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Sunday, September 4, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Hurricane reference offends Dodge City

DODGE CITY, Kan. — Leaders of the once-wild cattle town of Dodge City are calling for an apology after the New York Post invoked the community's name to describe post-hurricane New Orleans.

The headline in Friday's paper read: "Dodge City. Rape and anarchy in New Orleans."

Ford County Clerk Vicki Wells said she was disgusted after a reporter pointed out the headline. "The implication that Dodge City would treat its citizens in that way is disgraceful," she said. "Dodge City has a reputation from history of being a wild Western town, but Dodge City and Ford County are no longer like that."

Also offended was Dodge City Commissioner Jim Sherer, who wrote an e-mail to the newspaper calling for an apology on behalf of the city. "Our hearts have gone out to those people in New Orleans," he said. "And I just felt like it was kind of a slap in the face."

Post spokesman Howard Rubenstein said the newspaper's editors told him they had not meant to offend Dodge City and thought it was clear the story referred to the chaos in New Orleans. "It was a reference to American folklore, where at one time Dodge City had that reputation," he said. "But it certainly does not have that reputation now."

Abortion foe sees

wrath of God

WASHINGTON — Steve Lefemine, a Columbia, S.C., anti-abortion activist, was looking at a color satellite map of Hurricane Katrina when something in the swirls jumped out at him: the image of an 8-week-old fetus.

"In my belief, God judged New Orleans for the sin of shedding innocent blood through abortion," said Lefemine, who e-mailed the weather map to activists and put a message on the answering machine of his organization, Columbia Christians for Life.

"Providence punishes national sins by national calamities," it said. "Greater divine judgment is coming upon America unless we repent of the national sin of abortion."

Lefemine isn't the only person to see the wrath of God in the damage Katrina inflicted on the Gulf Coast.

"It is almost certain that this is a wind of torment and evil that Allah has sent to this American empire," a Kuwaiti official, Muhammad Yousef Mlaifi, wrote Wednesday in the Arabic daily Al-Siyassa under the headline "The Terrorist Katrina is One of the Soldiers of Allah ... "

In Philadelphia, Michael Marcavage saw no coincidence, either, in the hurricane's arrival just as gays and lesbians were to participate in a New Orleans street festival called "Southern Decadence."

"We take no joy in the death of innocent people," said Marcavage, who runs Repent America, an evangelistic organization. "But we believe that God is in control of the weather. The day Bourbon Street and the French Quarter was flooded was the day that 125,000 homosexuals were going to be celebrating sin in the streets. ... We're calling it an act of God."

The Rev. Jerry Falwell and the Rev. Pat Robertson, criticized for suggesting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were divine retribution for abortion, homosexuality, feminism and the proliferation of liberal groups, have been silent on Katrina.

Black churches

are offering aid

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Pastors of black churches and other leaders, unhappy with federal relief efforts, are turning to their congregations and others to provide help for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

"We were disturbed the president moved too slowly, that FEMA looked too disorganized," Michael Grant of the Nashville NAACP said at a news conference at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church.

A group of 30 pastors of black churches met at the church Friday to plan ways to help storm victims.

The Rev. George Brooks Sr. of St. James Baptist Church said a tractor-trailer of emergency supplies was being sent tomorrow to Lake Charles, La., to a National Baptist Convention of America aid-distribution center.

In addition, pastors are donating a portion of their salaries to pay colleagues in the storm areas whose congregations cannot meet for services, he said.

McChord airmen

assist in evacuation

TACOMA — Airmen from McChord Air Force Base yesterday helped evacuate 164 victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The victims were flown in a C-17 Globemaster III from New Orleans to Austin, Texas, by the 728th Airlift Squadron.

The unit also was responsible for bringing supplies to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, where officials have turned a terminal into a triage unit to treat thousands there.

Also

Professional golfer Greg Norman donated his private helicopter for use in Katrina recovery operations. Norman's Hobe Sound, Fla., home was damaged during hurricanes Frances and Jeanne a year ago.

Compiled from The Associated Press, The Washington Post and The News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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