In one letter, a Missouri Synod pastor with long-standing anti-gay sentiments invokes fears that children will be forced to gay marry. In the other, a tenth-grade altar boy notes "if you don’t want a gay marriage, don’t get one."
Ronald Stehr seems confused.He writes in Marriage is moral, religious issue:
. . . This debate over unnatural marriage is so crucial. Kids will be hurt — 97 percent of the children.
A 6-year-old girl asked her mother shortly after the November referendum, “Mommy, does this mean I will have to marry a woman?”
What do little boys and girls think of, hope for, dream of but growing up and getting married?
Embedding the possibility of boys marrying boys and girls marrying girls into law will bring into question those dreams, if not destroy them.
This 6-year-old was expressing a fear that she would be forced into something very unusual, something that is difficult if not impossible for children to understand.
There will be more confusion among children and teenagers about their sexual identity.. . .
Although he's not identified in this letter as a Lutheran pastor by the Red Wing Republican Eagle, Stehr has been writing against all things gay since at least March 2008, when he equated the movie "The Bible Tells Me So" with Satan, warning that gay "behavior [was] . . .unnatural, unhealthy and contrary to God's plan." Red Wing's local PFLAG chapter would only confuse the children and besides, millions of kids are orphaned by AIDS in Africa (Stehr seems confused about epidemiology).
In a second letter that month, Stehr claimed that traumatic childhoods create queer folk, who have no choice over their orientation, but who can chose "therapy which has proven successful for thousands (Exodus International, Homosexuals Anonymous, etc.)." In short, pray away the gay, the conversion therapy that the
"ethics guidelines of major mental health organizations in the United States vary from cautionary statements to recommendations that ethical practitioners refrain from practicing conversion therapy (American Psychiatric Association) or from referring patients to those who do (American Counseling Association).
Last year, before the marriage amendment vote, Stehr wrote that he and his wife had lived in the Czech Republic for a year and saw no support for marriage equality:
My wife and I lived in Prague, Czech Republic, for a year. It is the most atheistic city in the world. You would think that without the influence of religion (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.) same-sex marriage would have been approved of long ago. We heard nothing of such a movement. One reason is the traditional family is so very important to them.
Bluestem suspects that the Stehrs might not speak Czech, since registered partnerships have been legal in the Czech Republic since 2006, and polling in 2012 showed that 51 percent of those surveyed in the Eastern European country favored same-sex marriage. He seems confused if he didn't heard of movement on this issue, since there's been a fierce debate in the CR for years.
Stehr is only thinking of the children; in Douglas County, it seems as if the children can think for themselves. Up in the Alexandria Echo Press, 10th grader Alec Roth doesn't appear to be confused in his letter, Gays should be able to marry:
In this free country that we love to live in, there are many times that we may have to swallow our pride to avoid other people’s rights being trampled. The amount of controversy around gay marriage during this age is astonishing; with many people going out of their way to shoot down another’s fundamental and constitutional rights.
While I’ve been through St. Mary’s private and Catholic education, have served the Lord for eight years (and counting) as an altar boy, I still believe that these gays and lesbians wishing to get married should be able to.
These gays and lesbians all have names and lives. They pay taxes, support our local economy, and interact with every aspect of the community. Saying gays don’t deserve to get married is saying that Emma can’t get married, Jason shouldn’t be able to adopt a kid, Scott should never be able to put a ring on the finger of someone he loves.
These people have names, they love everyone for who they are, and most importantly, they love their partners. They need to be fought for. Emma needs to be fought for. Whether it is a sin or not is beside the point.
I for one will not stop a straight atheist couple from getting married just because they don’t have the ceremony in a church. The church legally does not need to honor their marriage, but the government does. Why should it be any different with gays? With this free nation we all hold dear to our hearts, we all need to include everyone in order for our Constitution to work. So please, if you don’t want a gay marriage, don’t get one.
Seems pretty straightforward.
Photo: A same-sex ceremony in the Czech Republic, 2004. Via Radio Prague.
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