I am an evangelical Christian who supports marriage equality and gay rights. However, your editorial, “Nation Takes Two More Small Steps for Gay Rights” (Monday, Sept. 21) used some highly inflammatory language (unwittingly, I trust) that plays right into the hands of anti-gay fear-mongers.
Your refrain, “A courthouse is not a church,” and “A bed-and-breakfast is not a church,” threw gasoline on the hysteria that there is a conspiracy to force Christians to keep their faith within the closed doors of their churches. But Christians do not believe a building is the church. The people are the church, 24/7. And the “free exercise” clause of the First Amendment of our Constitution encouraged many abolitionists, suffragettes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Chicago’s own Father Michael Pfleger, and many of the rest of us to take our faith to the streets, wherever we are and whatever we are doing.
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It’s a sacred guarantee for faithful and devout followers of every faith or no faith. But the collision of competing rights can be challenging. When my own faith did not allow me to bear arms against my friends after Dr. King was assassinated, I became the first conscientious objector to be honorably discharged from the Illinois National Guard. County Clerk Kim Davis could take similarly legal paths to resolve her conflict of conscience . . . if she would. In other situations, the courts have to do their best to balance competing rights.
So while I agree with the importance of securing rights for gay people, we all lose if they are secured by keeping religion inside “church” doors.
Dave Jackson, Evanston
There are some stories that are so absurd that you simply cannot make them up. At Stevenson Elementary in Heath, Ohio, an “active shooter protocol” has teachers telling students to throw books at anyone with a gun should they ever make their way into their library or classroom.
Heath City School District officials confirmed that 430 third-through-fifth graders at Stevenson are being trained to use the tactic as a last-line of defense if all else fails should the worst case scenario ever happen. Superintendent Trevor Thomas said, “Our training to staff and students is: we need to get them out of that situation. Everything is about student safety.”
W.F. Middle School principal Princella Holley sent a letter home asking Chambers County, Ala., parents to provide their children with a can of food that could be stockpiled at the school and thrown at a gunman in the event of an attack. And we wonder why our schools have plummeted in national ranking in reading, math, and science. The inmates are running the asylum or should we say, or schools. Given the potential for physical harm and possible death perhaps we should also have book and can free zones. Maybe is not guns and knives; Books and Cans Kill People.
Ray Cziczo, Galena