After reading letters on both sides of this debate I believe we need to step back and breathe.
I have 2 young adults that call me Dad that fall into the LGBT community. I love them both and all of this bothers me.
First the name-calling must stop. When you use terms like bigot , as I have seen in these letters, you are guilty of exactly what your accusing other of. The actual definition of a bigot ( not the urban definition) is being intolerant of another’s opinion or belief. Reading these letters is see bigotry on both sides.
We’ve heard many arguments against this decision from the ridiculous ( it will increases HIV) to the sincere fear ( it will create division).
We’ve heard as many arguments for this from the valid ( celebrating strides made) to the angry ( lashing out against religious views).
But we have not looked at this for what it truly is. A Constitutional question.
Let me be clear the question is the county board’s decision nothing more.
One letter claimed our laws have never been religious in nature , this is in fact historically inaccurate. Adultery was,by definition, a biblical crime and at one time in this country fined and jail time could be levied against those convicted. And more to the point every law we ever had against homosexuality was based in the religious belief that it was a sin and immoral. You don’t have to like it but it is true .
Now that we’ve matured as a country and impose law more fairly based on the right of the individual ,these laws have been repealed or ignored as irrelevant. StoneWall could not happen under today’s law.
But that does bring up a constitutional point our county board has ignored. The objections to homosexuality have ALWAYS been ones of a religious nature. Even for a Atheist, the beleif of whether its right or wrong is just that, a belief.
And while government can not outlaw a belief (this is way adultery and homosexuality laws fell) neither can governments openly support one belief, one religion, over another.
Today we have churches that include gay marriage and reject homosexuality as a sin as well as those that believe the opposite. Both views are a constitutional protected right. Yet the board ignored this very real fact. Now the board had every right to recognize pride month for the achievements and equalities reached by this segment of our community, however the decision to fly a flag dedicated to what is, in fact, a religious belief (no science to date has confirmed homosexuality is genetic) shows clear support of one belief over another.
Quite simply if a High School coach can’t kneel in pray alone after a game because it endorses a religion. Then flying a flag on the county courthouse that supports one religious view over another also endorses a religious preference. And this act is much more blatant than a silent prayer.
The LGB community has come far over 50 years and should be proud. But this decision demeans the faith of a LARGE portion of our community. And that WILL create division.
The Board would be well advised to rethink this decision. The cost of a constitutional court battle is not one this county can afford.
My advice to the rest of us is Live and Let Live. Accept that we all have different beliefs and that we can disagree without any affect on our lives at all.
Patrick Adams, Wausau