When freedom of speech infringes on others

Often times, we print Letters to the Editor that go with little to no feedback. However, a recent letter from a reader was definitely not the case. In the last edition of the North Countryman, a letter from Mildred Hall of Mooers touched off a firestorm of feedback to our Web site. The subject was on the recent Adirondack Pride celebration held in Morrisonville celebrating June as National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

Ms. Hall wrote a letter against the idea of the celebration and homosexuality, in general. We published the letter with mixed emotions but, as a publication that represents our readers - all of them - we have to be a venue for your voices to be heard. Regardless if we agree with what they have to say or not.

That's why I felt it necessary to offer some of the comments in response to Ms. Hall's letter that were left on our Web site and one official letter that was sent directly via e-mail and confirmed with its sender.

In one comment left on our site, a reader wrote: "Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus even come close to saying anything about homosexuality. It was either by Paul, or in the Book of Leviticus, which is an old testament Christians don't even follow. Christians live under the New Covenant of grace, which means ALL sins are forgiven if they accept Jesus as their personal savior, the basic fundamental of Christianity."

Another comment reads, in part: "I'm as equally shocked and appalled that this Letter to the Editor even made it into publication. Especially since all it is going to do is breed hate."

We hope that's not the case. The idea of a Letters to the Editor section is to open topics up for discussion, as uncomfortable as they may sometimes be. And, by printing letters such as this and ones like the response by Erika Tourville, it demonstrates the starkly contrasting viewpoints of the people of the North Country. Once these viewpoints are clearly laid out onto the table, it is only then the opportunity for agreement - or civil disagreement - can happen.

Jeremiah S. Papineau is senior editor of the North Countryman. He welcomes your feedback and may be reached via e-mail at jeremiah@denpubs.com.

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