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Monday, September 26, 2022
Letter to the editor: Embrace our freedom to hold differing opinions


Dear editor:

I am dismayed by John Boydell’s letter, published June 27, concerning the Mennonite church. I was further dismayed to learn of the abusive communications received by The Lake Report in response to it, and wish to apologize for them. The Christian response to personal wrong is firmness, gentleness and patience.

As for the content of Mr. Boydell’s letter, I must disagree with it. Mr. Boydell declares the consciences of Mennonites hateful and implies churches should be subject to legal control. That road is the shadow of death for freedom of thought and expression in Canada. It was not so long ago that homosexuals suffered from state persecution in our land. In our zeal for apparent equality, let us not now put the same hot iron of repression to those who, because of their consciences, cannot endorse that same practice.

Let us be reasonable: each of us has a conscience with respect to sexuality. All of us believe that some sexual practices – even consensual ones – are wrong.

If some among us hold more of those practices to be wrong than others, because they have additional information on which to base their assessment, who are the rest to judge them? After all, their goal is that people do less wrong – which should be next to the highest priority of us all. As for those whose goal seems to be to condemn, forgive them and blandish them for it gently, as you would wish to be treated.

One of the great privileges of this country is our freedom to debate each other courteously, then go home and live our separate lives in peace. Don’t malign the Mennonite, the Catholic or the Baptist in the exercise of that freedom: do not malign me for my difference from you.

What we have now is precious: don’t sacrifice it on the altar of majority opinion, to enforce your beliefs or social conformity. That is not the way of a secular, fair and reasoned society. Rather, let us embrace, if not our differences, our cherished freedom to differ.

Sincerely and in love,

Caleb Burney