Letters: Theocracy has dangerous side effects; reflecting on Transgender Day of Remembrance service

Theocracy has horrible side effects

As a Christian who believes that Carroll Countians who follow other religious traditions and practices other than mine can arrive at the same understanding and standard of moral equivalence, I take strong issues with Jeffery Peters’ recent column in the religious section of the Carroll County Times.

Peters claims that "Christ's law" should be the law of the land in America throws out more than the U.S. Constitution's freedoms and safeguards.


He throws out the God-given brains each of us have to reach our our own decisions and vote as a democratic body of searchers.

Theocracy, Mr. Peters, has horrible side effects, centuries of clergy abuse of children and upper echelon cover-up being one of them, which your columns consistently ignore.


Firsthand, the movie “Boy Erased” at Gettysburg's Majestic Theatre is a real life story about so-called "conversion therapy" involving young gay adults.

It is a presentation of the harm and even death whereby false prophets claim authority and absolute power under what I call Kool-Aid thinking theocratic doctrine.

I am sure that, as the learned man you claim to be, you will want to challenge your God-given brain by viewing this film to see for yourself how this spectacular example of religious narrow-mindedness by mere humans leads those to not only mayhem and death, but to hell on earth before your own open eyes.

John D. Witiak

Union Bridge

Transgender people should live without fear or judgment

Days before Thanksgiving, several of us gathered together for a time of reflection and remembrance. Where I wish I would have seen gratitude hope, and peace, I saw pain, fear, and a mixture of anger, sadness, and confusion. Among a frayed group of people — transgender folks, gender-expansive friends, gay, lesbian, queer persons, and their families and allies — I saw brokenness; yet, I heard resilience from their stories. I wondered if they would spend Thanksgiving at tables surrounded by those who would hear their stories.

That evening, in the auxiliary chapel of St. Paul’s UCC, the Transgender Day of Remembrance service provided space for people to share their stories of life as or with a transgender or gender-expansive community member. One such young person, a non-binary adolescent, shared their story of family rejection and their fears of becoming endangered and isolated in their own affirming community. They spoke of how one in two of their transgender friends are likely to attempt and complete suicide.

This was a reference to troubling findings from a recent study conducted by the American Academy of Psychiatry: transgender male teenagers attempt suicide at a rate of 50.8 percent, non-binary teenagers at a rate of 41.8 percent, and transgender females at a rate of 29.9 percent. Despite the harrowing statistics, the saddening testimonies, and the sobering chimes that signaled each transgender person’s lost life in 2018, the end of the service’s tone held a tinge of zeal. There is work to be done. Something needs to change so the transgender folks around us, whether we choose to acknowledge them or not, can lead safer, healthier lives. And, what better time to start this work than during this holiday season — one known for cheerful giving, peace, devotion, and warmth?

This is what you can do to help create positive outcomes for the gender-expansive people around you: Use inclusive language. Using words that affirm and uplift others, including pronouns and names they identify with, can create safety for everyone. Invite others into your space with intent to listen and understand; draw your conclusions after hearing stories from real-life transgender folks. We all must do this work because our actions and words define our communities, and, the fact is, transgender and gender-expansive people live within our communities. They are our neighbors, coworkers, friends, siblings, and children. Let them have their place at the table without fear or judgment.

Corbin Ferguson


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