Hate not a value

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2012

To the editor:
In response to previous TDB letters on the subject of religion, the Bible and marriage for gays, I submit my own opinion and life experience.
Having studied the subject for a lifetime, I can tell you that the Bible has been interpreted to support slavery, to condemn homosexuality, and that verses in, for instance, Leviticus admonish us to not wear red, for women not to cut their hair, not to eat pork, for people not to use leather. We cannot cherry pick which verses of the Bible we choose to put up as the word of God.
There are just as many Christian pastors and arguments for the acceptance of all people, no matter race, creed, sexual orientation and it is hard to know that the love of Christianity is sometimes replaced by fury, anger and hatred by people who profess to be sure of what the Bible says.
Watch the documentary called “For the Bible Tells Me So” (www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/index2.htm) with families such as that of House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt.
Another film, God & Gays: Bridging the Gap speaks for itself. Read some of the writings of the retired Episcopal Bishop, a North Carolina native, Bishop John Shelby Spong.
Growing up Christian and finding oneself to be gay, or having a gay son or daughter is an experience, which opens our hearts to the rights of all people.
If you believe that God is in charge of all, then why would he create your child as a defective being, just because s/he loves someone of the same sex?
Love is the true heart of Christianity, and that love is extended to all.
I should know. I was a very religious child, who grew up in a wonderful, church-going family with God at the center of our lives. I was an exchange student through the National Council of Churches for a year in high school, and was a camp counselor and youth director at my church even before college. I was shocked to discover I was gay.
As a senior citizen now, I am very sure that each person is a child of God, deserving of all the same rights as another person, and that extending the right to marriage to same sex couples in no way limits, changes or undermines the marriage of good Christian men and women, or men and women of any faith or sexual orientation.
Do you know that Mr. Cheney’s daughter is a lesbian, that the daughter of Republican former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher is a lesbian, that many gays and lesbians live quietly in Landrum, Tryon, Columbus and all over the country.
If compassion and love are the true values of every religion, I urge those who feel somehow outrageously threatened by the mere legal joining, in a church I might add, of two people who love each other, who have the same values as you, who might, in fact, be your own sons or your own daughters, to understand that offering love, compassion and civil and even religious rights to all people can only empower our American society, not threaten it.
I have spent almost 50 years coming to terms with my own life, seeing the incredible harm done to children, teenagers, adults who find themselves different from the norm. Suicide is a common avenue.
Is this what you would want for your own son; your beautiful little daughter?
I pray for the open hearts of all.
Hate is not a family value.
– Dana Curtin, Landrum

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