What Would Jesus Do?

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[Re: Letters, “A Crazy Little Thing Called Hate,” March 12-18] I must respectfully disagree with Virginia Stephenson’s assessment of conservative Christians and their opposition to same-gender marriage and domestic partnership legislation.

I understand Virginia’s frustration. She’s worked hard in this fight. But calling all conservative Christians “mean and cruel” and charging that “they hate us” gets us nowhere. Some individuals no doubt do hate us, but it’s unfair to tar an entire group of people with an accusation like that.

I think most of them are basically good people. They’re just frightened and confused by the changes they see happening around them, as more and more GLBT folks come out of the closet, and more and more straight people accept us. So they lash out, without stopping to consider how much pain they’re causing.

Instead of cursing them and calling them names (tempting as that might be), we need to do what we can to allay their fears and assure them that we’re no threat to them, their marriages, their families or their religion. We believe in families just as much as they do. We just want our own families to be respected, too. Our goal is not to destroy families, but to reunite them.

In the end, we’re going to win this battle. I have no doubt of that. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” So let’s be gracious in victory, starting right now. The thing we need to understand, and that we need to help our opponents understand, is that this is not a zero-sum game. When we emerge the winners, they will not be losers. They’ll win, too. All families will be stronger, including theirs. They may not see that yet, but in time they will.

In the meantime, let’s all try to refrain from name-calling.

Letters Toxic Avengers

In 2005 nine people died and 540 were hospitalized when a train carrying a tanker of chlorine gas crashed in Graniteville, S.C. This is appalling considering the fact that safer alternatives already exist for chlorine gas. Why are dangerous chemicals such as this still being used throughout our country in more than 15,000 chemical plants when they are known to cause birth defects, childhood asthma and cancer?

Last year the Department of Homeland Security implemented weak and temporary regulations for dangerous and toxic chemicals and delayed the implementation of stronger, more comprehensive long-term protection. As a citizen of our planet and as the mother of a 2-year-old, I am extremely concerned about this lax legislation that allows the continued use of these lethal chemicals.

Here in New Mexico, there are 18 facilities that each put more than 1,000 children, women and men in danger of serious injury or death in the event of an accident or attack. It only takes one incident to release acutely toxic chemicals in gas form. Our communities deserve to be protected from these entirely unnecessary dangers.

I urge all who are concerned for their health, and that of their friends and families, to demand that the chemical industry use the safer alternatives that already exist for the most harmful chemicals like anhydrous ammonia, hydrogen fluoride, chlorine and sulfur dioxide gases. Please protect our communities. Call your congressperson, sign petitions and get involved.

Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to letters@alibi.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.

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