Re: The search for common ground, Burnaby NOW, July 29. Thanks to assistant editor Julie MacLellan for seeking much needed common ground regarding policy 5.45. I have also found it the combative language distressing and, to put it mildly, not helpful. For that reason, I have invited some opponents and proponents of the policy to my home to sit and eat and talk together, in the hope of reducing the tendency to make people into "others" not worthy of any hearing that MacLellan observes.
I plan to do more. The public use of name-calling is a very alarming aspect of this. The routine use of various "-phobe" terms is one form of name-calling through logic-circumventing, "ad hominem" personal attack. To disagree about God or sex or anything is not necessarily indicative of fear or a phobia - a mental illness.
And why do we think its fine to display disdain for those who do suffer from phobias anyway? In short, the "-phobe" terms are the equivalent to "that's so
gay," "lame," "bastard," "loser," "fatty," "four eyes" and all the other terms of nonendearment.
Most commentators have focused - or fixated - on the homosexual/gay/lesbian aspect of policy 5.45. However, the policy is not solely concerned with these. The policy is also intended to inculcate acceptance of sex-related orientations, relationships, and conduct that are explicitly intentionally undefined: "queer" and "+".
Those who endorse 5.45 and seek common ground could help by addressing some issues. Can anyone clarify what conduct is included under "queer" and "+"?
Are there any sex-related orientations, relationships, or conduct that should not be positively portrayed in schools to kids from kindergarten to Grade 12 (as 5.45 requires)?
And, if there are any limits, on what principles should they be based?
For example, some Christian denominations hold that commitment and human love are the basis of sexual ethics.
Thus, they support same-sex sex but only within exclusive, committed, twoperson, non-degrading, loving relationships. But they find considerable common ground with others who reject "hookups," promiscuity, polygamy, infidelity, bestiality, child-adult, incest, group sex, porn, coercion, S&M, exhibitionism, prostitution, etc.
In short: Do you draw any line? If so, where and why?
Hoping that this helps get the discussion past the polarization.
H. Ward, Burnaby