To the Editor:
History tells us how things can go wrong when a small group of well-intentioned, God-fearing Christians decide to put themselves in charge and become the judges.
They thought burning “witches” at the stake was a good way to protect the public. They tore Native American children from their loving homes to place them with “pious,” white families so they would have a good Christian upbringing and not be “heathens.”
They believed the Bible told them that interracial marriage was an abomination and must be forbidden and actually passed laws, in some states, making it a crime.
The reader can probably name their own examples of bad, hurtful and negative public policy that was put in place in the name of Christian values.
We can all agree the above examples were bad ideas and did not reflect God’s love, but were based in fear. Prejudiced, short-sighted, narrow-minded people made injudicious decisions that many times cost innocent people their lives.
Fast forward to the Temple Public Library kerfuffle over a display of books and information about the LGBT community.
Do we really want to write policy or craft unnecessary guidelines to control our public librarians’ ability to put together informative displays that reflect the diversity of the communities they serve?
Yet this is what a small group calling themselves Concerned Christian Citizens is attempting to do. They want to pressure the city of Temple into banning displays they don’t agree with.
Once again, well-meaning, fervent believers are making themselves the judges of what the rest of us may or may not get to see and enjoy or be allowed to think about.
If a library display causes controversy, so be it. Life is full of that which one does not agree with. But life goes on and sometimes we grow from being challenged to think outside our comfort zone and consider another person’s perspective and life experience, such as a family with two moms.
I happen to believe that an LGBT-themed display might just save the lives of young people who have few avenues in which their lives are reflected in ways that don’t shout judgment and rejection of who they are.
May we agree to disagree? May we find the common ground of our shared humanity and give each other space to be who we are without judgment?
I hope so. Because history shows that there are very good reasons we have the separation of church and state in this great nation. Protecting Temple library displays is one of those reasons.