Up until a week ago, I would not have been able to pick out the cast of Duck Dynasty from a lineup with the members of ZZ Top. The homophobic and racist remarks of a reality TV star are about as newsworthy as Kim Kardashian's baby bump. The network that pays their salary has just as much right to stand up for its standards as does the show's star.

What I find offensive and unacceptable is a recent writer using this incident, and the Christmas season, to call homosexuals liars, thieves and fornicators. By the most conservative estimates, 3.8 percent of the American population is gay or lesbian. While some sources report a higher number, the idea that being LGBT is simply a lifestyle choice has been thoroughly discounted by all legitimate researchers.

In his letter, Mr. Wimsatt clearly acknowledges that these people were created by God. So, did God screw up? Is one out of every 25 individuals created defective in regards to sexual orientation? When one considers all the known congenital abnormalities that exist, there seems to be a serious quality control issue with us humans. I don't hear anybody blaming all of these other problems on God.

Even more disturbing is the belief that it is somehow acceptable to denigrate a portion of our society by blindly adhering to religious dogma. While Jesus never directly refers to individuals with a same-sex attraction, his commandments are very clear. In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." As a matter of fact, Jesus says that it is through demonstrating this love that the world will recognize his disciples (John 13:34). I believe the message of the New Testament is acceptance, not condemnation.

I for one am glad to be living in this era of growing recognition of the LGBT communities. Gay marriage is now legal in 18 states. More and more churches are embracing their gay and lesbian congregants. Gays from 46 nations can now openly serve in their country's military, and the world has not ended.

Even the leader of the Catholic church, Pope Francis, has said, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?"

Who are we to judge? I think Matthew 7 might give us the answer to that question.

Thomas Scanlan

Westminster

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