A year prior to our daughter's graduation from Tulane University, Ellen DeGeneres spoke during the ceremony, followed by Anderson Cooper, who delivered the commencement address. It was a pleasure to be a member of the audience of this widely respected journalist.
We would have been appalled and angry if either of these speakers had been excluded or pressured to relinquish their role based on their outspoken personal beliefs, sexual orientation or alternative lifestyle ("Hopkins looking for replacement for Carson," April 12).
Dr. Ben Carson is an inspiring professional who has dedicated many years of his professional life to Johns Hopkins University. He is a brilliant, class act raised by an equally amazing mother. Dr. Carson exercised his First Amendment right while remaining true to his personal beliefs. For that, neither he nor anyone else should apologize.
What distinguished Dr. Carson was his ability to apologize for any discomfort or pain he may have caused others due to a less than ideal delivery. He is a true gentleman and empathetic person who stepped aside to allow Hopkins to employ a speaker suited to a much narrower world view, and that represented a missed opportunity for us all.
I have reread Dr. Carson's quote many times and fail to see where he made any comparison between gay marriage and bestiality. He simply stated several alternatives that, in his view, do not accord with his personal view of marriage, along with his belief that no group has the right "to change the definition of marriage."
Dr. Carson is as entitled to express his beliefs as are Ms. DeGeneres and Mr. Cooper. The personal beliefs and lifestyles of these outstanding individuals should have no bearing on their suitability as commencement speakers.
The Johns Hopkins University students and administrators have demonstrated a lack of tolerance for the diversity, inclusion and respect that should be the tenets of a Johns Hopkins education.
Sharon L. Rosen, BaltimoreCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun