Daily Universe letter to the editor sparks controversy
Mention the show “Modern Family” at BYU, and you’re bound to start some arguments.
The show concludes each episode with sentimental music as the characters reflect on the lessons they learned about love, family unity and forgiveness. BYU students eat family values like that up. It should be the perfect show for a student body such as ours, except for one little thing … there’s a gay couple on the show. A gay couple who adopted a kid.
The debates that have raged in dorm rooms and classrooms about “Modern Family” for months erupted across the opinion page of the Daily Universe recently. Senior Alex Hairston acknowledged the Church’s stance on homosexuality, but he also wondered if two loving gay parents raising a child was all that bad in a letter to the editor last week. Since then, several have been published in response.
One in particular struck a nerve. Taylor Petty, a student from North Carolina, disagreed that homosexuals are fit to be parents.
“Just as if we wouldn’t want a child to grow up with a prostitute for a mother or a serial killer for a father, we shouldn’t accept a lesbian, gay or transgender parental model for young people,” he said in his letter (some of the text from Petty’s letter has been removed from the site, but can still be accessed on the PDF by scrolling down to the third page).
Regardless of your opinions on gay adoption and parenting, words like that are unproductive, offending those that disagree and failing to bring legitimacy to your argument.
I assumed most students would feel the same way, and in the coming days, students would respond to Petty in their own letters to the editor. I mean, no one would take this seriously, right? Most people would just roll their eyes when they read it I thought. But no, people took it seriously.
A few hours after posting a link to the letter on social media sites, I was surprised at the thread of comments that had sprouted as well as how many other students had posted the link. As of Friday morning, Petty’s letter was shared online more than 3,100 times. The viral nature of its spread brings to mind Michelle Peralta’s letter to the editor in February when she condemned Jimmermania and earned the wrath of BYU (as well as the attention of ESPN).
While some BYU critics used the letter to deride the university for its closed-minded student body, I see the response of so many upset students as a sign that’s not the case.
Petty used the phrase “love the sinner and hate the sin” in his letter, but so many BYU students understand how hollow those words are when their gay brothers and sisters are compared to prostitutes and serial killers. Their anger over such language is in line with LDS Church spokesman Michael Otterson who spoke out against “acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different” a year ago. Otterson called on Latter-day Saints and others to be sensitive to the “vulnerable in society” and speak out against bullying and intimidation whenever it occurs, including “unkindness toward those who are attracted to the same gender.”
Some BYU students support gay adoption and parenting while some are opposed. Some like “Modern Family” while others prefer(red) “Community.” I think there might even be some who still watch “The Office” like it’s 2009. We have our differences, but as Christians, we can be united in our responsibility to love one another.
Photo courtesy ABC.