After reading Gregory A. Clark’s opinion feature “Broken Bridge” [June 7, City Weekly], I am writing to share my experience with Clark at the Pride Parade.
I marched with the Mormons Building Bridges group and was approached by Clark to answer some questions. What followed was not in any way an “interview,” or even anything remotely resembling a conversation. Clark simply told me that as a Mormon, I must support killing gays. Since the Bible condoned killing gays, I must either believe the Bible or believe that God was wrong.
When I tried to explain that I believe that God loves everyone and that fallible humans sometimes do horrible things in God’s name, I was quickly cut off with a rant about how I, again, must support killing gays because I am a religious person. Nuance must be something lost on Clark, who seems to see the world only through the lens of his own black & white paradigm (Mormons = gay killers).
I found myself listening to what I assumed was a madman ranting about my desire to murder gays. When I tried to correct him, I was again interrupted. I was disturbed to see that Clark seemed to be writing down “believes the Bible was correct about killing gays” next to my name as if he were quoting me instead of his own incoherent ramblings.
I was horrified that my name could be associated with something I do not believe or support. I can only imagine how Erika Munson and Kendall Wilcox must feel after reading their “quotes” in Clark’s article. If their experience was remotely similar to mine, they were misquoted and misrepresented.
After a few more minutes of listening to Clark argue with himself about organized religion, each moment stepping closer and closer to me while aggressively waving his arms, I noticed a police officer moving toward me. I assume the officer saw Clark as a potential threat to my safety. Clark must have noticed him as well, since he abruptly ended our “interview” and scuttled off.
If Clark had taken a few moments to listen to me instead of lecturing me, he would have learned that despite our religious differences, we share considerable common ground. I, too, believe that simply marching in a parade and pledging to love members of the LGBT community is not enough. I support legalizing marriage for all members of society and providing equal rights for all. However, to use a familiar cliché, I do not believe that Rome was built in a day. I saw my participation in the Pride Parade as a steppingstone leading to equal rights for all citizens. We start with love and acceptance, and use those as a guiding force in our fight for equality.
The bridge isn’t broken—it simply isn’t finished yet. I can believe that change will happen within society, and I can believe that my church is capable of change, as well. People do horrible things in the name of religion, but they also do wonderful things. I sincerely hope that all religious people, regardless of creed, can come to the conclusion that supporting equality is the best way to live their religion. At the Pride Parade, I did my best to show the LGBT community that I support them. Clark was busy harassing people and writing a disingenuous article. Who did more to improve the human condition?
I am disappointed that a publication I admire and respect would publish the work of such a shoddy writer. To quote another religious leader who believed in equality: “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.