Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gay Zombies?: A Letter to the Editor

The above letter appeared about a month ago in my hometown newspaper, The Wayne County Journal Banner. Partly out of whimsy and partly out of genuine concern, I posted the photo on Facebook to try to get friends to flood the author of the piece, Mr. Robert Fox, with letters describing his errors—both logical and grammatical. It was then suggested by a friend that I write a personal response. After drafting a rebuttal, I discovered that since Mr. Fox's initial letter was classified as a "paid election letter," I would have to pay a $25 fee in order to have my response published. Rather than submit to such a fee, I have decided to post my response online, instead. 

To the Editor of the Wayne County Journal Banner,

I am writing to express my extreme frustration with the political ad recently published by Robert Fox in the June 14 edition of your newspaper. I would like to set a few things straight about what I feel is a misunderstanding by Mr. Fox of current events.

Mr. Fox drew absurd and nonexistent parallels between recent reports in the news involving horrifically violent crimes and the gay community. First, it should be mentioned that each story—while admittedly bizarre—was a completely isolated incident, unrelated to each of the other stories mentioned in the ad. In fact, at least two of the cases have been determined by officials to be the result of mental instability and drug abuse—NOT homosexuality. In addition, while the repetitive appearance of such terrifying stories might very well be attributed to the kind of media sensationalism often found in the news these days, it is in no way connected to the general moral decline of society or to the gay community than an earthquake in Indonesia is connected to a butterfly’s burp in southeast Missouri. Gays are not cannibals or zombies, as inferred by Mr. Fox’s letter. I have many friends who happen to be gay, and I have not once seen any of them attempt to eat a person.

While the above stories are by all accounts disturbing and saddening, the proper response is not the pointing of fingers. If Mr. Fox wishes to step up to the plate as one of the moral people he speaks of, he should begin with reading the Sermon on the Mount, one of the greatest moral codes in human history, which includes such radical teachings as “love your enemies,” “give to all who ask of you,” and “do not judge, so that you may not be judged.” In the future, he would be well advised to do his research before making dubious connections between sensational news stories.

Bear in mind that I write this letter not as just “some kid” who moved away from home, went to college, and “got liberal.” I am a born-and-bred southeast Missourian, and I have spent the vast majority of my life living in Wayne County. I have great respect and admiration for the place where I grew up, as well as the people who encouraged me as a child and young adult. As long as I live, Williamsville will always be my home. I respect where I come from, and I feel that the outside world should respect it, too. But it is extremely difficult to build any trust or respect of difference when all the outside world sees of southeast Missouri is the kind of shock-and-awe political tactics exhibited by Mr. Fox’s ad. I write this letter to suggest to your readers that though a person may come from a small town, it by no means follows that they have a small mind or a small heart.

I welcome Mr. Fox to engage me in any form of intelligent dialogue on the subject. Because of my Christian faith and my great concern for scriptural integrity and social justice, I have researched the issue of homosexuality at painstaking length, and have spent years discerning an ethical, Christian response to the subject. My ears are always open for discussion.

Peace and grace,

Joshua Smith
1134 Hasbrook Ave.
Kansas City, KS 66105

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