‘Ignorance is bliss’ mentality will worsen woes

A campus-wide email that went out a couple of weeks ago reminded students that actions of hate have no place at Whitworth.

With many students and others in denial that hate even takes place at Whitworth, this email also served as a reminder that our community is not immune.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had conversations with students who say that sexual assaults don’t happen at Christian colleges.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had someone tell me that gay students don’t face hate speech here.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a student say Whitworthians are never judged for their religious beliefs.

The problem is, those things do happen at Whitworth. I have known victims of hateful speech and action, and have been on the receiving end of hateful speech a few times myself.

The problem grows deeper each time we turn a blind eye. Ignoring the shortcomings of our campus simply allows hate to proliferate in our community.

Part of the liberal arts learning experience is engaging with people who don’t share all of your values. This can create an environment in which we can safely question our commitments, explore and seek truth and learn to respect our fellow man.

Ultimately, diversity within our educational community allows us to gain a broader understanding of our world.

When we allow violence and anger to usurp that role of education, we bastardize our education. Verbal and physical violence threaten the safety of our community, and make questioning and exploration much more difficult.

When members of our community are made to feel inferior, their voices are silenced and our education becomes narrower. If we intend to preserve our education and our institution, we must first acknowledge our imperfections.

We must acknowledge that sexual violence happens at Whitworth.

We must acknowledge that minority students face adversity and hate speech.

We must acknowledge that people are judged and cast aside because of their faith at our institution.

We must acknowledge that, as a campus with various diversities, we also have various disagreements that have the capacity to help or harm our community.

We must become aware of the possibility of educational value in our disagreements.

I’ve heard the argument that awareness doesn’t solve anything but I disagree. Awareness solves the issue of ignorance, and we can only begin to seek solutions to bigger problems when our ignorance has been cured.

If we never realize the issue at hand, how will we ever begin to remedy the situation?

Awareness will serve as a catalyst for solutions to the problems our campus faces.

Once we learn to acknowledge our shortcomings, we will be able to begin to brainstorm ways to combat our problems.

If we refuse to admit that our campus isn’t perfect, then we will never feel the urgency to solve the problems that plague our institution. Lindsie Trego

Trego is a junior majoring in journalism and mass communication and English. Comments can be sent to lwagner14@my.whitworth.edu.

Same-sex marriage not an issue of equal rights

Although abortion used to be the most prominent social issue, gay marriage has taken over, sharply dividing the nation. Some, including Julian Bond, head of the NAACP, have likened efforts to legalize gay marriage to the black civil rights movement of the 1960s. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic National Committee Chair, called gay marriage “the civil rights issue of our generation.”  Closer examination, however, reveals that the real question goes far beyond civil rights. In order to be a civil rights violation, discrimination must take place.

On the surface, prohibiting gay marriage appears to be a civil rights violation. However, the first thing to note is that there is no absolute right to marriage, let alone to marry the person whom you love. In an article for the Gospel Coalition, Voddie Baucham, Pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, points out that “people who are already married, 12-year-olds, and people who are too closely related are just a few categories of people routinely and/or categorically denied the right to marry.” None of these restrictions are viewed as civil rights violations.

Second, the ability to marry extends equally to both heterosexuals and homosexuals. A heterosexual male has the right to marry a female, not another male. A homosexual male is in the exact same position. Thus, permitting gay marriage does not equalize rights, but creates new rights specifically for homosexuals.  The real issue is not whether homosexuals are being discriminated against under current law, but whether the definition of marriage itself should be changed to extend new rights to homosexual couples. As Baucham points out, “homosexuals have never been denied the right to marry. They simply haven’t had the right to redefine marriage.” The 2009 Iowa Supreme Court Case Varnum v. Brien provides an excellent example. In this case, the Court overturned Iowa’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, although the Court admitted that Iowa’s “marriage statute does not expressly prohibit gay and lesbian persons from marrying; it does, however, require that if they marry, it must be to someone of the opposite sex.” This view does not rectify civil discrimination, it overturns the definition of marriage.

Admittedly, it is possible for same-sex couples to be denied certain privileges because they are not married. However, many states, including Washington, have allowed for civil unions. Supporters of same-sex marriage contend this is not enough and want Washingtonians to approve Referendum 74 this November, which would legalize gay marriage in the state.  However, approving the Referendum “would offer gay couples no additional state right or benefits beyond what they now have under the domestic-partnership law, other than the right to marry,” according to Lornet Turnbull of the Seattle Times.  James Skillen of the Center for Public Justice explains that “the question behind marriage, in other words, is a structural one that precedes lawmaking.” According to an article by Skillen, only after we determine the definition of marriage “can civil rights considerations emerge about how citizens should be treated fairly with respect to marriage.” The real question, then, is: what is marriage? This question transcends the law’s ability to solve. It is a question that pertains to the nature and purpose of humanity itself. In the end, this is a moral and religious issue, and it is to these sources that we must turn for the answer.

Story by Maxford Nelsen Columnist

Nelsen is a senior majoring in political science. Comments can be sent to mnelsen13@my.whitworth.edu.