I am writing this letter in response to Tyler Wittman's most recent religious rant. In his Nov. 29 column, Tyler attempted to put a kinder and gentler face on homophobia. It didn't work. I believe his faith-based discrimination is a symptom of a larger and more pressing issue. The issue I am talking about is religious extremism. People like Tyler feel they have a mandate from God to preach, judge and legislate their version of Christian values to the rest of us. It is my opinion that if you truly believe in democracy and freedom, you must accept that people with differing opinions and lifestyles are entitled to equal rights. Those in our society that believe freedom should be conditional based on religious beliefs, skin color or sexual orientation do not truly embrace the principles of Jeffersonian Democracy. They embrace a dangerous and self-serving version of democracy that conveniently empowers them at the expense of those they disagree with. It wasn't until Bush was re-elected on a pro-war and anti-gay platform that I began to see religious extremism as a potential threat to core principles of American society. I hope that all fiscal conservatives and liberals that agree with my assertion stand up, talk back and oppose the political agenda of the religious extremists that have hijacked the Republican Party. Because the future of the American dream is dependent upon the choices we make today.
James C. Carlson