Firstly, let me thank you for all the years of support you have given me as I grew through my career. It has meant the world to me.
As our beloved local paper for over 130 years, you have been reflective of the heart of our community, and you deserve deep thanks for this. You have changed with the times, learned from mistakes, employed countless Islanders, celebrated our victories, and mourned with us in tragedy.
So on behalf of myself, and multitudes of Islanders, we feel it is important to point something out that should have been flagged long ago.
The letter to the editor regarding Christmas being for Christians (Christmas is Christian, Oct. 10) was intolerant and unethical to publish, and here’s why.
The writer clearly has a deep misunderstanding and blatant disregard for the Christian religion, which is comprised of people with many differing views on many subjects. This makes his statement that “real” Christians do not believe in evolution and do not support safe access to health care, a blasphemous and highly offensive accusation. No blanket statements about any religion should be acceptable.
Further to this, it’s important that it be remembered, no matter your stance on the subject, that safe access to abortion is a hard won human right. It is not up for debate in Canada, it is now the law. Countless people have died, from every race and socioeconomic status, due to past restrictions. To say, in a public forum what he said, is to promote violence against women, trans and non-binary people.
His is not an “opinion”, it is oppression. There needs to be a distinction made between what is free speech and what is hate speech. His letter is nothing short of a dangerous, backward and offensive tirade and attack on anyone with a womb, science, our diverse religious community and the majority of Christians.
The intended target of his letter, our beautifully inclusive community filled with many traditions, religions and customs, will hopefully not think that his perspective is even close to indicative of most Christians on P.E.I. And for the countless Christians he attempted to offend, we hope you know that we will not allow his definition of “real” Christian as close-minded, patriarchal and ignorant of science to paint how you are viewed.
I have been told this person has been sharing his "views" for more than a decade and The Guardian and other publications seem to give him a platform. Most people just ignore it because this kind of rhetoric has been normalized. Some just cancel their subscriptions due to lack of acceptable editorial discretion. This can’t happen anymore. The Guardian has to do better. As a community member, a woman “of the cloth” and a mother of girls, I’m here to let you know: Time’s up.
There must be better letters to publish that are intelligent, thought-provoking and factually correct. And if there aren't, I implore the community to engage with The Guardian in a meaningful way so they have a broader spectrum of content to publish.
Myself and my colleagues are strongly requesting that you take down this post online and ask that you consider having some kind of journalistic standard when posting abusive writings in a time and a world where we are still fighting for equality. We also recommend you consider an ethics review of this situation.
Your paper is still the heart of our community. We invite healthy debate and difference of opinion, but we will no longer tolerate The Guardian being a megaphone for ignorance, oppression and hate. Please proceed with dignity.
Rev. Tara MacLean is an award winning singer/songwriter, touring and recording artist from Prince Edward Island who is the Senate of Canada Medal recipient for her work in her community and with Truth and Reconciliation. She lives in Charlottetown. To see a list of the over 50 co-signers to this letter, please go to Tara MacLean's Facebook page.