The column that started the controversy was, despite its immaturity, more persuasive. Writing in the Jan. 19 issue of the Woodlan Tomahawk, sophomore Megan Chase offered a heartfelt plea for tolerance. A friend recently had told Chase he was gay, and she urged students not to “look down on those people or make fun of them just because they have a different sexuality than you.”
Good advice, and Chase should have quit while she was ahead. Instead, she waded into a minefield.
“There is also the religious aspect to the argument,” she wrote. “(But) I wouldn’t want to believe in something that would condemn me over something that I didn’t even choose.”
“We were concerned about (Chase’s) reference to religion, and felt it either should have been expanded upon or deleted. Was she representing all religions?” explained East Allen County Schools Assistant Superintendent Andrew Melin. “This was characterized as ‘censorship’ or ‘intolerant,’ but it wasn’t that at all. We need to demonstrate a respect for all people.”
Precisely. The people supposedly in charge shouldn’t have to read the newspaper to learn a student has used a tax-supported publication to question or criticize people’s faith – especially in the generally conservative East Allen district.
And, intentionally or not, that’s exactly what Chase did. Have we reached the point where traditionalists – especially religious people – are expected to abstain from the debate over legitimate, controversial public issues?
Leininger's rationale, unlike Chase's, is simply ignorant. Chase understands that "homosexuality" is an innate characteristic that defines a person at birth no different than the color of their eyes, skin or hair. Allowing someone to preach hate and damnation against a person because they are gay is no different than the fundamentalist Christians in this country who defended slavery based upon it being a common practice in the Bible. Chase's rejection of the illogical religious condemnation of gays is a hopeful sign she and perhaps others of her generation are choosing reasoned judgment over a bigoted doctrine to which many of the adult generation are hopelessly grasping.