To the editor:
There has been much talk lately concerning the Olympics in Russia and their laws, which ban “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” Whether you are for or against gay and lesbian rights, there is one very important fact that some have overlooked here, and that is the fact that Russia has a perfect right to their opinions and their laws in their own country.
We have been invited into a host country and have the responsibility of obeying those laws. They have not banned gays and lesbians from participating in the games, only against those who support such beliefs from trying to promote it publicly while a guest in their country.
Most things can be better understood when put into the simplest terms, so let’s look at it like this:
Family No. 1 (which we will call the Smith family) lives next door to Family No. 2 (which we will call the Jones family). The Smith family has children, and they believe in traditional relationships, while the Joneses have a gay son. For years, they have lived side by side without conflict. They get along and like each other but do not impose their beliefs on one another. Then one day, the Smith family invites the Jones family over for a weekend cookout. That weekend, the Jones family shows up and brings along their gay son. The Smith family has no problem with this. However, the gay son has invited his gay friend along. The Smith family still has no problem with this.
Everything is going well, when suddenly the Joneses’ son and his invited friend sit down on the swing together and start making out. The Smith family is embarrassed, and they explain that they are uncomfortable with this situation in front of themselves and their children, and they request that the two gay boys respect their beliefs and not engage in such activity while in their home.
But instead of complying, the two youths protest loudly and begin to ridicule the Smith family for their opinions, telling the Smith children that what they have been taught is wrong and that they should not listen to their own parents but, rather, embrace a gay and lesbian lifestyle instead and demanding that they be allowed to continue with their behavior, regardless of the fact that they are merely invited guests at the Smith home.
The point is that whether we agree or disagree with the beliefs of others, we still have the responsibility to respect their beliefs while in their country regardless of whether they align with our own or not. We would not allow Russia to come into the United States and hold protests demanding that we put an end to gay and lesbian rights here because they were against them. Tolerance and respect for the belief of others work both ways.