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Bulletin letter to the editor: People entitled to equal rights

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness." I think his words are especially appropriate in light of Dan and Marla Zwakman's Viewpoint ("Broadening marriage definition acquiescing to 'whims of a few,'" April 25).

Every person is entitled to loyalty for and granted respect for their individual religious beliefs or their lack of religious beliefs; however, that entitlement does not pass on a right, God-given or otherwise, to harm others or to withhold from others equal rights and protection under the law.

To assume that one's own religious beliefs allow them to act in a manner that asserts their own feelings or beliefs as more important than their fellow man's is not only incredibly selfish, but also in the end, will destroy a just society. Furthermore, such actions are very much at odds with all that not only Jesus taught but also that which was taught by Mohammed or Buddha. One cannot say "Hate the sin, love the sinner" any more than one can say I am OK with people of [insert color/religious group/culture] as long as they do not live on my street in my town. It is still demeaning people and subjugating people and making a claim that you are better than they are.

People are entitled to equal rights and equal status as human beings and to demean any other man as a sinner is nothing more claiming a religious justification for whittling away at those rights. Comparing the marriage of two consenting adults, who are only denied that status due to sexual orientation, to a marriage between an adult and a child or an adult and an animal is against not only everything our society was founded upon but everything Christ believed.

Finally, it must be noted that the address used towards Rev. Ballinger by the Zwakmans was incredibly condescending. They may disagree with his viewpoints, but address him with the title and respect he has earned.

Kimberly Graff

Cottage Grove