GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

July 16, 2013

Letter: The pastor's column and open discussion

To the editor:

In the end, all that we have are our opinions.

Hence, I welcome the experience of being exposed to any opinion.

Therefore, I thank the Rev. Patrick Slyman for offering his opinions about homosexuality — and I thank the Times and its editor, Ray Lamont, for publishing them (Midweek Musings, the Times, Wednesday, July 3). Indeed, I have come down with the conclusion that I even have to applaud the policy of the Times to publish online anonymous opinions. I believe it is better for us to express our opinions any way we can than to keep them bottled up inside us. It is then that our opinions tend to become explosive.

For this reason alone, I am all for homosexuals coming out in the open. There are many benefits to this decision. One is being true to oneself. So, let’s talk about homosexuality.

To start with, I am appalled at the attempt to silence any such discussion. For instance, I am surprised by the example given by a group of clergy on Cape Ann. Instead of engaging in serious religious and theological argument, the group has attacked the intentions of Rev. Slyman as fostering hate. I may be wrong, but I read his column as discussing sin — not hate.

Certainly, if so many representatives of our clergy believe that we cannot discuss issues of sin in public any longer, they are entitled to their opinion; but they ought to say so openly. And then, preferably, they might want to justify their opinion.

Let me express a conclusion that I have reached only now in the context of the current discussion held on the pages of the Times: Homosexuality is not a sin.

I find this conclusion quite revelatory and liberating. If prior to that moment a son or a daughter had announced to me they were not heterosexual, I would have been terrified not knowing what to do. Now I would embrace them as a gift from God. And I believe that, on this understanding, we are ready to approach even more complex issues such as this: When is homosexuality — as well as heterosexuality — a sin?

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