Tuesday, February 14, 2006

J. C. Watts Ignores My Question

J. C. Watts, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, came to Indianapolis to speak to Butler University about valuing diversity. Ken, Dave and I went to hear him. He brought up the sad state of political discourse these days. I agree with him, and I sent him the following e-mail. He never responded, so I thought I would at least send the question out into the blogosphere.

Dear Congressman Watts,

I had the honor of attending your talk on diversity last night at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. Your remarks about the disappointing state of civility in political discourse rang very true to me. Actually, it was my keen awareness of the current climate that made me afraid to walk to the microphone to ask the question I had. Friends who attended with me suggested that I write you instead.

This morning I was second-guessing whether or not I should even write until I read in the paper that Mrs. Corretta Scott King had passed. I ran across this quote from her:

"Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union," she said. (USA Today-3/24/2004)

Mrs. King’s statement is also my question. Putting aside the “marriage question”, what shall our government do to provide the thousands of children of same-sex couples and their families with the same inheritance and tax protections other families have? Scores of these families exist. I know many who live right here in Indiana. They are loving and hard-working families that sound a lot like the one in which you were raised. And they are everywhere, rural as well as urban and suburban areas.

I know your Southern Baptist faith informs your views. While many Baptists would not entertain the thought of letting same-sex couples marry, many of these same people are committed to justice for all.

You seem to avoid bogging down in only one way of thinking about an issue, which is why I write you today. How do we get from a place of fear and name-calling to a place where all children are treated equally?

Respectfully yours,

Troy Smythe
Indianapolis, Indiana

So far, all I can hear in Mr. Watt's version of positive discourse is silence. I'll let you know if he ever responds.


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