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Real letter, false logic

March 17, 2010

As a professional reporter, my job is not only to learn the facts and explain them to my readers but to sign my name when I do so. While I take great pride in signing my work and putting it out there for public consumption, some newspaper and web site readers are less ready to be held accountable for what they say.

Recently, well after the publication of my column expressing my displeasure at the New Jersey Senate’s defeat of the marriage equality bill, I received a hand-written letter at the office. With no name or return address, all I can determine about the writer is that he is against marriage equality, that he was born before Dec. 1, 1941, and that he either lives in Northern Burlington County, NJ or follows pro-gay editorials very closely.

Here is what he wrote to me, enclosing an earlier letter we received opposing my column. I’ve translated the acronyms in parentheses, but the letter is otherwise sic:

Dear Geoffrey,

The enclosed Letter to the Editor has to be your worst nightmare after the RN (Register-News) publishing the support editorial for same sex marriages and your own LTTE (Letter to the Editor) lambasting the woman legislator who reneged and voted “nay” against the SSM (Same-Sex Marriage) bill. Same sex marriage will only come through the courts. The people will always be against it.

Don’t ask, don’t tell is being considered for removal. I come from a time when the military was separated and the country was able to win World War Two operating under this system. The Tuskegee Airmen, the black regiments, the women corps, WACS, WAVES, SPARS and WAFS all were separated.

Because there is resentment in commingling, the homosexuals should ask to have their own unit. As for me I would rather spend a 20 year career with people who wanted me as opposed to forcing myself in where I was not welcome.

The Register News shows fairness in publishing the aforementioned letter and should be commended.

Yours truly,

One of the Majority

For completeness, here is the letter to the editor he enclosed, which was published Feb. 11:

Reader agrees with marriage vote

Christine Powell, Medford


Thank you for your article, “Shameful vote on marriage equality,” in which same-sex marriage was denied. What a breath of fresh air to know New Jersey finally did something right. I was beginning to loose all hope for this state, allowing civil unions, and same sex couples to adopt and take in foster children. Do I hate same sex couples? No. However, I do not want to see it in public or in films, being portrayed as an acceptable lifestyle choice, anymore then I would want to see a heroin addict shooting up. We are all born with sin, that we are in need of a savior. The Bible tells us that there are generational sins.
I was born an alcoholic, but by the grace of God I have not drunk for 15 years. When I was actively drinking, I was living in darkness and denial. The rapid spread of the homosexual agenda is confusing the children of this nation. I have seen a rise in depression and behaviors of self-harm (cutting) in the white, suburban neighborhoods. I believe it is directly correlated, in part, to children being confused about their sexual identity (with peer pressure to be “tolerant” and consider bisexual/bi-curious interests).
Every sit-com and movie has at least one token homosexual couple these days. I remember when I was in college, in 1995, a homosexual classmate of mine told me that “we are not going to change this nation from grass-roots, bottom-up movements…we are going to become educated, and become lawyers, and movie producers, and politicians, and judges, and change things from the top up.” I am seeing it, in my lifetime, before my eyes. No good will come of it, so help us God. Thank you NJ Senate. People of New Jersey be vigilant.
Overall, I find the signed letter much more frustrating than the anonymous man’s (and not just because the paper doesn’t cover Medford). Ms. Powell’s displays a bizarre system of logic I’m hard-pressed to follow, but has a definite, dogmatically religious bent and offensively equates being gay to alcoholism, as if who someone loves is a tragic and self-destructive addiction. She also parrots the all-too-common misconception that homosexuality is somehow “catching,” while the evidence points to it being inborn. She believes we should keep ourselves in hiding despite that being another seriously harmful, self-destructive behavior.
But “One of the Majority” (or OOTM) tells me gays and lesbians shouldn’t even try for equal treatment, but just stay separate. He seems to have missed that the U.S. military is now racially integrated and that women have come a very long way, even if they still face some serious inequality on multiple fronts. His logic also goes opposite that of the politician I “lambasted” in my column, New Jersey Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-12), who never said she’d vote our way and told me we’d have wait for marriage like women had to wait for the vote. OOTM seems to think we shouldn’t wait for equality, but just file in line where we’re told and respect the status quo.
Finally, I have to take issue with the idea that I’m afraid of letters to the editor or anonymous missives. I sign my articles every week and make no secret of my identity on this blog, and the evidence clearly shows the tide of public opinion is on the side of equality. I’ll always welcome those who speak their mind to me in a civil way, but when you’re kindly telling me how some people are second-class citizens I’ll be sure to tell you we’re not, and I’ll sign it,
Geoff Wertime
6 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob S. permalink
    March 18, 2010 1:34 pm

    As always, Geoff, well said.

