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January 11th, 2013
08:00 PM ET

Letters to the President #1453: 'The pastor bows out'

Reporter's Note: The president’s team is preparing for his upcoming inaugural. I am too, by writing…as always…a letter a day to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

I’ve been following the kerfuffle over the pastor who has withdrawn from the inaugural activities after gay rights activists voiced concern over his views. Specifically, everyone seems to be in an uproar over a sermon he gave 15 or so years ago in which he called homosexuality a sin.

Diversity has become a complex thing, hasn’t it?

On one hand, I understand gay rights supporters who would rather not have anyone involved in the inaugural who thinks they are in the wrong. On the other hand, I thought the whole point of diversity was recognizing that people come from many walks of life, with many points of view, and we should all respect and accept each other as we are.

And that, presumably, includes people of faith. Evangelicals, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, and anyone else who, based on their honest beliefs, disagree with many of the aspects of what might be called modern morality.

I realize that this is a terribly sensitive subject and you are in a tight spot. You can’t very well appear callous to the feelings of the gay community. Gay voters did, after all, help you get re-elected. But is it right, or fair, to allow one group of your supporters to drive another group into retreat this way? Even as you speak up for gay rights and lend your support to the cause, do you also have a responsibility to defend the right of those who disagree?

I don’t have the answers, but I do think the issue is more complex than this latest dustup would suggest. If those who think homosexuality is wrong are not overtly welcome at the inaugural…meaning, your White House won’t defend their right to be there…then does that suggest about half the nation is not welcome?

Sure, public views on this are changing. We, as a people, are growing much more accepting of gays and lesbians. The questions remain: Does that mean we can no longer accept those who have not made that metamorphosis? Are they to be exiled within their own country? And how diverse will our nation ultimately be, if whichever side wins any argument is able to chase the losers from the public arena?

I know you’re in a difficult position on this one, and I’m eager to see if you have anything to say on the subject. Give me a call if you have a moment.

Regards,
Tom

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