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Local Acton "liberals" step up the venom - intimidation campaign against critics of "Laramie Project."

NOVEMBER 2, 2007. Every community has them. People with such deep hostility to anyone with traditional religious values that they come out of the woodwork to attack them whenever an attempt is made at honest dialogue. The result? Fear of speaking out -- as we all sink deeper into the cultural muck.

Last week, Acton parent Amy Contrada had to persuade the local newspaper, the Acton Beacon, to even publish a watered-down version of her op-ed article about parents' concerns regarding the local high school's production of "The Laramie Project." Here's what appeared -- a reasonable description of what is happening:

COLUMN: ‘Laramie’ undermines parental rights (10/24/07)


And in this week's issue, the reaction was swift. Here are some of the letters from the letters page:

This man is so enraged and full of, well, hate that he feels the need to demonize everyone he can think of. Like many such letters, it's full of logical inconsistencies because normal logic won't get him where he wants to go.

Religion twisted in debate
To the editor:

Amy Contrada’s commentary “Laramie undermines parental rights” of Oct. 25 would be laughable if it weren’t filled with such vile, hateful, and homophobic rhetoric. The fear that exudes from her commentary is almost palpable.

As far as undermining parental rights, every parent as the right, and the responsibility, to guide their children as they see fit. For many of us, that also means teaching our children respect and love. Has anyone else but me noticed that often, attacks on the LGBT community come from people who profess to be members of religious organizations? Dobson and Phelps are perfect examples. The seeds of hate are planted in our children by what we, as parents, teach our children — not by high school plays. And, the seeds of love are planted by our examples and how we model behavior to our children.

“The Laramie Project” is the perfect example of how we can begin to understand and teach our children that the world if full of diversity, and every person is entitled to our respect. It never ceases to amaze me how the teachings of Jesus can be used to encourage fear and hate. Jesus’ embrace always got bigger to include, no smaller to exclude.

I for one am excited that our small community has the guts to tackle this difficult and painful subject. We live in a big, wide world. It does none of us any good to ignore the suffering and discrimination around us. The way to overcome our fear is to look it straight in the eye and try to understand it. Not hide behind words, or worse yet, religion. I believe the words are “love your God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself…” not … “except the homosexuals.”

Mark B Robel

This woman takes another standard approach to demean critics. This is the "gentler" way of twisting what the article actually said and mixing in bogus "facts", with a dash of sanctimonious jabs at morality and religious belief.

Acton, Mass. - Preference is genetic
To the editor:

I just finished reading the guest commentary by Amy Contrada [“Laramie” undermines parental rights,” Oct. 25 edition] about her strong objections to the “The Laramie Project” and I felt I needed to respond to what I consider the most important part of her commentary: the belief that homosexuality is abnormal and needs to be opposed.

I have known many openly gay individuals in my life and I don’t see abnormal or immoral. Anyone can act immorally but being gay has nothing to do with it. The gay individuals that I have met have always known they were gay, from childhood. They were born gay and have learned to embrace this facet of their individuality, despite living among those who see them as living an immoral lifestyle. They want to live their dreams, find love, have careers and families just like their heterosexual neighbors.

I look forward to a day when children will see homosexuality as a genetic trait that doesn’t need to be corrected, but respected, just like all the other differences that make up the human species. I believe that society is taking steps in this direction and I welcome it.

Amy Kerr
Taylor Road

And of course, there's the lesbian activist "observing" that, thank goodness, these ignorant critics of this wonderful play are just a small minority -- hurtful, extremists. And won't it be great when we all embrace homosexuality and we can put all these controversies behind us?.

Play encourages dialogue
To the editor:

As a member of a two-mom family in Acton, I have been following with a very personal interest the debate over the high school’s production of “The Laramie Project.” I have not seen or read the play before, but I am sure it will be an emotional experience when we attend.

My understanding is that a purpose of the play is to encourage dialogue on what has been a divisive issue. It has accomplished that purpose before the curtain has even gone up. I know that Amy Contrada, [“Laramie Undermines Parental Rights,” Oct. 25 edition] represents a minority view in Acton, but it was still hurtful and personally frightening to read her vilification of my “lifestyle.” Anyone in Acton who laments the controversy caused by this play need only visit her Web site to understand why this play, and the dialogue it engenders, are so necessary.

I am proud of the town, the high school and the drama program for having the courage to produce this program. They did this knowing the extreme reactions that might follow and have not wavered despite a determined campaign against it and the threat of protests. I think the town’s reaction as a whole has been commendable. Whatever your viewpoint might be, I encourage everyone to see the play, make up your own mind, and maybe have a dialogue about it.

Mary Bowe-Shulman
Hennessey Drive

These letters are written to intimidate and demonize people who speak out -- or might speak out. And they usually work very well. It's a disgusting, un-American tactic. Don't stand for it in your town.