To the editor:
An open letter to the Grace Community Church and Marblehead townspeople:
I am writing today as a disheartened individual and community member. We are all aware of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment, violence and legislation rising across the country; however, I’m deeply dismayed to see this happening in our own community.
I’m writing today as an ally, who holds an incredible amount of privilege. I do not fear judgment or for my safety when expressing proudly who I am, walking down the street or introducing myself to new people.
However, many members of the LGBTQ+ community — our community — do. And the actions made by Grace Community Church, removing pride flags, is an example as to why.
The pride flag is a symbol of love, belonging, acceptance and celebration of difference. At the end of the day, I hope that is something as a community we can unite on. Love. Acceptance. Celebration of difference. Belonging.
Those not only should be the values of our community, but also the Christian faith. There is nothing shameful about the pride flag. There is nothing shameful about celebrating love. There is nothing shameful about proudly being who you are.
There is, however, shame in diminishing someone’s life experience. I wonder where in your Christian faith exclusionary practices fall? Above loving thy neighbor or below? Who are we to throw stones?
Faith comes in all walks of life, action or inaction, acceptance or discrimination. Hate comes in all walks of life, under the surface or out in the daylight, mostly I believe rooted in fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of difference.
I don’t know your thought process behind the action taken to remove the pride flags. I don’t know if your intention was to signal that you do not accept the LGBTQ+ community. However, to many, including myself, that’s exactly how those actions are received.
I’d like you, and all of us as a Marblehead community, to ask ourselves: Why is flying the pride flag — why is signaling your support for this community — such a controversial action? Why is celebrating someone’s love who may look a little different than yours so scary? Why is supporting love not something we can all unite for?
It is your right as a church to do as you wish. This is a community and country that values difference, opposing opinions and healthy debate. However, as a town — and as a faith community especially — I would hope that love is not something that divides but unites us.
It is my right as a member of this community to stand on the side of love when hate is rising around every corner. I do not believe I stand alone in this sentiment. And I do have faith that love will win.