On Oct. 19,  The Newton Kansan published a letter touting the virtues of saying “no,” of being a naysayer.
Further, the letter implied saying “no” to institutionalism will improve the world.
In some cases, this is a good thing; however, using it as a complete worldview is negative and dangerous, especially when one considers some of the infamous naysayers cited in the letter.
While one can appreciate the stands of the occupants of the Mayflower and the signers of the Declaration of Independence, some of the others mentioned are questionable.
Take, for example, Scott Roeder, the murderer of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.
Opinions vary on the acceptability of abortion, but walking into one’s house of worship and killing him in front of innocent people is not acceptable.
According to the letter, though, this man was a hero for taking matters into his own hands because “... the law and the courts won’t.”
Jesus Christ also was listed as a naysayer; in contrast to Mr. Roeder, though, he did not kill anyone. He accepted the judgment of the government and recognized its authority. The fact that Christ’s death was planned is a different matter entirely.
Further on in the letter, this statement was made: “... say no to all this institutionalism. Then you will see suicide go down.”
Institutionalism, in itself, does not cause suicide. Suicide is caused by hopelessness, helplessness, despair, intolerance, hatred and bigotry.
If institutionalism is the cause of all of this, then all institutions must be blamed; by extension, the church can be blamed, as it is an institution.
To be clear, I believe in Jesus Christ, appreciate His contribution to the world, and accept he did everything he claimed.
However, I object to the hatred propagated in the name of God, morality or religion.
Jesus did not convince people to follow him with actions and words that alienated others. People believed in and followed Christ because he lived a life that drew others to him.
Instead of saying no and doing nothing besides standing in cross-armed dissent, we should love people and let everything else follow.
This is not the kind of love screamed about by greeting card companies, but one that genuinely cares for humanity and rejects apathy.
Acceptance is crucial, and it is possible to do so without judgment and without sacrificing one’s standards.
— J. D. Lee,
Newton