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Love thy neighbor

On Aug. 21, State Sen. Mike Azinger does what he does best by publishing an op-ed that tore down minority populations by using what he calls “Natural Law.” Even though he is part of the governing body that creates the very laws that we live by in West Virginia and throughout the country, he insists on speaking ill of that system for it does not follow the scripture of the Christian Bible. Should something of this nature happen in another part of the world with a different religion, he would look down upon it as an act against humanity. Yet, he believes it is okay because he is a white, Christian man.

While I do not have the authority to speak on his criticism of Critical Race Theory or any other racist rhetoric from Mr. Azinger, I am in good authority to speak on his comments made against the LGBTQ+ community. I am a queer, transgender woman who has worked with the Washington State Community College Honors Program and Out MOV to produce research regarding LGBTQ+ youth in this area. While it was no surprise, the statistics that came out of this research were heartbreaking. The research showed that 62.5 percent of respondents were verbally harassed because of their sexuality/gender identity and 73.6 percent of individuals said that a lack of LGBTQ+ acceptance made their mental health worse.

The worst statistic of all showed that 48.6 percent of respondents were very unlikely to stay in the Mid-Ohio Valley because of the lack of LGBTQ+ protections in this area. Using this data, it can be inferred that the rhetoric Senator Azinger promotes is actively hurting his constituents. I already know Mike Azinger doesn’t care about the first two statistics, but I wonder how Mr. Azinger would feel about the fact that his rhetoric is actually having financial turmoil on the area that he pretends to care about?

The truth in the matter is that every single word in that op-ed was false. Embracing diversity is not how our society dies, but rather how it flourishes. When we embrace the idea of having people in our life who don’t look, talk, or love like we do, we improve as people and as a society. After all, I do believe it is the Bible that says Love Thy Neighbor.

Danielle Thrasher

Treasurer, Out MOV

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