All are welcome
RE: Rainbow criticism, June 9.
I read Diane Breukelman’s letter and wanted to offer a reply.
If a six-year-old child asked me “why did they paint the steps (of the museum) in the colours of the rainbow,” I would say it’s because June is the time we celebrate how all of God’s children, regardless of colour, are welcome and included in everything we do.
If children learn at a young age that inclusion makes Canada special, then we can all live in harmony, free from fear, harassment, and persecution.
That’s what the rainbow means to me. I hope this is helpful.
I was greatly surprised by the volume and intensity of the letters aimed at Diane Breukelman for her comments (Rainbow criticism, June 9) concerning rainbow colours, flags, etc.
One letter said that Breukelman was disgusted to look at a rainbow flag, which she did not say in her letter. The word homophobe and fanatic are used in another. One more letter calls her intolerant and uncaring. All this without actually talking to her personally.
I have read her letter numerous times and what I see is her concern for a possible deeper symbolic meaning of the rainbow that conflicts with her understanding and belief in the Judeo/Christian principles.
A letter also suggests Breukelman is confused or misunderstands what being a Christian is as it “saddens me that the writer uses Christianity as a justification for her comments.” I find it ironic that to be inclusive, one must exclude their ideas or beliefs if it conflicts with the current or past ideologies.
I may not like what she said or how she expressed herself, but by the reaction of some, you would think that Breukelman spewed hate and intolerance. So much for the love and caring extended to someone who you disagree with, whatever the subject.
RE: Rainbow criticism, June 9.
I was both disappointed and saddened upon reading Diane Breukelman’s letter regarding rainbows.
While this is not a reaction that I’d generally regard as good, I know full well that had my paper arrived a few hours earlier, my reaction would have been far more visceral and negative, so I feel pretty satisfied with myself. What can I credit for keeping my blood pressure in check and providing such a shift in perspective? The fact that I had just got home from the “Supporting My Queer Youth” information session, organized and hosted by Center Wellington District High School’s PRISM club.
This group of kind, compassionate and incredibly insightful youth, with the support of school staff, created such a warm and welcoming space for all of us to learn and grow. The two speakers were wonderful, sharing their experiences and knowledge openly and freely. I don’t recall ever feeling so at peace in a room full of strangers.
But it wasn’t that alone that prompted my change in perspective. It was, in fact, the words of someone super wise and decades younger than myself. She reminded us all that our thoughts, opinions and beliefs are a manifestation of the things we’ve been taught and our lived experiences. She also pointed out that with so much change coming at us so quickly, us older folks have very much to un-learn, and it’s okay if we stumble, struggle and make mistakes.
The key is in our willingness to try. To be open to listening, to challenging our beliefs as we sit with discomfort and to commit to treating others with grace and dignity even when we can’t get to aligning with their beliefs.
With that reminder front of mind, I will do my best to not pass judgement on Ms. Breukelman’s beliefs and rather focus on answering the question she posed. Ms. Breukelman is clearly very concerned about our children. I applaud that. She wondered about what to tell kids when they ask about the rainbows that are in abundance this month. As with any other question a child may pose, my suggestion is to simply reply with the truth. June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate diversity; to let members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community know that they are seen, loved and valued and to help everyone feel accepted.
The rainbow is simply a symbol of this, much like the poppy is a symbol of remembrance and a hope for peace. If that seems too complex for younger children, it can be broken down further. The rainbows are reminders for all of us to love each other.
‘Special interest groups’
RE: Rainbow criticism, June 9.
Centre Wellington has always had a majestic feel with the limestone buildings, Grand River, Elora Gorge, and Fergus’ Scottish, culture which allows most to find some characteristic of the area they can relate to.
When I see one special interest group being promoted for the entire month of June, on store fronts, schools and the museum steps, not everyone is represented, and for the first time since living in the area, I feel excluded. Also, I feel helpless that my tax dollars are being used without my consent to promote something I do not support.
I suggest that Centre Wellington embrace all special interest groups and promote them each for an entire month in the summer, including; Christian organizations, pro-life groups, Special Olympics, historical society, etc. That way the community will feel that they are being represented and their tax dollars are also going towards something they believe in.
Please consider being fair to everyone.
RE: Rainbow criticism, June 9.
When confronted with hate speech, like in that June 9 letter, rather than censorship, the UN encourages counter speech to ensure hate is not the dominant narrative.
“Rainbow Criticism” denounces public displays of the rainbow, which symbolizes a “positive stance against discrimination and violence toward … [2SLGBTQI+] people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance.”
