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COLUMN: Hate is unacceptable in public forums

From the chief

editor-in-chief

Published: Monday, December 2, 2013

Updated: Monday, December 2, 2013 22:12

Just a few days before Thanksgiving, The Utah Statesman received and printed a letter to the editor slamming homosexuality that really put me in a tight spot.

As editor-in-chief, I’m responsible for the opinion section. My policy is to print all the letters I receive, especially when I don’t agree with them. When I received the letter from Michael Jarvis last week, I really questioned whether or not I should print it at all because it was so inflammatory — it would be a different story if I thought it was satire.

The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics states one responsibility of reporters and editors is to “support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.”

I’ve made some controversial decisions this semester and completely understand why some people might think I hate everything that has to do with any population majority or minority at Utah State University, but nothing can summarize my feelings to Jarvis’ letter than that line — especially the word “repugnant.”

I’m no expert on a great many subjects, societal attitudes being one of them. But I can’t help but feel that hate is unacceptable in a modern society: I don’t care what reasons people think they may have. I might even go so far as to say I hate hate — a catch-22 if I’ve ever heard one.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Though I respect his views and his right to have them, Jarvis’ words were silly and distasteful at best.

Jesus Christ, whom Jarvis obviously worships, told his followers to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

While I don’t want to cross into the group of people who will undoubtedly persecute and hate Jarvis for his beliefs, his strongly worded letter seems to indicate a level of persecution and hatred toward members of the LGBT community.

If Jarvis wants to end homosexuality — which is doubtful at best — I think he’s going about it in entirely the wrong way.

Tavin Stucki is the editor in chief of The Utah Statesman. His articles have won awards and appeared in numerous news publications throughout Utah. Send any comments to statesmaneditor@aggiemail.usu.edu.

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