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Editorial & Opinion

Dear Senator Metts: Invoking religious beliefs in lawmaking is wrong

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I’m certain that Metts had lasting, positive relationships with students in this role, though I do wonder if those relationships would have been different if Vice Principal Metts knew that the student was a member of the LGBTQ+ community.


In October I penned a letter for the Providence Journal critiquing my state senator, Harold Metts. Senator Metts was first elected to political office in 1985, as a pastor and a vocal opponent of civil rights for women and the LGBTQ+ community, thanks to the prodigious reporting career of Steve Ahlquist, we have lots of evidence of both his anti-gay marriage views and his efforts restricting women’s choice.

My letter to the Journal was met with criticism. One contributor simply wrote: “In response to Bradly VanDerStad’s letter to the editor regarding state Sen. Harold Metts, I have one simple response: May God bless Sen. Harold Metts.” I appreciated the conciseness of this.

Another contributor wished that I could have seen Vice Principal Metts having a quick chat with a student in the hall, making them feel essential to the Central High School family. I’m certain that Metts had lasting, positive relationships with students in this role, though I do wonder if those relationships would have been different if Vice Principal Metts knew that the student was a member of the LGBTQ+ community. In return, I wish that this contributor could have witnessed the tribulations Roger Williams went through to ensure our state (and eventually our nation) would have hard lines drawn between church and state.

What I’d like to make clear here – in a way that the word-limited letters to the Providence Journal can’t communicate- is that I don’t believe Senator Metts is a bad person. I’ve never met him, but I’d like to, to discuss his hypocritical beliefs. By citing Christian doctrine and biblical teachings, Metts invites his detractors to address them – not to attack the beliefs themselves, but the act of invoking them in a process that affects citizens of every and no denomination. While Christianity can be a positive, unifying force in our community to bring people together across socioeconomic and demographic lines, it can also be a vehicle of division and discrimination: it seems that Senator Metts has decided to utilize the latter route.