To the editor:
I am writing to express gratitude to Rev. Paula Ashby, Trinity United Church minister, for her deeply loving response to the attack on our LGBTQ+ community in the July 4 edition of the Creston Valley Advance. Her dismay at the “Bible being used to propagate hatred of fellow human beings,” and her discussion of that statement raises Christianity up from its long and dark history of persecution of “the other” (aboriginal peoples and the LBGTQ+ community, amongst others). I understand that the United Church prides itself on being as open and as welcoming as Jesus was, regardless of age, race, class, gender, orientation, or physical ability. Rev. Ashby, in her letter and in her community work, has shown herself to be an exemplary champion of that United Church tenet.
The kind of hateful speech in Mr. Lemky’s letter, backed up by those biblical quotes, creates extreme division among people and threatens our human rights protection and the rule of law. If left unaddressed and ignored as, “Oh, he’s just a nut case,” it can give permission for physical assault to people who share Mr. Lemky’s opinion. I don’t know how “hate speech” is defined in law, or even if it is. But I definitely want to know how the Creston Valley Advance decides what words I have to wake up to in the morning. And surely, if the research that links hateful speech to violence is true (Google: “hate speech and violence”) our local newspaper could best serve the community by choosing not to publish such dangerous rhetoric, even if, or maybe — especially if — words that were written long before Jesus lived are attributed to him. Whatever happened to fact checking?
I have a choice here. I can view Mr. Lemky’s letter as the mad ravings of a fundamentalist Christian and react with matching rage or I can look closer and get curious about Mr. Lemky as an individual who has locked himself into this hateful state. What suffering has pushed this man into such a bitter and condemnatory view? It is futile to speculate, but it helps to know that suffering underlies aggression. When I remember that, compassion, the natural human reaction to suffering, arises in me, along with a deep wish that Mr. Lemky would get a grip on himself and his words, drop his deluded views and desist from his torturous ravings.
Kuya Minogue | Soto Zen Priest | Silent Thunder Order
The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Creston Valley Advance. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.