The letter argues that exposure to Pride symbols negatively impacts children in some unstated way. The author’s appeal that these symbols be “kept away from the eyes of children” intends to mobilize moral panic.
The Dangerous Speech Project (DSP), a group founded in 2010 to study speech that inspires violence between groups of people, details the most ubiquitous form of dangerous speech: that which “suggests children are in danger.” “Think of the children” rhetoric, like that in “Rainbow Criticism,” pervasively targets minority groups and these “assertions of threats to children have been linked to incidents of intergroup violence countless times before.”
The DSP explains, “people don’t commit violence against other groups … spontaneously. First they must be taught to see other people as … threats.” Insistence that the rainbow threatens children promotes discrimination and violence.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network reported that “out of 10,528 middle and high school students surveyed 85.2% LGBTQ students experienced verbal harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, 57.6% felt unsafe at school … and 31.8% skipped a day of school in the past month because of safety concerns.”
LGBTQ youth face approximately 14 times the risk of suicide and substance abuse than heterosexual peers. Marginalization measurably damages the well-being of 2SLGBTQI+ youth. Rhetoric advising a community to not stand up against discrimination is the true threat to children.
To the 2SLGBTQI+ community: your allies are stronger than those who endorse your marginalization. We proudly stand together.
I suspect that many people would agree with the gist of Diane Breukelman’s letter (Rainbow criticism, June 9), in which she questioned the need for the proliferation of rainbow colours on flags, sidewalks, roads, etc., much of it at taxpayer expense.
I also suspect that many are reluctant to express such views because they will be immediately mocked or attacked for being hateful, intolerant, ignorant etc., as Breukelman predictably was in June 16 letters. No doubt this was triggered by her reminding us of the original biblical origin and significance of the rainbow, which has been misappropriated by the 2SLGBTQIA+ movement.
Disagreeing with 2SLGBTQIA+ ideology does not make one hateful, intolerant or “homophobic”, etc., as some of the letters implied. We can still be respectful of someone while disagreeing with their behaviour or ideology.
2SLGBTQIA+ activists moved on long ago from simply wanting tolerance. They now want everyone to enthusiastically celebrate their movement and to silence any contrary views.
‘Love thy neighbour’
RE: Rainbow criticism, June 9.
My first response to Diane Breukelman’a letter was anger and disappointment. My next one was resignation. I won’t change her mind. Why speak up? I ended up with the thought – if not me, who; if not now, when?
I ask, is painting the steps of the Wellington Country Museum and Archives really going to lead your children “astray?” The premise is ridiculous and intolerant. I am always amazed at the rationalization of some people who complain of cancel culture when there are critiques of their positions (including Christian ones) but are quick to cancel those things they don’t like.
Pride is not about conversion (or leading your children astray). It’s about communities saying we are accepting of everyone regardless of their sexual orientation. It’s about saying we won’t accept intolerance and hate. We clearly need it here.
Whatever happened to “judge not lest ye be judged?” What happened to “love thy neighbour as thyself?” You can’t pick and choose the scripture for your specific needs. There are many more things in the Bible that are ignored while condemnation of homosexuality is highlighted.
There are those that say its inappropriate to celebrate specific groups, but we do it all the time.
If it makes sense to get rid of visible expressions of gay pride, perhaps we should remove visible expression of Christian pride. Crosses on churches and other things (I expect the museum puts up Christmas lights) may lead our children astray. They can at least be painful reminders of the legacy of residential schools and abuse of many churches, but are at minimum a celebration of the belief of specific elements of our population.
I get mandatory days off for Christian holidays. We have separate schools for Christians. We even give tax deductions for payments to Christian churches. If you get a tax deduction that means my tax dollars are supporting the church.
To quote Ms. Breukelman’s statement, is reducing tax dollars to support this sort of intolerance “a good use of tax dollars, my tax dollars?” Christianity is a choice, as opposed to homosexuality. Who is leading who astray?
I am not advocating for an end to the measures for Christians. I respect everyone’s right to believe what they want to believe. I am just highlighting that you can’t ask for benefits for yourself but deny them for others. That is the definition of privilege.
You can’t have your cake and cancel too.
Michael von Massow,
‘Grift and chaos’
I love listening to the future Reform leader Pierre Poilievre discuss bringing in Bitcoin to tame inflation. He is right about it, since Bitcoin is becoming worthless and therefore you won’t have to worry about inflation since your money will be gone.
