June 22nd, 2024

Respect and dignity go two ways

By Letter to the Editor on June 21, 2018.

Re: “Local man claims he and other ‘Christians’ are being stifled by the library’s social media,” June 1

I don’t normally use this format to express frustration or concern, but after reading Collin Gallant’s article regarding a recent social media post from the Medicine Hat Public Library, I really felt compelled to speak up.

As a member and supporter of the LGBT community, I want to begin by stating that I have absolutely no issue with the fact that this story was covered, or that Sheldon Johnston was given a platform to share his side of this story. It is my understanding that he had written a letter to the editor, that was then covered in this article. I believe that in any situation both sides of the conversation deserve to be heard. That being said, there was one quote in the article that did not sit well with me at all. Early in the article Mr. Johnston was quoted as writing that “Christians [in] this community have been models of respect and tolerance. We do not wish to become targets for marginalization, but deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”

I have seen the things Mr. Johnston has shared on social media in regards to LGBT or women’s rights, or even memes that amount to personal attacks on our prime minister. It is absolutely his right to share his opinion on any of these subjects, but I am confused about where some of these posts show respect and tolerance? If he feels that he can represent the entire Christian community in this city, then he should please do so in a way that treats everyone with dignity and respect.

I have several close friends who are members of several different church congregations in this city who may have a different belief than I do, and yet they are respectful of my right to be who I am — just as I am of their right to who they are and what they believe.

The lesson here, if I may, is that respect and dignity go two ways. I can only speak for myself here, and not the entire LGBT community. I am aware that there are people on my side of this conversation who have also not been respectful, but until this lesson is learned, we are never going to get anywhere on this or any other topic.

In closing, I would like to address the woman who has started this whole conversation by bravely being open about who she is. Karen: You are a wonderful human and I am so happy that you are living your life as your authentic self. Your courage and bravery to go public and share your story is going to help so many other people. Thank you so much for being you!

Travis Boser

Medicine Hat

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