weiss was targeted, plain and simple, and fiction was created to destroy her new and final career—and nobody at 610 Alta Vista [Street] gives a crap, as usual.

Why is Superintendent [Joel] Boyd taking this to appeal? He was supposed to bring fresh energy to the position—instead, he upholds the status quo for an incident to which he had no personal connection. Boyd should do the right thing: admit wrongdoing and conspiracy by his predecessors; fire Sallee, who so egregiously and without cause abused her authority; and most of all, give my friend the settlement she deserves, as judged, literally, by the First District Court.

Donna Every
Former SFPS employee
Frisco, Colo.

Needles to Say
I'm very sorry about Emilia, her husband and all other addicts who are having such a rough time [cover, June 5: "Breaking Good"].

But please, if you would stop throwing your used needles on the streets and in the parks. The health hazard for the rest of us is real.

Perhaps the city could set up some receptacles so addicts could drop off used needles.

PS: The fire department will pick up biohazard, ie needles materials, if you call them.

August River
Santa Fe

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