People need to look outside their own box to grow

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Editor, The News Herald:

In response to &uot;Dissatisfied with conference’s direction&uot; by Mary Grace Garner-Atkins.

I ask who are we to deny persons in the United States any basic rights or privileges just because we do not understand them or they do not believe the way we do. Have we not seen this time and time again throughout history, not just worldwide but even here in our own country? Did the English, French, Spanish and many other countries land on this country’s shores and &uot;claim&uot; land in the names of their kings and queens from the &uot;natives&uot; just because they could. They were forced to move hundreds and thousands of miles, change their ways of life, and persecuted and murdered for being &uot;savages&uot; because we thought our way was better. Did these same countries not fill ships with black men, women, and children from the shores of Africa and transport them here for their settlers to use as cheap labor, because their way of life in Africa was so &uot;savage&uot; and our way is so much better. So we treated them like less than human and subjected them to years and decades of ridicule, persecution, and inequality, because they were not like us and therefore could not be as &uot;good&uot; as us. Did an extermination of millions of persons not occur in Germany, Poland, Russia and many other countries during the 1930’s and 1940’s because namely one person believed that a certain ethnic/religious group was &uot;not as good&uot;?

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You may say well &uot;these&uot; persons (those involved in same sex relationships) choose to be the way they are….I ask you this, and think long and hard about this. Did you choose your hair color, eye color, skin complexion, height, mother, father, or any of the physical or mental attributes, characteristics, or ailments that you have or may have had? My bet, No, probably not. The answer as to whether we are born a certain way or choose a certain way is simply, &uot;We don’t know&uot;. Both sides can make pretty strong arguments in their favor. The argument of nature vs. nurture has been waging for many years and will not be dying anytime soon, I feel. We can only assume we know what God has and has not provided us with, chosen for us, or bestowed upon us at birth.

You stated that, &uot;Why can not we just assume that these persons are just friends? Why must we be exposed to someone who wants to &uot;come out of the closet?&uot; Why cannot these persons be happy living quietly and not attempting to cause our youngsters to become sinners as they are&uot;? So are you saying then that they choose to be this way, and are somehow creating sinners of our youngsters? So our youngsters don’t have choices? Or do they acquire the ability to make choices, by some divine intervention at a predetermined age? Personally I have never quite understood that notion, that if the magical age is sixteen they day before you turn sixteen you don’t know or can’t make a choice but magically the moment you turn sixteen the knowledge or choice appears and/or becomes clear.

You are right we all have to answer for our sins, but who do we answer to? God! Jesus taught and preached tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness, but most importantly to be Nonjudgmental! It is not our place as mortals to judge, judgment of our &uot;sins&uot; should only by those who have not sinned themselves, and as we know humans are fallible, then judgment of &uot;sins&uot; must be left to a higher power. By design God made us sinners, unlike his angels, we have free will, God just hopes and tries to provide guidance to help us avoid sinning, but as a parent, I often wonder if it is not expected, as mortal parents expect sins and mistakes from their mortal children.

I respect the fact that you have had the privilege to live for 71 years and have the experiences that you have had. I hope you can acknowledge that 71 years is a relatively short amount of time in history. Whereas you have experienced numerous things, you have not experienced &uot;all&uot;. Until the day we die, it is never too late to learn and experience new persons, places, and things. I wish you many more years of growth and knowledge.

We as persons, can only grow and gain knowledge when we are willing to look outside our box and seek to understand more than what we are currently surrounded by.

Tara Stainback