June 14th, 2024

Maligned ‘for words never said’

By Letter to the Editor on June 18, 2018.

On June 1, the Medicine Hat News published a story in response to my unpublished letter to the editor involving censorship with the Medicine Hat Public Library Facebook page. As a result of what I believe to be misrepresentations in this story, I have been publicly and unfairly maligned for words which I have never said. Using scare quotes around “Christian” in the headline of this article, and impugning my personal faith, without ever discussing with me my views, was unnecessary and wrong. The writer taking my words out of context seemed to indicate I was complaining about a lack of animosity rather than my original description that I felt postings were relatively benign. I believe the refusal to publish my letter to the editor reflects the public animus currently displayed against full-spectrum conservatives.

As a libertarian I stand for freedom of expression, association, speech and conscience. No libertarian could ever condone forcibly requiring an individual into changing someone using methods echoing the inquisition. My representations in many forums have been for the rights of the disabled in our education and community settings. Most often this has arisen within contexts discussing the rights of LGBT people, because new laws and policies ostensibly drafted to protect these individuals are unintentionally placing the disabled in the path of jeopardy and harm.

I have never opposed the existence of peer groups of any kind.

Personally responding to the June 12 letter by Karen LaHay, no attack against anyone was intended nor implied. I fully respect Karen’s decisions. It was truly ironic that the day the original story aired, I warmly introduced Karen to my children at the book sale, and teach them to treat everyone with dignity and respect. I bear no ill will to anyone for making lifestyle decisions reflecting their neurodiversity.

If there is conversion therapy being practised in Alberta, I would submit it is reflected in the ATA publications and Education Minister David Eggen’s “Guidelines for Best Practices.” Socially and medically “converting” children without proper assessment is a real concern.

In the MHPL book mentioned in the original article, “Boy Erased,” Garrard Conley makes several inaccurate statements. The Baptist church was in no way knowledgeable, involved or supportive of the actions taken in his story. David Jones, the current director of “Love in Action,” the ministry involved in this book, has stated “the book does not accurately describe the heart of the program.” His reparative program is only for those seeking support for unwanted sexual desires. I fully endorse the freedom to pursue whatever identity or lifestyle a person chooses, and the autonomy to enter or exit LGBT identities as one sees fit.

Sheldon Johnston

Medicine Hat

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