West Branch makes me proud

When reading the current issue of the West Branch Times, I was pleased to see the number of responses to Gregory Norfleet’s recent column that somehow intertwined local football, homosexuality, and Rick Santorum.  (See this earlier post on DailyDisgust.)

Below are excerpts from the published letters to the editor.

Letter: Climate of mental and physical abuse worsens from the West Branch Times, Feb. 2, 2012

You clearly need to educate yourself before you are confronted with a situation in which someone close to you or another family member needs to tell you he or she is gay.

The newspaper should be an educational resource for the community. We do not want anyone in our community to suffer a moment of Eric’s torment. It is unacceptable to contribute, as you have, to a climate for someone to mentally or physically abuse someone who is gay.

Letter: Poorly written piece was homophobic, too from the West Branch Times, Feb. 2, 2012

Besides the confusing and absurd connection between how a football coach’s remarks to an unruly student relates to the other, I feel this piece was not only poorly written, but completely homophobic and disrespectful to those members of our community, our friends and members of our families who identify themselves as homosexual.

I would like to convey my deep gratitude for the right to express our own opinions in this great country of ours. I ask that this right not be confused with our personal and sometimes professional responsibility to our fellow citizens, community, friends, neighbors, children, subscribers and advertising businesses; to be clear, concise, respectful and straightforward. The Op-Ed, Soapbox piece was nothing short of unprofessional, embarrassing, and an insult to homosexual members of our community and to our community’s reputation that has been a longstanding tradition of respect and excellence we should work together to maintain with great pride.

Letter: Editor misses coach’s message of respect from the West Branch Times, Feb. 2, 2012 (posted in full)

The editor of the West Branch Times of course is entitled to his opinions about human nature and human behavior, and we frequently are treated to them in his column, as we were in the Jan. 26 issue.
However, it was unfortunate to see him attempt to illustrate his point by citing the commendable, and totally unrelated, actions of a coach in correcting a student. The editor apparently does not see where his message and that of the coach diverge: The coach was directing a student to respect others.

Our district is firmly against discrimination of any kind against a student or employee based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity or sexual preference. Our policies, and state law, reflect this, and it is good to hear of examples where those representing our schools convey that important message of good character.

Mike Owen, President, West Branch Board of Education

Kevin Hatfield, Superintendent, West Branch Community School District

Letter: Column alienates and isolates homosexuals from the West Branch Times, Feb. 2, 2012 (This one was mine)

I ask you: What harm does it do you if two people choose to love each other?

I can tell you what harm it does when you write these opinions about “choices” in your columns in this newspaper. It helps to create an atmosphere wherein a whole class of people are made to feel alienated, isolated, marginalized, and offended within our community.

 

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