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WWJD?

I never will cease to wonder why churches involved in these types of scandals ("Breaking Faith," feature story, Nov. 2) rush to protect their own reputations and criminals who molest children rather than the innocent victims and people who stand up for them. Surely it's not what Jesus would do.

Carrie McClure
Charleston

OF BOUNDARIES AND BRAINWASHING

Thank you so much for having the courage to run the article "Breaking Faith." Such articles are needed to call attention to the deeply embedded collusion that occurs within the culture of the Episcopal Church as well as in other denominations. To require or request someone to "come under the authority" of anyone in a church is psychological abuse and/or a form of brainwashing. To protect a predator while harassing and making a mockery of people who call for accountability of clergy is unethical, immoral, and criminal. This article exposes the truth, which I am well aware of because I have served as the advocate for some of the named victims. There are countless adults and children across the country who have suffered in silence because of the type of behavior expressed in this article. When clergy learn about boundary violations and accept accountability for their actions and inactions, then perhaps healing can begin. It is the silence of the bystander that hurts the victim the most. I know this well because I have been victimized and exploited within the Episcopal Church, and have suffered through the pain of the church turning its collective back on me -- with no apology.

Catherine Fairbanks
Raleigh, N.C.

WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT?

I am so appreciative of your publication of the story on Holy Trinity Church. I can only assure you that the experiences that my family had there with Mack Swafford and the lack of support of the church are very accurately expressed in this article. I was particularly interested in the reaction of Bishop Salmon. When my son went to the church, I made an appointment with Bishop Skilton when he was at St. Thomas Episcopal in North Charleston. I talked to him at length about what was going on and the allegations, and at no time were we encouraged to go to the authorities. The vestry at Holy Trinity insisted that they would handle it, and there was no counseling for Charlie. I feel now as I felt then, that there was no support from the church for the victims and, in fact, we were told to keep it to ourselves and not let other church members be aware of the problem. I particularly felt let down by Bishop Skilton because, at one time, when he was the priest in charge at Holy Trinity, my children were very close to "Father" Bill.

I am sure that there were other incidents with Mack Swafford that never came to light, but at least now there has been publicity, and maybe parents will be more aware and more careful with what they feel are "safe" havens for their children. From what I have learned, pedophilia is not something that ever goes away and this whole incident was grossly mishandled by Holy Trinity, and it continues to be contained by both Bishops Salmon and Skilton. I felt at the time that the friendship between Bishop Skilton and Mack Swafford was of more value to him than the well being of the young men involved. It was a complete cover up and it has destroyed the value of the Episcopal Church as a whole for my children and myself!

Thank you again for your publication!

Betty Hayes
Newport news, va.

Columnist Will Moredock wrote in the Oct. 26 issue ("Coming Down the Road," The Good Fight, Views) that Charleston needs to be worried about a potential invasion of motorcyclists from rallies in Myrtle Beach. Here are a few reactions to his opinions:

BRAINY BIKER

You don't need to worry about bikers coming to Charleston, we are already here.

I have proposed to our local HOG (Harley Owners Group) Chapter and to ABATE of South Carolina (motorcycle rights group) that we as citizens of this area start riding the streets at night to help make more of a visible presence, maybe helping to stop the mugging of college students in downtown Charleston. Have you heard of any of these muggers making their retreat on a motorcycle? What are you proposing to do about mugging downtown? Bikers are professionals -- doctors, lawyers, CEOs, CIOs, and technically-degreed.

You could say we are "Your Worst Nightmare, A Biker with Brains!"

Jerry D. Oswald
Charleston

IDIOT, WHINER

I find it incredulous that a paper that touts itself as the pillar of acceptance would print the drivel that Will Moredock writes concerning the biker community! If he were to replace the word "biker" with gays, Jews, blacks, or even tourists (which is what a lot of the bikers are), his nonsense wouldn't be tolerated in this city. He is against everything that he doesn't understand, just as much so as the bigots that he rants about. Perhaps he should move to a much smaller, quieter town rather than attempting to thrust his one-sided, biased views on Charleston. What an idiot and whiner!

Michael Hodge
Goose Creek

WILD ONE STEREOTYPE RIDICULOUS

Frankly, Charleston and Myrtle Beach should welcome the invasion. For two areas that rely so heavily on tourist dollars, both places seem to be full of very closed-minded people, and people still stuck in the '60s, as far as bikers go. It's the 21st century, folks. That biker movie you saw in 1971 was just that, a movie. In today's world, a motorcycle costs, on average, $15,000-$20,000, and some as high as $100,000 or more. Most American bikers nowadays have another $5,000 in custom stuff on their motorcycles. The average owner is over 40 and upper middle class: these are not the nomads that you see in the '60s biker rip-off films. They spend money, and lots of it! The economic boom is such that 20 years ago there were four major rallies -- Laconia, N.H., Sturgis S.D., Daytona, Fla., and Myrtle Beach. But now, every state has some form of rally because the smart politicians have found this hidden gold mine called bikers. I ride around South Carolina and this state is so poor it could use an influx of cash. I could take any depressed town in the state and turn it into a boomtown by starting a rally as long as there is full support of the town.

As for partying bikers and up all night, I've been to places that hold national conventions of all sorts and a national doctors convention, or a Shriners convention is full of rowdy parties and, frankly, a lot more trouble than the bikers. Most bikers bring their wives with and sometime whole families ride together. Most of the other conventions attract hookers because the wives are left at home. When a survey was sent out -- not unlike the one in Myrtle Beach -- asking whether Daytona folks would rather have Spring Breakers or bikers, it was 3 to 1 in favor of the bikers. When asked whether they would rather have NASCAR fans or bikers, the result was a surprising 4 to 1 in favor of the bikers. Most comments said bikers were less rowdy, more polite, and more tolerant of traffic issues. In an area that frankly looks like it's going broke with all the trash in the center lanes of roads and not enough roads for the growth, a big shot in the arm of biker money seems like a good idea to me. Support the rallies and they will support you, it's time to dump the people who have been in office since the '60s (hi, Joe), and get a new breed of 21st century thinkers in there, not negative "ohh, not in my town" thinkers

Just my opinion.

Bruce Cory
Chapter Director, AMA Retreads
Ladson

[Mr. Cory works at Lowcountry Harley-Davidson. --Ed.]

ONE GOOD APPLE

I'm a wife of a biker and not a hardcore biker. We do not do drugs, nor drink, but to end the rallies? Think about all the revenue all of you lose. We only come there for a vacation ... we are not all bad. As the saying goes, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch; you can not categorize all of us together -- we're not the same people. We love to ride our Harley into Myrtle Beach without the riff-raff ... and I'm ashamed at the few that ruin it for the rest of us. We are law abiding citizens; we pay our taxes and we live in America. ... It hurts me so to see what is happening to the government and our world. Please support us in our fight here in the inside.

Sign on and go to www.fastfreds.com; he will help you understand more.

Patricia King
Aiken County ABATE

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Letters to the editor are welcome and encouraged. Please include name, address, and daytime phone number for verification purposes. Limit yourself to 300 words or less; letters may be edited for space and clarity.

1049 Morrison Drive Charleston SC 29403Fax: 576-0380 • editor@charlestoncitypaper.com

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