To the editor,

I would like to address some of the misguided perceptions Kristine Sunne raised in her letter, published July 6. She has a right to her opinion, and I commend her for sharing it, however I would like to offer more on the subject.

People who are LGBTQ+ have been around since the beginning of time. God created all people in God’s image, but humans have a tendency to ostracize those they consider “different.” Remember how not that long ago people who were left-handed were forbidden to use the hand God created to be their dominant hand? What was that about, really? Discrimination, pure and simple.

As for why are there so many suicides among LGBTQ+ people? Because their families, friends, churches and even strangers have disowned, ostracized, abandoned and condemned them. Not everyone is strong enough, emotionally, to stand up to that kind of abuse.

I disagree that loving someone of the same gender or being transgender is a choice. Why would anyone choose that when they know how they will be treated by ignorant people who have no compassion for those who aren’t like them? Everyone I know who fits into those “categories” has struggled, wanting to be “like everyone else,” until they just can’t do it any longer. They find that it’s more important to be true to themselves and who they were created to be. Also, scientists have found that in the animal kingdom there are same-gender couples. Did they choose that? I think not.

If one believes “Jesus died for our sins,” what right does anyone have to tell LGBTQ+ they are wrong? If you believe it’s a sin, then it’s already taken care of, just as your sins and mine must be. And if Jesus did die for our sins, then why are you worried about where you or anyone else will spend eternity? Why aren’t you more concerned about taking care of God’s people and bringing God’s kingdom here on earth? In Matthew 25:35-45, Jesus says that how we treat others is how we are treating him. Jesus was always the friend to the marginalized and disenfranchised. He criticized the rich, the powerful, the Pharisees and other religious leaders who could only see things one way.

I strongly believe in the separation of church and state. That’s why we can’t go into the schools with a bible to convert students to denomination. LGBTQ+ and the “Pride group” is not a religion or a denomination. LGBTQ+ and their allies — I am an ally — belong to many different churches, denominations, faiths and even no faith. They have come together to support one another because of the discrimination and hatred to which they are subjected.

I agree we should let “everyone know that God loves you,” but how does that fit with everything else in Sunne’s letter? God loves us all — no exceptions. And I will continue to remind my LGBTQ+ friends of that. God loves us all no matter what some Christian or congregation may have told us to the contrary.

Rev. Sue Judson Hamly

International Falls, MN

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