GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

July 11, 2013

Letter: Effective debate requires varied opinions


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

I was out of town last week and until I read the paper on July 6, was unaware of Rev. Patrick Slyman’s “Midweek Musings” article.

Since then, I’ve read his article and several letters of response.

Rev. Slyman’s words are an expression of his religious beliefs and while I don’t see things the same way, I’ve read a lot of letters expressing opinions unlike mine and have written letters and articles expressing views that probably irritate others.

I agree with Times Editor Ray Lamont that an Opinion Page is for varying viewpoints. I also agree with those expressing displeasure with the pastor’s comments, especially one signed by local religious leaders, reminding us that “mutual respect and love are the building blocks to good, creative and safe communities.”

My feelings on the matter coincide with the eloquently expressed comments in a recent “eMo” article by Barbara Crafton, an Episcopal priest, in her response to the Supreme Court’s recent decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):

“Most of my readers will not be surprised to hear that I welcome the Supreme Court decision… But I have readers all over the country and all over the world, and I treasure the fact that while God is one, the children of God come in many stripes, with many different experiences, and their opinions differ on important things.

“…Achieving moral consensus takes a long, long time,” she continues. “Legislative or judicial actions…are intermediate steps toward it, not final ones. They do not reflect consensus; they precede it… I honor those with whom I disagree, and I know that turning away from each other when we encounter a profound difference is no way to build community. That way lies madness.”

The only “madness” in the Gloucester Times, in my opinion, is found online in the anonymous online comments and attacks, not by an honest expression of views by those who aren’t afraid to identify themselves.

EILEEN M. FORD

King Street, Rockport