Understanding thoughts, understanding concerns | Letter

Mar 13, 2017

In the current political climate, and as it echoes through Edmonds, many marginalized groups are anxious and wary of being singled out. We feel that this is one of the factors that contributed to the reactions to the recent Beacon poll about churches and LGBTQ acceptance.

We write this letter as two citizens who initially had very different, very strong reactions to that poll. One of us felt the poll was an inoffensive attempt to assess reader attitudes, and the other thought it was anti-gay.

We didn’t know one another at that point, but chose to meet, to try to understand one another’s thoughts and concerns. We now agree the Beacon’s question was not asked in hate. We agree that it probably could have been worded better. Yet with the raw emotions many of us are feeling, it’s entirely possible that any wording at all would have caused upset and distress.

While we each reacted differently, we felt it was important to try to understand that difference, and we met to talk through our thoughts. Family members questioned our wisdom. There was a risk that we would still disagree, or even leave feeling less understood.

But that didn’t happen. We learned we’re actually much more allied than we are opposed. We just had different initial reactions to the perceived intentions of the poll.

We write this letter because we feel that it is important to step back, sometimes. We each see the world through filters, and we often can’t see those filters ourselves. To actually sit down with someone and have a discussion is very powerful.

We both found great solace and growth in meeting face-to-face. We both ended up finding good in this situation, which could have left us both feeling worse.

During this time when marginalized communities’ rights and acceptance are threatened, it is doubly important to pause and reflect – to not just react. Perhaps it was the intention of the person who stole the pride flag at Edmonds Lutheran Church to divide our community, to splinter it into dysfunction, to name some members of our community as “other.” To allow that, is to buy into fear and hate – the thief wins.

We chose to not allow that to happen, and we created a stronger community by inviting an open dialogue between strangers, who now call each other friends.

Brian Potter
Dawn Parker


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