Letter: Charlotte McConnell, Sterling

Editor:   There seems to be some concerns regarding my participation in a Better Angels workshop that is taking place at Patrick Henry College. I raised my concerns about having this workshop at Patrick Henry College with the main event organizer. I know that it has been much easier to get Democrats/Blues to participate then Republicans/Red. I have found the blues to be more outgoing. The blues would be more inclined to attend an event in a red location than vice versa.

Let me be clear and state that this workshop is not being organized by Patrick Henry College, but by a handful of young students who attend PHC. I have recruited two members of the LGBT community to participate and have made sure they are aware of PHC’s anti-LGBT beliefs. I think it is important to work with people and expose them to those who are different from them in order to dispel myths they might have about that particular community. Better Angels is not about changing minds but finding common ground. I do not expect PHC to change their anti-LGBT ways but perhaps a few of their students will be able to understand that our LGBT community are equals.

We need to remember that religious freedom in America also includes freedom from religion. This includes imposing your religious beliefs on a segment of our population because your religion interprets marriage in a limiting way. Or because your religion condemns their actions. That is your religion, not mine. You cannot subject others to living by your religious views. Isn’t that why people got on boats almost 400 years ago escaping religious persecution? I believe love is beautiful and you should be able to love yourself and be free to love who you love.

Better Angels does not have any connections with the Heritage Foundation. I think it is important to focus on individuals and not large organizations. I think there is plenty of work to be done depolarizing the middle of the spectrum that reaching out to the extremes does not make sense. LGBT rights are not an extremist idea. I think we all need to have a foundation of equality for all. Or we need to work with people in the hopes of bringing them to this understanding. Or at least bringing people in contact with those they advocate against to see the humanity in that person. This can only be done through face to face interactions.

I hope that I can be seen as having a reputation for working with people who do not always share my ideals. I think it is necessary for Republicans and Democrats to work together to move this country forward. I also think there are very few opportunities for people with differing opinions to speak with each other. This is something that polarizes us. Lack of exposure to those with differing opinions, an unwillingness to listen, and the ease of posting to social media and arguing have brought us to these Polarized Sates of America. We must work together to be united.

Charlotte McConnell, Sterling

3 thoughts on “Letter: Charlotte McConnell, Sterling

  • 2018-03-22 at 2:43 pm
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    As I read this letter I came across a number of “triggering” words and thoughts. In its entirety the letter seems to adopt the same old leftist narrative that Christians are judgmental, stuck in their dogma, and must be taught to accept and condone the morals and values of their “betters”. Meanwhile the “betters” expose their own judgment, their own dogma, and their own unwillingness to accept the morals and values of those with whom they disagree.

    Charlotte McConnell wants to “expose them (presumably PHC students) to those who are different from them in order to dispel myths they might have” but then in the very next sentence says (she and) “Better Angels is not about changing minds”. So which is it?

    She speaks against “imposing your religious beliefs on a segment of our population” but seems all too willing to impose her own (dare I say anti-religious) beliefs on the entire population. Isn’t this what she implies when she speaks of “moving this country forward” or “work together to be united”? I cannot imagine she would settle for anything less than full support by all Americans of whatever she deems to be LGBT rights. Anything less would not be moving forward or being united, at least in her mind.

    She refers to Patrick Henry College (PHC) as “anti-LGBT”. I have no affiliation with PHC but it seems this inflammatory phrase (“anti-LGBT”) would be akin to me calling Ms McConnell “anti-Christian” or even “anti-American”. She might argue that she is not against Christianity, she just has problems with some or many of the beliefs or perhaps some or many of the Christians she has met in her life. So why call PHC “anti-LGBT”, and how do you intend to break bread when you start right out with an inflammatory phrase that just exposes your agenda.

    I respect her desire to reach across the aisle, but it is disingenuous. Ultimately it demands the reach come from only one direction. She might initiate it, which is laudable, but the final outcome she is pursuing is that Christians deny their faith and their God. This is not just about LGBT issues, it is also about life, the freedom to exercise your faith, the freedom of thought and of speech, and the right to not be compelled by the government or by a mob to act against your faith. Try compromising with that.

  • 2018-03-24 at 2:07 pm
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    drymillrd, I believe “triggering words” are masterful use of your imagination. I go to church every Sunday and I believe in love. Jesus, or the god of your understanding, believes in love. What the world needs is more Charlotte McConnells and less sanctimonious pious hypocrites like yourself. You dissected and found exactly what you wanted to find. Your Imagination ran rampart. Are you afraid to love others that are different from you? Are you afraid to even try? What is it you are actually trying to accomplish by denigrating Charlotte? Nice try, but I do not buy it.

  • 2018-03-28 at 10:31 am
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    admiralhall: And what exactly are you trying to accomplish by denigrating me? You see, you are making my point. You speak of love as if you are better at it than the people who disagree with you (or Charlotte). You call me a hypocrite, not because I fail to follow what I believe but because I do not follow what you believe (or perhaps because I do not follow what you think I should believe).

    By the way, I do not accept your premise that my earlier response was “denigrating Charlotte”. I was being critical of her arguments. People use words like unity and moving forward and love, but it is almost always on their own terms. Free speech is great as long as you don’t say anything that offends me. Freedom of religion is fine as long as you practice it in the privacy of your home or church. What I hear from Charlotte’s argument is that if you do not subscribe to the LGBT narrative then you are anti-LGBT, and that is unacceptable because it is not moving forward and apparently not loving. You continue that argument by asking if I am “afraid to love others that are different from you”. Talk about sanctimonious pious.

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