As Paul Krugman’s column in the New York Times stated, Bitcoin are the new Ponzi scheme run by grifters. Investors have lost almost a billion in the last week – gee how great, but then it turns out Pierre is involved with a company that sells Bitcoin; invest with them and you will get 30% return. It is a Ponzi scheme and think of the Canadian who died in India with the codes to the boxes. Everyone lost all their money.
I learned a long time ago if it sounds too good it is a con. But Pierre’s hero is Trump the ultimate con man and those truckers who break the law, but then again he is for law and order. Passes himself like Trump as a populist who has never worked a real job in his entire life.
We live in the age of the con man/grifters, which by the way the ring leaders of the truckers were hoping to grift millions. I hear he, like Jason Kenney, now rides around in a pickup truck and drinks beer. Hey, let the Conservatives elect him and watch them sink in the next election.
The Reform cons have not gotten the message from the real people of the country. They, like Trump and his MAGA crew, enjoy living in an alternate universe of grift and chaos.
Studio City, California
Before building another highway that will destroy environmentally sensitive lands in the Greenbelt, perhaps Doug Ford should actually require the owners of the 407 toll road to pay the billions of dollars they owe the province in penalties because it is not helping to decongest Highway 401 when it is so little used.
Of course, that might cause them to consider it unprofitable. Perhaps the province might consider buying it back and lowering the tolls to make it more affordable to actually use, instead of spending the money on building yet another invitation to urban sprawl and pollution?
Doug Ford ‘woke’?
RE: See what happens, June 9.
Doug Ford did win a massive mandate on June 2, contrary to what publisher Dave Adsett wrote in his June 9 editorial. Why? The Progressive Conservative Party is more left wing than the Liberals and NDP.
Adsett claims Ford only got a majority of a minority of votes. By numbers this is true but when voters don’t turn out it tells us the majority of voters don’t think a change is necessary.
In the last election, the voters wanted change and got it on paper, but, my, oh my, in reality nothing changed. If anything, the PC government of Doug Ford turned out to be more left wing and woke than all the other parties. They are so left wing they should drop the word “Conservative” from their party name and just be the “Progressive Party”.
This election result does reflect society. All the legislation passed by the PCs is woke (e.g. sex-ed and healthcare spending) and tends to be authoritarian (e.g. COVID legislation). The majority of people did not object.
As for Ted Arnott, I am not sure the people of Wellington-Halton Hills voted for him personally as I am sure that if a literal donkey, mule or ass were on the ballot under the PC banner it would win. I am not saying Mr. Arnott is one of those animals. I am questioning my fellow voters.
The legislation resulting from the last four years of the Ford PC government is so appallingly left wing and yet the majority of the minority of the voters of this riding voted for the PCs again; it surely shows the voters are exhibiting distressing signs of being somewhat like one of those animals.
Or is it that no one has a clue what “conservative” means anymore, especially Doug Ford.
‘Foresight not hindsight’
I believe that the provincial and federal governments have lost the moral authority to govern.
The price of gasoline is at the time of writing $2.12 per litre. Taxpayers are being stretched to the limit.
The provincial and federal government have no incentive to reduce the price of gasoline. The money is flowing into government coffers. The higher the price of gasoline the more money they receive.
I support reducing taxes on the price of a litre of gasoline.
Canada is a resource rich country and we should be energy self-sufficient.
There should be a pipeline from the west coast to the east coast in Canada. We need forward thinking government that realizes that green may come someday, but not for a while.
Being energy self–sufficient would give the country the time to thoroughly analyze and cost out the green energy policies put forward and pick the best options and discard others.
Canada needs foresight not hindsight. The government at all levels should not implement policies that make its citizens suffer needlessly.
The search for peace
In the recent flurry of news about the current war in Ukraine, the reason for the cause of wars may be overlooked.
Mankind has always looked greedily for more lands to add to his own property! And still man wants only peace!
But peace will never happen until we all learn the easy rule that was left to us by the one who is the symbol of peace. We need only one lesson: to learn to show love!
At Easter we looked to His cross and it reminded us that we can only learn from Him how to truly love our fellow man.
Whenever we see that cross, may we have a clear remembrance of His peaceful message of loving care for our fellow man. But only when we practise that, will we have peace in this world.
Signs, signs …
Harold Chambers Park in Elora is the only “park” with advertising signs in it.
No one wants to sit on a bench and be surrounded by signs.
Let’s keep it an inviting place to sit. No signs.