  2. March 19, 2010 9:38 pm

    One thing that’s consistent with the anti-gay right wingers is their blatant inability to understand that correlation does not equal causation.

  3. lypsysworld permalink
    April 7, 2010 8:59 pm

    Dear Geoff:

    Here are some points I would like to add regarding the two letters your received.

    About the first letter:

    – Just noticed me if I am wrong, but the Senate is only a group of people right? I do not know the exact amount, but let’s say 100 senators. Thus, how can a certain group of people can ALWAYS represent the majority in ALL of their decisions? It is impossible. I am then not sure on which majority Mr. “One of the ?Majority?” refers to… Did he ask every people of New Jersey?

    – I am not quite sure of his real goal in writing you this letter. I mean, despite trying to discourage you, did you really learn anything new? Not me at least. But Geoff, the good news is that this feeling that he tried to share you in writing 177 words can be cancelled by this 15-words-sentence only:

    “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    As for the second letter:

    – There is something that is really really bugging me in this letter. Of course, she uses “false logic” and no philosophy at all. But, she talks about God many times in her letter, which is really surprising. Why? Because if she is as religious as she pretends to be, she would know that God is tolerant, open-minded and only wants to give “love” to the population that he calls his brothers. So I would really appreciate if I could know which God she is talking about… :)

    – She also said: “I believe it is directly correlated, in part, to children being confused about their sexual identity”. I do not agree on that point. Everyone is confused about himself one day, and it is great at some point because it makes us evolve and find our real personality. So I think homosexuals can not “depressed” because of being confused, but because they know they will have to face the real world if they really are homosexuals.

    – She said: “Do I hate same sex couples? No.” But she seems to want to do as if they do not exist…! This one made me laughing! She is not that boring, finally! :)

    – “I was born an alcoholic, but by the grace of God I have not drunk for 15 years.” Despite the facts that a lot of factors can increase the risks of being alcoholic, you have to drink in order to be considered as alcoholic. On the opposite, you do not have to do nothing to realise that you are an homosexual. You can only accept the reality. Fake argument then.

    – “No good will come of it, so help us God.” Thank you very much for calling God a second time. Why? Because God is very tolerant so he will just give homosexuals the strenght they need to be accepted in a open-minded society. Thank you, the more I read about you Mrs. Powell, the more I love you… :)

    – “People of New Jersey be vigilant.” Of course we have to be vigilant. Every day, I guess because they are not happy for multiple reasons, some people will discourage others. That is sad, but you can not make others happy if, yourself, you are not. So, once again, thank you Mrs. Powell for this hint!

    Here is one more quote for you, Geoff, from one of my favourite personality:

    “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
    Nelson Mandela

    Best regards Geoff and stay happy as you are, I learned today that some people here envy a lot your happiness :)…

  4. Lynn permalink
    October 17, 2010 1:57 pm

    Hi, I found this post when I was looking for other letters by this Christine Powell of Medford, NJ. The Burlington County Times published a much longer letter on October 12 in which Christine, who identifies herself as a master’s level social worker working in foster care. In the letter, she advocates for forced sterilization for the disabled, and mandatory birth control for those receiving “welfare”. Let me give you just one quote: “I believe that people collecting lifelong welfare and disability payments must be sterilized…these people are incapable of making good, conscious choices about such matters ontheir own. They have severe mental illnesses, severe learning disabilities, and/or severe drug addictions. And they continue to reproduce more of the same.” So you see where she’s coming from.

    • October 20, 2010 11:11 pm

      Hi Lynn! I’m glad you found your way here. I’m really shocked a social worker would write a letter like that, but there it is.

      I’ve got to say, her letter to me carries even less weight than it did before, because she’s obviously even further outside the mainstream than I realized. I wonder what “One of the Majority” would think if he saw he was agreeing with a woman who advocated forced sterilization–would he reconsider his views?


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