End homophobic crusade

| Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

It was beyond disappointing that letter writer Rudy Gagliardi, (“It's my God,” Oct. 4) completely misconstrued my previous letter (“Whose God?,” Sept. 11).

My simple point was intolerance has no place in 21st-century society. He used the historic examples I raised, such as the Inquisition, the great witch hunt and the institution of slavery — all acts involving self-described Christians — to infer that I was mocking God. That is illegitimate nonsense.

As a Baptist, I choose to believe that the precepts Jesus practiced, such as compassion, acceptance, brotherhood and forgiveness, should hold greater sway than anyone's self-serving prejudice and condemnation of others. Since we're all deeply flawed, how can anyone attest that someone else is a greater sinner?

Mr. Gagliardi's ongoing homophobic crusade may also have hidden consequences. Will he hold himself responsible?

In “Constantine's Sword,” a National Book Award winner penned by a former Catholic priest, there is a passage that directly applies: “In 1998, a young gay man, Matthew Shepard, was murdered in Wyoming. His killers had tortured him and, in effect, crucified him by hanging him on a fence.”

The question poses itself: What is the relationship between violent attacks on homosexuals and open contempt for gays expressed by respectable people and organizations? New Your Times columnist Frank Rich offers one answer: “It's a story as old as history. Once any group is successfully scapegoated as a subhuman threat to ‘normal' values by a propaganda machine, emboldened thugs take over.”

My sole, unadulterated message is that understanding and living in harmony with others deserve a revered abode in even the most hardened heart.

Jim Harger

New Kensington

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