Letter to the Editor

Charles Whitmer

Contributing Writer

To the Editor:

I was troubled to read the inaccurate and deeply reactionary letter to the editor in the April 7 edition of The Sewanee Purple by “contributing writer” Wayne Lela who describes himself as a “pro-family activist”.

A quick Google search of his name will reveal that Mr. Lela is the founder of the Illinois-based group Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment, an organization that has the unfortunate distinction of being listed as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

As journalists, I’m sure you are aware that the First Amendment entitles Mr. Lela to his opinions. It even grants him the right to misrepresent the position of the American Psychiatric Association in attempts to rationalize the opinions expressed in his letter. But neither The Purple nor any other publication is under any obligation to give him a platform for his opinions. You have done your readers a disservice by uncritically publishing Mr. Lela’s letter without informing your readers about the organization he is clearly representing. Not to mention the inaccuracy of his repeated suggestions that anything other than heterosexuality is “deviancy” and a “psychological disorder,” false statements that further discriminatory and hateful attitudes towards LGBT people.

Another contributing writer in the same issue, Mr. Arthur Jones III, wrote an article on the experience of being black in America. I hope that The Purple will not be publishing a response to Mr. Jones’ article from a KKK leader who uses the discredited pseudo-science of phrenology in an attempt to support the position that black people are inferior to white people.



Charles Whitmer

Executive Director

Cumberland Center for Justice and Peace

Sewanee, TN