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Community leaders quotes on protest lame, ineffectual

The Jan. 7 article reporting on the planned demonstration by Westboro Baptist church members to protest the inclusion of a transgender athlete in a MIL event featured some very lame and ineffectual responses from two of our community leaders.

A preacher from a Maui Baptist church could only come up with the milquetoast declaration that Jesus is “a wonderful person.” His main criticism of the ultra-right-wing hate group is that their “message” is off while the reporter laments the challenge that he and other Baptists have of “distancing themselves” from this virulent group of zealots. Missing from the pastor’s comments is the simple message that the transgender student needs to hear from all Christians: God created you and He loves you just the way you are!

Meanwhile, the principal of Maui High engages in typical bureaucratic, head-in-the-sand behavior, promising, in the face of outright prejudice and evil, to “ignore, and not engage.” The DOE statement follows suit with platitudes about student safety, trotting out that educational cliche “teachable moment” (failing, as usual, to answer the key question: What is being taught?).

Nowhere in the words of these leaders is a statement of encouragement for the brave transgender student or the progressive souls at Kamehameha Schools Maui and the MIL who support this athlete’s choice. I end with another cliche from the great Edmund Burke that has taken on new meaning in our times: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Alan Hodara

Makawao