aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Tolls & congestion
For about eight months, drivers in 275 Seattle-area households agreed to pay for something the rest of us get for free: The right to drive on the region’s freeways and streets.
They were guinea pigs in a pioneering study that explored how motorists’ behavior might change if they had to pay tolls - not just on a few bridges or highways, but on almost every road with a yellow center line.
Researchers established virtual tolls ranging from a nickel to 50 cents a mile. They gave participants pre-paid accounts of between $600 and $3,000, and told them they could keep whatever the tolls didn’t eat up.
The experiment ended in February. Preliminary results, released this month, suggest that if such so-called “road pricing” were widespread, it could make a significant dent in traffic.
But don’t expect to start paying to commute down Interstate 5 or Aurora Avenue anytime soon.
Transportation policymakers are intrigued by the study, but they say there still are too many questions and too little experience with tolls in the Seattle area to adopt them across the entire road network. And the public isn’t ready for such a radical plan, they add.
“The politics of that is just too tough,” said Richard Ford, chairman of the state Transportation Commission.
It is striking to me that there is so little discussion of solutions to our congestion problems relative to the scale of what we face. I’m watching and wondering when that will change.
Reading the Bible the gay-friendly way
Trying to rebut this view is a movement led by people who are both gay and Christian who say that the Bible is on their side.
In the battle over gay rights and same-sex marriage, those who oppose both often cite Biblical passages which, they believe, clearly state that homosexuality is wrong.
“Most people think that the attitude of gay Christians is, ‘Who cares what the Bible says?’ when in reality, we care deeply what the Bible says,” said the Rev. Jeff Miner , pastor of the Jesus Metropolitan Community Church , a gay-friendly congregation in Indianapolis. He led a forum on the topic last weekend at Arlington Street Church. “We think there are a lot of powerful, affirming things that are in the Bible that have been ignored.”
Those affirming messages were detailed by Miner and forum co-leader John Tyler Connoley in their 2002 book, “The Children are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships.” The book served as the text for the forum, sponsored by an array of gay-friendly local church groups, which drew about 200 people.
Most of the forum was devoted to passages that the authors say treat homosexuals and heterosexuals equally. In the Old Testament, claim the authors, Ruth’s covenant with Naomi, which includes the memorable phrase, “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live,” actually refers to a committed same-sex relationship. They also offered a different interpretation of a story that appears in both Matthew and Luke, in which a centurion asks Jesus to heal a man who is typically identified—misidentified, says Miner—as the centurion’s servant.
“That story’s often preached about in straight churches,” said Miner, but “nobody bothers to mention that the Greek word used to describe the sick man is the word used in the ancient world to describe your same-sex partner.”