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Pastor’s stance stirs debate via letters to the editor

WICHITA, Kan. (BP)–Like any controversy, Kansas pastor Terry Fox’s stance against homosexual Big Brothers and Big Sisters is being debated via letters to the editor.

Among those opposed to Fox’s stance is a Methodist minister, Gayla Rapp, of Wichita’s University United Methodist Church.

“Pedophilia is a mental disorder,” she wrote to The Wichita Eagle. “Homosexuality is not a mental disorder according to fact sheets published by the American Psychiatric Association. Further, the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests ‘there is no medical evidence to suggest an association between homosexuality and impaired moral judgment’ (The Pediatric Forum, March 2001).

“The choice to express one’s sexuality in a moral or immoral way is not determined by sexual orientation,” Rapp continued. “It is determined by individuals who choose to express their sexuality in ways that are healthy, appropriate and life-affirming.

“The young people of Wichita and Kansas are cherished gifts from God,” she wrote in her concluding paragraph. “The adults who mentor children must exhibit qualities of compassion and caring — all within a morally appropriate relationship. People must be judged not by their sexual orientation but by their ability to honor and keep appropriate moral boundaries.”

Among those who supported Fox in his stance voiced from the pulpit of Wichita’s Immanuel Baptist Church, Richard Grace of Wichita wrote:

“If [Big Brothers Big Sisters] policy has been to segregate male mentors from young girls and female mentors from boys, why all of the sudden does Kansas Big Brother president Nick Mork and the rest of the ‘politically correct’ folks at the organization believe it’s OK to allow a big brother or big sister who is interested in their own sex to ‘shepherd’ an innocent child of the same sex?

“I am not saying that all homosexual mentors would harm a child of the same sex — but some may, just as some straight mentors could be tempted to violate a child of the opposite sex,” Grace wrote, asking, “Would you take that risk with your child?

“It’s time for those Americans who are confused to recheck their priorities. Having only two choices on this issue, we must defend our children rather than placate the gay-rights movement,” Grace concluded.

Among other letters to the editor:

— “There is a greater good here than the permissive tolerance of accepting volunteers regardless of sexual orientation,” M. Kathleen Noller of Wichita wrote. “The greater good is obvious: the safety and protection of innocent children who do not need to be placed in an abnormal situation promoted by an organization that obviously does not have the strength, courage or autonomy to stand on solid, God-fearing values in the face of losing support from a sick national organization.

“Please, in the names of innocent children, the local organization should take a step back and re-evaluate the local program and policy. Officials should consider separating the local group from the national program, giving it another name, and continuing the excellent service it has provided to the children of Sedgwick County for so many years, without homosexual volunteers,” Noller concluded.

— Noting that she has “a huge problem with the Rev. Terry Fox and other church leaders contesting gay and lesbian mentors in Big Brothers Big Sisters,” Elizabeth Hahn of Wichita wrote, “Isn’t part of our religious leaders’ duties to teach love, understanding and tolerance? People who take it upon themselves to judge others will have a lot of explaining to do come judgment day.”

— “The officials of Big Brothers Big Sisters found homosexual mentors for young children inappropriate in the past,” Kerry Clinkenbeard of Wichita observed. “Now that the national organization has been taken over by pro-gay and lesbian supporters, suddenly homosexuals are OK.

“Despite bland assurances from self-serving bureaucrats, when sexual predators are given access to kids, sexual abuse is inevitable. The sad experience of the Catholic Church is proof of that. Also, sexual abuse is easier for organizations to ignore or cover up than to deal with. This is the ugly reality behind the facade of ‘gay rights,’ Clinkenbeard wrote.

— Rather than calling for an exodus from Big Brothers Big Sisters because of alleged dangers posed by homosexual mentors, Stan K. Rogers of Wichita wrote, “A reasonable response for the Rev. Fox, if he believes this to be fact and he cares about mentoring children, would be for him to double his effort to have his congregation give even more support to Big Brothers.”

— “How encouraging it is to notice there is at least one courageous minister in Wichita who is bold enough to publicly tell the truth about the dangers of opening youth organizations to homosexual leadership,” Don Roe of Wichita wrote. “Wichita and our nation need more ‘wise Foxes’ who are willing to support and teach clear, biblical, moral principles.

“One Sodom and Gomorrah in human history is too many. And that one, no doubt, came about little by little,” Roe wrote.

— “Conservative Christians who are turning away from the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization in droves seem to believe the best way to contribute to a child’s welfare (as they see it) is to leave them with no mentors at all,” Nate Railsback of Wichita wrote.

“The logical choice would be to press their applications for mentorship all the harder, in order to squeeze out the few gays and lesbians who want to be a part of the program. Instead, they’re simply leaving a gaping void in the program that their newly admitted foes will be sure to fill.

“Thank you, bigots, for refusing to influence any more young minds with your hatred and narrow views,” Railsback wrote.