One readers difference in beliefs causes Margo Howard to break one of her own rules
Bigotry Dolled Up in Biblical Verse
Dear Margo: Today was the last day I will ever read your column. I am 37 years old and do not agree with your beliefs. The Bible clearly states in several places that being gay is wrong. There is no way to misunderstand it. I imagine God looks down on us shaking his head with a tear coming down his face. You are telling people it’s OK, and it’s not! God help us all. — Melissa in Ohio
Dear Mel: I have never run a letter like yours before because I have chosen not to get mixed up with responses to particular letters. Yours, however, is such a perfect exemplar of what I think is wrong with the world … in politics and in social life … that I’ve broken my own rule.
For one thing, I find it insular and intolerant to demand that everyone agree with you, about either the meaning or the validity of the Bible, let alone whether or not it’s “OK” to be gay. Your Bible isn’t everyone’s Bible, and your Bible is not my government. You are free, certainly, to follow your beliefs, but why wouldn’t you cede other people the same right?
The fact that you say you will no longer read someone with different views from yours seems narrow-minded. If you read only things that you already believe, how will you ever learn anything or broaden your horizons or, heaven forefend, change your mind? You might ask yourself if perhaps God is not looking down, shaking his head with a tear coming down his face and wondering why some of His children are casting stones at some other of His children. — Margo, charitably
Troubling Situation with a Son
Dear Margo: I have a grown son who lives in another state. When I started visiting him at my oldest daughter’s house (back when he was 18), he always brought a girlfriend. I found it difficult to communicate with him because of a stranger being present, so hardly anything was discussed. He would say he’d see me again in a few days, but then he would never call or visit again. I also tried to communicate and ask questions via MySpace, but got no responses whatsoever. I would send birthday cards and Christmas gifts — and again no reply. Since he lives in a rural area, I sometimes wondered whether he even received them, but then I started using “return receipt requested” and found the things were received.
He is only 26 and is getting married for the second time. I basically know nothing about his life. Our birthdays are the same day, and he never, not once, has wished me a happy birthday, a merry Christmas or a happy Mother’s Day. I am totally lost as to how I can solve this terrible problem. — Really Crushed
Dear Real: It’s always very sad when a parent wants to have a relationship and the grown child does not. Something is causing him to keep you at arm’s length. You may know what this is; you may not. The most constructive thing to be done — and it may not bring you any answers — is to directly ask what has caused his excluding you from his life, explaining that it is a source of pain for you and something you would like to remedy if it is within your power. Worst-case scenario would be no response to this plea, in which case I urge you to understand that some things are not within our control and must be accepted as such. As I have said in other circumstances involving family difficulties, DNA and being related by blood are no guarantee of anything. Whichever way this goes, I hope you can find some measure of peace and acceptance. — Margo, philosophically
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
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