To the Editor:
If, in 2008, one country considered passing a law stating, “Everyone has a right not to be offended,” it would have created a legal mess, because everyone is offended by something, and where would freedom of speech be – with no dialog, no reforms, nor progress.
I don’t mind insults. They give me reasons to think, reassess, ask whether the insulter understands. I’m aware though, that there are those who have no problem insulting certain moral, upstanding citizens, as their “right”.
An unwary visitor to this planet would find many areas disagreeing about “absolute truths.” In these areas, those who are exalted as leaders or gods of one religion, are rejected as being mere mortals in another. There are billions who are indifferent to all of them, living peaceful, loving and satisfying lives, expending no effort to change or disturb the rights of others. “Live and let live” seems to be their motto. Meanwhile, the righteous are busy, insulted by the latter, insulted by having anyone questioning their claimed credentials, in spite of the obvious fact that they can’t agree amongst themselves.
They will impregnate the very legal system in pursuit of their “values”, make human rights not constitutionally guaranteed, but a matter of the majority vote. This is dangerous. If rights are determined by vote, there would still be slavery, for instance.
Which brings us to Proposition 8, gay rights, gay marriage, a topic of newspapers, a national magazine, a cause of wide dissension and division in churches and religions. (Do you also sense an undercurrent in religion’s traditions that beliefs are forever, when they are not? The beliefs pro-slavery, racism, the inequality of women, superiority of the white race, for examples, all based on religious scriptures, and all dying out.)
Do you know a gay person, or have a relative who is? Most people can answer yes. My late brother was a homosexual. Should anyone have had the “right’ to deny him rights to liberty and happiness; deny him the security, joy, and commitment that they themselves take for granted?
Lately, I’ve thought about my brother and about how happy he would have been married, how he could have lived without fear or as a burden to his parents. I have a message for all the righteous who are insulted, feel their beliefs insulted, by gay marriage: Think of him and all the other human beings like him.
Carl Scheiman, Walpole