These times require strong leaders

Published 12:20 am Tuesday, April 19, 2016

“There is a tide in the affairs of men” — as is clearly evident in Natchez today.

A change in our former definition of the institution of marriage, a subject inextricably intertwined with our understanding of children’s natural human rights and of fatherhood and motherhood, is supported by many persons and corporate entities. They are certain of the rightness of their position. It is not for me to question their good will in doing so, and I do not question it.

I do question the completeness of our understanding of the implications of this great change in a foundational unit of human society. The haste with which this centuries-old understanding has been redefined — and the former definition confined to private observance only — should, at least in my lonely opinion, be a matter of concern. Matters of great importance to our common life surely deserve a more patient approach.

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I also write in defense of those whose lives have been shaped by the venerable teachings of the Christian faith (not of course in defense of misuse of those teachings). We seem to be forgetting that those whose faith has been the organizing principle of their lives, whether that faith is secular humanism, progressivism, or Christianity, cannot be easily understood without that particular faith or philosophy of life. Understanding is not easily achieved. It takes time. It takes effort. It cannot be achieved without good will.

If HB 1523 was written with too broad a focus; if the language was not narrowly focused to protect only certain non-essential, discretionary services related to weddings and marriage; services which do not conform to the standard of “time is of the essence”, which can be planned for in advance from many vendors, then certainly an amended version or a new bill is appropriate.

We cannot prudently ignore the fact that, in other states, absent such an exemption, owners of small businesses have suffered great harm. These times require strong, informed state and local leadership. We should resist the intrusion of powerful corporate leaders who intend through economic intimidation to force a hasty resolution of this complex issue.

If the Mississippi Legislature can craft reasonable, humane legislation in protection of everyone’s freedom, this will bring honor to the state and provide a way forward for others.


Linda Smith