In case you missed it, check out one Mom’s letter in response to discovering her preschool sent a “vote yes” letter home with her 4-year old son. Jenny Spohn shared her letter last month via Facebook and it’s worth the read.
Thank you Ms. Spohn for standing up for equality. And thank you for so eloquently letting those who are working hard to pass this mean-spirited amendment know that we will not stand for their intolerance.
My 4 year-old son came home from preschool with a ‘Vote Yes’ letter in his backpack. This was my response to this horrifying letter.
Dear Pastor David Paul Lenz,
I am writing this letter to you to inform you why I will be removing my child, Cooper, from your church’s preschool. I was shocked and appalled that you used my 4-year old’s backpack to send a message home defending the Minnesota Marriage amendment, and I cannot justify financially contributing to a community that is going to use that money against people I love and people my son loves. You see, Pastor David, my 4-year old is loved and cherished by his two lesbian aunts that have known him and supported him since his birth. My sister and her partner have been in a committed relationship for over 12 years, and Cooper will have the wonderful opportunity to support them at their wedding next October.
I am aware that you are well within your rights to promote this teaching about marriage, just like the vast majority of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues in Minnesota are well within their rights to promote inclusivity, embrace God’s diverse creation, and support loving and committed couples by working to defeat this marriage amendment. But you need to know that no matter how many letters you write you will never be able to convince my son that his aunts and their future children are not a real family, for his experience contradicts everything that you wrote in your letter.
Your letter was offensive to an entire group of people that are not seeking to change marriage, they are seeking to join marriage—the lifelong commitment that strengthens all societies. Not only was your letter offensive, but it severely lacked any coherent argument. Claiming to not tell people how to vote and then claiming to simply present God’s view on the matter is lazy rhetoric that does not persuade thinking people. Your selective inattention to the biblical text was frightening. If we are going to talk about the biblical view(s) of marriage, then at least be honest and address polygamy, Levirate marriage, Deuteronomic law of the captive bride, bride prices, dowries, etc. Certainly using a passage about outlawing divorce (Matt 19) and claiming that it is evidence that God does not support same-sex marriage is disingenuous at best and insulting at worst. Did you really think that no one would look it up? But even more than all of this, using the backpacks of 4-year olds to spread your personal, unsophisticated, and selective interpretation of the Bible, in a vain attempt to amend the constitution to exclude human beings who are created in the image of God, is totally and completely inappropriate.
I encourage to you revisit the overwhelming message of acceptance and love found in the vast majority of the Old Testament and the New Testament—passages that champion inclusiveness (Acts 10; Gen 1:26) not exclusiveness. You are not alone; pastors and priests throughout history have used the Bible to justify all sorts of things that we now find appalling like the subordination of women, slavery, and segregation. Simply claiming to be on God’s side does not mean that you are. Blaise Pascal reminds us that “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.” I would ask that you pray about Christ’s message of loving God and loving one’s neighbor and ask yourself how you are loving your LGBT neighbors and their families.
Whether you realize it or not, your words patronize an ongoing struggle for equal rights—a struggle that will not only eventually be won, but one that will soon be understood and remembered as an extension of other successful “against the current” movements, such as the fight for women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement. I am not expecting to change your mind with this letter, and as I have said earlier, you are well within your right as a religious institution to spread and teach your faith. Although I find your message offensive, appalling, and ultimately non-Christian, I believe in your constitutional right to express it. I am voting NO on this amendment in November because I don’t only support your freedom, I support my sister’s freedom too.
P.S. I will also be sending this letter to the parents in Cooper’s class so that they know why Cooper will no longer be attending Hope pre-school.