Have you visited Herb & Olive Market in the Elizabethtown square? If you haven’t it is a locally owned small business that sells healthy food ingredients. It’s basically like Whole Foods but on a much smaller scale.
Recently there was a situation that occurred that had to do with a gay employee. The situation has stirred up quite a bit of distrust between the LGBTQ community leaders and the owners of Herb & Olive.
You can read more about the situation here
or you can read a recent article from The News Enterprise found at this link https://goo.gl/3ZxAdz
I will let each of you read those articles and decide for yourself what is true.
I have an opinion, I wish you wouldn’t protest tonight.
As a downtown business owner and an Elizabethtown citizen, I am frustrated that Herb & Olive and the LGBTQ community leaders could not peacefully discuss and solve their differences in private. Instead the LGBTQ community leaders have scheduled and promoted a protest outside of Herb & Olive tonight at 5pm.
I have discussed the issue at length with both groups. I even offered to assist mediate a conversation between the two groups. Herb & Olive were open to a mediated conversation. One of The LGBTQ community leaders said he was open to a mediated conversation as well. Needless to say there wasn’t a mediated conversation between two groups. Neither side listened they just argued.
I have a unique perspective. I grew up in this area, the northern tip of the Bible belt and was homeschooled from a Christian perspective from 5th – 12th grade. I enjoyed my upbringing. I have no problems with the way I was raised. I think it was great! My parents let me be who I was and pushed me to learn and grow in areas that I found exciting. But I will say that growing up in this town, was kind of like growing up in a bubble, I didn’t learn much about other types of people and/or their beliefs first hand until after high school. All of this changed, when I moved out of the house for an internship at 17.
After I graduated from WKU, I spent 1 year at Brown University working with the religious studies department. Part of my work was attending the weekly LGBTQ student meetings at Brown. I sat and listened to story after story during the group’s sharing time. The stories taught me something profound that I didn’t understand from growing up in the Bible belt. Those who identify as LGBTQ come out at different times in their lives but each individual knew they were different at or around the time of puberty or when they started to feel sexual urges and/or attractions. Each individual story made it clear that their sexual identities were not a choice, it just happened.
I was not taught that in church, I was taught something very different and wrong. I was taught that once you sinned so much God basically gave you over to the flesh and made you gay. Even worse some of my friends from other churches grew up hating the gay community so much because they were taught a message of hate not love when it came to the LGBTQ community.
- a soft answer turns away wrath
- love your neighbor as yourself
- he who hasn’t sinned throw the first stone
Verses like those sound great when applied to our lives; but, when we pick and choose which types of people we are willing to apply them too and single out one group as beyond God’s grace as the church has done at times in the past and still does today, problems arise.
I share all this so you know I understand both sides. I love both sides.
I wish you wouldn’t protest tonight.
This isn’t a protest of hate, it is a protest of pain. We all experience pain in our lives some more then others. Each LGBTQ individual has experienced a tremendous amount of pain in their life. They are treated hatefully, without respect, and even less than human at times.
This protest isn’t a protest of facts, it is a protest of confusion. I know for a fact the owners of Herb and Olive love people and they wouldn’t knowingly discriminate against LGBTQ individuals. They didn’t do anything illegal. They didn’t do anything to cause pain on purpose. They knowingly hired a gay individual. They are open to all people. They want to learn, grow, and love more daily.
It is my opinion, that the LGBTQ community leaders are organizing a protest against people, the owners of Herb & Olive, who love them. Sure, they may be quirky and awkward when communicating with you. But it isn’t because they don’t accept you, because they do accept you. Maybe they don’t understand you as you wish but I doubt you understand them as they wish.
A Couple Questions To Ponder
Why not instead of a protest, you sit down and begin to learn how to understand each others differences and embrace them.
How about instead of potentially making Elizabethtown look like a homophobic town we make peace and invite more LGBTQ individuals to move to Elizabethtown to live and work with us?
In conclusion, my son is three years old and sometimes he tries to communicate with me and I don’t understand him. He get’s so aggravated when I don’t understand what he is trying to say or needs. I think we never outgrow being aggravated when people don’t understand what we say, who we are, and why we do what we do.
There is a time to protest, don’t get me wrong. But tonight at Herb and Olive isn’t one of those times. I doubt this will make a difference and the protest will happen anyway, and that is ok. We support our community and stand by each of you.
Maybe instead of protesting each other tonight you could sit down with someone you’ve never met and share your story. Sharing each other’s story is always more more powerful then any protest.