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Kevin Watson December 18th, 2013

Dear Rep. Fisher and Mr. Kern, I was born and raised in Oklahoma. I attended a local Baptist church growing up.

I graduated from the University of Oklahoma for my undergraduate degree and went on to graduate from medical school at the University of Oklahoma. My values are as Oklahoman as yours.

I am writing to let you know how disappointed I am that you have allowed your fear to cloud your judgments. Everybody is afraid of what they don’t know or understand. We live in a country where one person’s fear should not impinge upon the freedoms of others.

A person’s fear of snakes does not preclude the reptile exhibit at the OKC Zoo or her neighbor’s ability to have a pet snake. Your beliefs are dangerous, and you are accountable to the ones you instruct. You do much psychological damage to your congregation, which goes out and fulfills your mandates and tries to live up to your ideals.

There are lives and families destroyed not for lack of zeal on the parishioners’ part but because what they are being asked to do is neither healthy nor God’s will.

I once believed much like you do. I was filled with so much ignorant hate, but I didn’t even know it. It disguised itself as concern for others or righteous indignation.

I could not possibly be tolerant or supportive of others with different ideas because that, in a very paternalistic way, would be somehow unloving. I believed, as I was told, that it was my duty to be evangelical.

It took many years for me to develop my own identity and to think independently.

I could not possibly do what you, my parents or my church required of me. They simply wanted me to be someone other than myself.

Being gay is the best thing that has ever happened to me because I now see ... I once was lost, but now I’m found. I’m praying that you too have an experience that opens your eyes beyond the narrow field of vision encouraged by your denomination. You’ll find that there’s nothing to be afraid of, certainly not me.

You both are able to speak in your pulpits and even simultaneously hold public office.

Your churches enjoy tax exemption while you clearly hold and express specific political views. You are supposed to represent me in government, but instead, you subjugate me.

I do not attend your church because I do not agree with what you preach. Similarly, you are not required to attend plays that you might disagree with. That liberty is what’s great about our country, and we should be able to agree on that.

Censorship and anti-gay sentiment by politicians sounds more like the Third Reich than American ideals of free speech and equality. Only people who fear themselves or their conviction would attempt to disallow mere expression of an opposing viewpoint.

I plan on attending The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.

I’ll make a deal with you: If you attend the play, too, I’ll attend your church one Sunday. I think we’ll both find that hearing another’s perspective is much less dangerous than refusing to hear it.

— Oklahoma City

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to jchancellor@okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com. Include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

 
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