Letter - Difference is a virtueAlexandria, though at times I am loath to admit, is a wonderful place to call home. I have not, however, lived under the pretense that my hometown is the Garden of Eden.
To the editor:
Alexandria, though at times I am loath to admit, is a wonderful place to call home. I have not, however, lived under the pretense that my hometown is the Garden of Eden. Growing up, one thing has become increasingly obvious: If there is one thing you do not want to be in Alexandria, it is “different.”
Though our culture seems to have a problem partaking in honest discussions about race, I am not afraid to admit that it was at times difficult understanding myself as an African American person in a predominantly white community. I was blessed to have family and friends for whom the color of one’s skin was not nearly as important as the content of one’s character.
Whether or not these same support systems exist within the community for those who are different in other ways is questionable. A recent letter in the Echo Press suggested that people ought to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America because of the decision to allow the ordaining of pastors in monogamous same-sex relationships. The authors said this decision “is a travesty upon our youth.”
The real travesty lies not with the ELCA. Instead, the real shame lies on those in the community and the world at large who cloak their fear of difference with the image of protecting young people.
There exists an opportunity for Alexandria to truly be an ally for young people. While it’s at times easy to think that gay people, those practicing religions other than Christianity, and ethnic minorities do not live here, it’s untrue. These people are our colleagues, neighbors and friends.
To anyone in Alexandria who may be wrestling with parts of his or her identities that are not readily understood or accepted, I have one hope: Realize that you are valued and loved. Difference is a virtue, not a vice.
(Jefferson High School Class of 2006)