Everyone has them – those embarrassing people you just cringe when they talk and deal with because you have no choice. In a state where we celebrated the passing of the right for gays to finally, legally marry we find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of having those few who just don’t get it.
Case in point – The Pioneer Press had a story about Barbara Westerbur, 72 year old from Jasper, MN in Pipestone County who just HAD to put in her 2-cents worth (which is a huge stretch to how much her opinion is really worth) to the local paper when it featured Kerry and Christy Johnson, a gay couple who were one of the first couples to get a marriage license in the state. Her biased and close-minded views, stemming from her antiquated religious upbringing, shows that no matter how much our beloved state moves forward, there are always those still in the dark trying to pull us back to a time when even dear Mrs Westerbur has little to no rights.
It is a sad commentary when the bigotry and hate becomes news. Yes, I believe in the “right” to free speech, but I also believe that if you give hate a forum hate is allowed to thrive. Cut it off at the start and it whithers and dies.
The thing that saddens me most is that people like Mrs Westerbur influence others. And she’s not alone. I don’t want to pick on just one close-minded, unloving, obviously not Jesus following, Christian bigot, but Mrs Westerbur put herself out there when she decided to put “pen-in-hand” and belittle the love of two people who the state had deemed worthy, just like all other couples in the state, to get married in the eyes of the law.
The sky isn’t falling Mrs Westerbur. In fact it’s a beautiful day in the Minnesota neighborhood. A grand and beautiful day that recognized love, tolerance and equality. If you do indeed believe as another Pipestone County resident, Mavis Hintermeister, 79, does, that “Satan just has them in the palm of his hand…” then just pray for them in your own private way and move on. We don’t need you to set the moral code for the state. We would prefer you didn’t – EVER.
I’m not in your community, home, church, telling you that you are wrong for doing things you have done in your life. I don’t come out and publically spew hate for any of your life choices. Show the same and do the same.
Only when people realize that another’s life choice is just that – their life choice – and is just as valid as any other person’s choices, then and only then will there be equality. True equality. I fear, however, that that day won’t come until the generation that holds the most close-minded views has passed from this earth. And that is a shame, for they do have wisdom. I just wish they would share THAT more than their hate.