In the Sept 20 issue, the Rev. Ken Pardue addressed two issues that he stated were hurting the “Biblical family.” What constitutes the “Biblical family?” The definition changes frequently in biblical references and includes the nuclear family and outright polygamy. Which one is considered Biblical? Which is considered a social construct or a legal contract to bond property and inheritance rights?

I’d also like to ask a question about the homosexual lifestyle. How many homosexuals in Wilkes County do you know? And what about their “lifestyle” upsets you? Are you opposed to brunch? Decorating for seasons too early? Dressing nicely to take pride in one’s appearance? Committing to a loving relationship based on mutual respect? What about these things are you opposed to? I have several friends in gay relationships and my questions include: If you don’t go to bed until after 3 a.m., why did you marry a morning person? Are they treating you well and with the love and respect you deserve? Have they cooked for you yet? When do I get to meet them?

There are several LGBT members of our community who aren’t in any relationships because it’s a small group demographically, and quite diverse in preference. A 2017 Gallup poll estimates that about 4.5% of the U.S. population identifies as a member. Applying those numbers to the suggested estimate of 68,000 people in Wilkes County indicates that about 3,000 people in the county identify as LGBT. That’s still a significant amount of diversity and a community Wilkes should consider nurturing and recognizing. These are our neighbors, friends, family, travelers, coworkers, customers and fellow children of God. Try all you like, but they’re part of society and aren’t going anywhere, like 1 Samuel 18.

Addressing your second issue, what do you have against women maintaining their own bodily autonomy? Are you opposed to individual liberty? If not, to decrease the amount of abortions would you be willing to seek legal and punitive measures for men who father such children? Are you an advocate of personal responsibility or are you only concerned specifically with controlling women? Women are allowed to have whatever healthcare they determine necessary. These typically aren’t babies they’re aborting, but, rather, zygotes and fetuses. There is a huge difference in development. Ending the pregnancy of a fully formed baby is simply premature birth. Women who choose that option of prematurely ending their pregnancy in the third trimester aren’t doing it for convenience. The process is typically the product of consultations with the doctor, family and religious advisors because carrying the pregnancy to full term could kill the mother, the baby is malformed and won’t live after birth, or both.

The best way to reduce the number of abortions has been to make all forms of birth control legal and free. Colorado did that in 2009. Overall teen abortion rates fell 54%, teen pregnancy dropped 64%, and for every $1 the state paid in birth control, it kept $5.84 that would’ve been used for healthcare and government assistance. Are you wanting higher taxes to feed, clothe and shelter these children? Do you want unwanted children to live years in the foster care system? Or are you simply opposed to abortion being legal whatsoever? Where does that come from? The Bible is full of examples that prove the death of a fetus is permissable (Exodus 22) and an abortion can be provided (Numbers 5). The rest of the Old Testament is filled with prophecies and recollections of how God allowed the death of children as punishment, too. If your only rebuttal is to quote Jeremiah, a later prophet, note that it isn’t law. In Israel today, women can get an abortion on-demand in Jerusalem or any major Israeli city. Life happens at birth in Judaism, not at conception.

If you’re really concerned with living a Biblical life and want others to do so, I recommend loving everyone unconditionally and doing your level best to help the poor and needy. Throwing shade at people different than you for who they love, or because they had to make an impossible decision isn’t the way. You can’t simultaneously judge and love someone. That isn’t love. The rest of us have decided to move on and love ourselves and others, to celebrate our differences, and learn how to grow as individuals, a people and a community.

MATTHEW BROOKS,

Roaring River, N.C.

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