Challenging Kersten

The Minneapolis Star Tribune, a paper with a mostly left-leaning editorial board, must love conservative columnist Katherine Kersten. Her oftentimes oddball columns veer from gee-whiz triumphalism to caustic cultural critiques, all aping either White House or Vatican talking points; no matter what she generates letters to the editor. One such letter did a nice job of debunking her recent column, "North of the border, gay marriage spurs social revolution" (correction here):
...The Star Tribune should take better care not to employ a conservative columnist whose arguments can be easily dismantled by anyone with five minutes of time and access to Google.

• Bishop Frederick Henry of Calgary -- Katherine Kersten's primary, if not only, source for her column -- was tried by the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal not for promotion of traditional marriage, but for demonizing homosexuality from the pulpit. Henry equated homosexuality with adultery, prostitution and pornography, and called homosexuality "an evil act whether it is performed in public or private."

• British Columbian Chris Kempling was disciplined in 2002 -- well before same-sex marriage was legalized in the country -- by the school where he taught, not by the government.

• Neither individual was disciplined for opposition to same-sex marriage: Kempling was found guilty of conduct unbecoming a teacher, and Henry had two human rights violations filed against him for vilifying homosexuality in general. Both would have faced the same action if they had they chosen to malign a different minority group, such as women or blacks.

• Kersten fails to reason out the consequences of introducing children to positive GLBT role models and literature. Perhaps increased self-worth -- perhaps even feelings of equality -- of GLBT individuals at an earlier age rankles her "compassionate conservative" mettle?

Kersten's column serves not as an exposé into the Canadian culture after the legalization of same-sex marriage but as a poorly researched attempt to allow discrimination to blossom in the name of freedom of speech.

I recognize the need for a columnist whose viewpoints do not match my own. One would think those viewpoints could be expressed in a manner other than bigotry masked behind a thin veneer of ersatz intellectualism.

—James Proescholdt, Minneapolis

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