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Two steps forward, one step back

Myers' Musings

Posted: November 22, 2008 8:16 p.m.
Updated: November 23, 2008 4:55 a.m.
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is still alive in our times, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."

President-elect Barack Obama, Grant Park speech, Nov. 4

"Then, as lunch was ending and other students scurried to fifth-period classes, Lasater headed to a boy's bathroom and locked himself inside a stall. He pulled out a weapon and shot himself in the head."

Various news accounts of the suicide of Jeremiah Lasater, 14, in a Vasquez High School restroom on Oct. 21

"A gentle reminder: Gays are not equal in this realm. If they were, we might as well make provisions for polygamists, triads, lower the marriage age limit to 13 and even consider arguments for bestiality."

Letter to the Editor of The Signal, November

"The twin brothers walked into the gym locker room at the beginning of fourth period and discovered a swastika on Todd Davis' locker, along with anti-gay slurs. The boys immediately alerted school officials and their parents."

Reports from The Signal concerning racially charged vandalism at Saugus High School

Two steps forward and one step back.

I still bask in the euphoria of the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. The president-elect's words above should (and actually did) provide great inspiration to even many of those who voted against him and for the honorable John McCain.

But reality still horns in: Two weeks before this miraculous election an "oddball" 14-year-old special-needs student named Jeremiah Lasater walked into a restroom at Vasquez High School and took his own life due to the cumulative effect of bullying.

In some ways the act proved his gentleness to the end as he tried to quell his own pain WITHOUT attempting to wreak bloody vengeance on those responsible.

Just a few days after this election, a local citizen wrote a letter to the editor unapologetically equating a relationship between two consenting adults to bestiality and child molestation.

Then, two twin Jewish brothers found swastikas and anti-gay slurs on their gym locker at Saugus High School.

What do these three dreadful examples hold in common?

Many people who hold, either secretly or openly, the views of the letter writer would never consciously condone bullying by their children, or the drawing of swastikas on the lockers of Jewish students, so they would think themselves sufficiently separated from the disgraces to the human race that drove the tortured Jeremiah Lasater to suicide and the Saugus High School vandals.

But I tell you folks who agree with the letter writer: You stand shoulder to shoulder with the bullying yahoos and some idiots who probably don't even understand the historical and dreadful significance of the swastika because your bigotry, either viewable or hidden, deals with placing folks in the role of the hated "other," where you can justify persecution and separation of those different whom you find abhorrent.

It especially troubles me that you utilize my personal faith, Christianity, to justify your bigotry and intolerance.

When I read the Gospel of the Son of God Jesus Christ, I find a divine being who took on the mantle of humanity not to hobnob with the "righteous" of his day, but to seek out and actively befriend the most hated and vile elements of that society, at least from the "righteous" point of view.

Jesus Christ even granted salvation to the hated Samaritans, those part-time monotheists who claimed kinship with the people of Israel when convenient but turned traitor when pressed.

A centurion from the pagan Roman occupying force first recognized the pure divinity of Jesus, who granted salvation to a dying criminal. Moments before, the criminal had recognized Jesus's divinity even though the most righteous and astute of his day put Jesus to death.

My Christianity lets me know one thing for sure: God will hold us each accountable for our actions, and we hope for the advocacy of Jesus Christ to grant us the ultimate "parole" into an eternal relationship with God.

I suspect one thing: God might reserve his harshest judgment for those who utilize his words, particularly after the gift of Jesus Christ, to separate some of his children into the hated and despised "other."

At least for myself, I prefer not to take that chance.

Tim Myers is a Valencia resident. His column represents his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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