Who has a right to speak?

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Several weeks ago someone put forth the idea that “church people” have no business matriculating outside the four walls of their own place of worship. In their view the moral values that emanate from such people are unworthy for public consumption and the only opinions that count are the ones blessed by the local “in-crowd.”

Some of these same people forget who it was that took on the mantle for the disenfranchised in the 1960s. It was a Baptist minister. Looking backward, he was poetry in motion, standing with the exploited and lending respect to all God’s children. Many would have liked to silence him by relegating him to a church ghetto.

Most of us have heard Dr. Martin Luther King’s seminal speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where he laid out his vision. But few, if any, followed him to his last sermon inside the walls of the Washington National Cathedral in which he urged us all to stay awake.

Why must we always stay awake? Because in each generation there is a tendency to be blind to something obvious. This blindness or self-interest allows us to walk by or not deal with a glaring problem.

Our generation is dealing with the sexual exploitation and lack of respect for women, but it doesn’t seem to be able to connect the dots with how we choose to entertain ourselves. It was in this vain that I dared to speak against a certain local folly. I am thankful for the many positive responses that came my way, and I hope this conversation continues. Thank you for listening.

DIANE WHEELER

Sandpoint

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