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Robert Zacher, Fargo, Published November 19 2012

Letter: Courageous teen deserves support

I want to commend Forum reporter Erik Burgess for his excellent report that appeared in the Nov. 15 edition of the The Forum on the case of 17-year-old Lennon Cihak, of Barnesville, Minn. I also want to publicly go on record in support of Cihak, his right to free speech and his views on same-sex marriage. Lennon is a courageous young man.

It’s quite unfortunate that denial of the sacrament of confirmation for Lennon was used by the pastor of Assumption Church, Barnesville, perhaps with the tacit approval of the bishop of Crookston, to punish Lennon for his views. Unlike the suggestion in the article on Lennon and his family, almost no one is ever 100 percent Roman Catholic all the time. The problem comes when a Catholic wants to speak publicly and freely in a way that is different from the stance of the Roman Catholic Church. This issue just happened to be same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

It would be an excellent confirmation lesson for Lennon to learn that there are many religious people, groups and Christians, as well as many other denominations in the United States, that value the free, respectful expression of speech, and that encourage diverse views among their members. Many such groups or churches would warmly welcome and support Lennon with his view of same-sex marriage.

I hope Lennon and the Cihak family can go from sorrow over this unfortunate confirmation incident to richer and rewarding lives that come along as a result of personal honesty and genuine religious freedom with the rights to enjoy them.