The purpose of rainbow crosswalks

I don’t like rainbow crosswalks. The past few days have brought forward objection and indignation — even the threat of a lawsuit.

I don’t like rainbow crosswalks.

Rainbow crosswalks have dominated the news in the Okanagan.

The past few days have brought forward objection and indignation — even the threat of a lawsuit.

I’ve seen letters written condemning the decision and threats of fire and brimstone on “judgement day.”

The point being made is that these crosswalks somehow condone a lifestyle that those on the God-fearing path object to.

That is where I have a problem.

A few years ago, a major retailer instructed their staff not to say Merry Christmas to customers. The uproar was deafening. How dare this retailer take Christ out of Christmas!

That expression should be protected and it seemed perfectly fine for those of different faiths to be ignored.

Freedom of expression and inclusion can’t be a one-way street.

If a rainbow crosswalk is an expression of inclusion, then it too must be protected.

At what point do we as a society see past identifiers like someone’s sexual orientation, gender, race or religion and just see people?

People who have families, moms and dads, people who contribute to society, people who smile, laugh and cry just like you.

They have brothers and sisters.

They even put their pants on one leg at a time.

We like to believe we live in a free society.

Along the way to a free society, we forgot about the free part.

We decided that it was more important to force our views down each others throats.

If you dare to lead a different life, then you must be shamed, ridiculed and singled out. Protested against. Threatened.

It’s okay though, because some of those spreading the hate and bigotry believe they can go to church on Sunday and be forgiven.

It’s not okay.

This weekend, I met a very nice person. An accomplished lawyer. Happily married. Wicked sense of humour. The fact that she is a woman and a lesbian are not relevant.

My problem with rainbow sidewalks isn’t the paint.

I just don’t think we should need a rainbow to remind us to treat our fellow humans with respect and dignity.

If you believe that people of a certain gender, race or sexual orientation don’t deserve these basic principles, then I doubt a rainbow crosswalk will change your mind.

I happen to be an atheist. As an atheist, I don’t judge those that choose to believe in a higher power. I see them as people that choose a different path. I value them. I respect them. I don’t need to be reminded to do so.

We all have a responsibility to respect each other and embrace our differences.

Religions in Canada have freedom to worship. They have sanctuaries, monuments and public holidays.

We are taught to be tolerant of different belief systems from an early age.

Intolerance and ridicule need to end. We all need to take a deep breath and start over.

The purpose of these rainbow crosswalks, pink shirt days or other gestures are to remind people of what they should be naturally doing anyway.

So I don’t like rainbow crosswalks but I accept that they serve a purpose.

 

Rob Murphy is the sales manager at the Summerland Review.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kelowna firefighters practice swiftwater rescue techniques in the Shuswap River in Cherryville April 20. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
West Kelowna firefighters make a splash in North Okanagan

Swift water rescue training brings team to Cherryville’s Shuswap River

Renovations to the Summerland Arts and Cultural Centre building came in at more than $400,000. The renovation work was one of several large items in the first quarter of 2021.	(File photo)
Summerland council spends money on large items

Fleet of trucks, dam repair, arts centre renovations listed in procurement report

Nick Trask, 36, and Ryan Ellison, 35, died in a boat collision on Osoyoos Lake in 2019. (Facebook photo)
Meth, excessive speed found as factors in Osoyoos boat crash deaths

Nick Trask, 36, and Ryan Ellison, 35, died in a boat collision on Osoyoos Lake in 2019

Penticton Secondary School grade 12 student and organizer of Wednesday’s (April 21) Earth Day clean-up Rachel Jung cleans up Okanagan Beach with grade 9 students Easton Souch, Ethan Gordon, Sylas Denninger and Aydan Young. (Jesse Day - Western News)
Penticton High School students spend the day cleaning up town

‘The Okanagan is such a beautiful place… it’s really sad to see litter everywhere,’ said organizer

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. university rowing coach ‘deeply sorry’ after complaints

Barney Williams says he’s been committed to ensuring no other member of the roster had a similar experience

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. girl’s wish granted as her cat came back, two years later

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Virtual meetings are taking a toll on local governance, according to multiple mayors in the North Okanagan. (Headway photo)
Virtual meetings leave North Okanagan politicians out of touch

More than a year of Zoom has led to a disconnect between officials, according to local mayors

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
‘I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident wants the Columbia River better protected

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Most Read