A letter from a reader: Op-ed piece supports respect for all

November 12, 2007:

Kudos to Professor Cornel West '80 and his co-author, Sylvia Rhue, for an excellent op-ed piece in The Boston Globe entitled "Fabricated fears about hate-crime legislation." This piece was in support of the Matthew Shepard Act, now safely past both houses of Congress, designed to protect those in our society we include under the rubric "sexual orientation and gender identity." Many in the religious community in our nation were spreading falsehoods about the impact of this legislation upon free speech and the right of clergy to express their opinions. No matter how wrong-headed and intentionally damaging to the worth and dignity of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people among us those opinions might be, nothing in the act will impact the right to hold and utter them in any venue one chooses. The act is directed only toward acts of violence and brutality.

As Professor West and Ms. Rhue declare at the end of their piece, "In supporting the noble imperatives of the Matthew Shepard Act, we all have the chance to work toward a community that protects and respects the lives and dignity of all citizens instead of bows to falsehoods and bigotry." Amen!

Newville, Pa.

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