Op-ed: Hate mail from a ‘friend’

 (<a href='https://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-179930848/stock-photo-old-mailbox-us-letterbox-rust-rusted-send'>Dagmar Breu</a>/Big Stock Photo)

(Dagmar Breu/Big Stock Photo)

When my friend Bonnie told me she received a three-page letter in the mail, it piqued my interest. Who writes anything longer than a tweet? “It’s from someone named Charna,” she said.

When my friend Bonnie told me she received a three-page letter in the mail, it piqued my interest. Who writes anything longer than a tweet? Certainly not the leader of the Free World.

“It’s from someone named Charna,” she said.

I never heard of Charna. Neither did Bonnie. The letter was addressed “Dear Friend.” Equally suspicious was the return address — a post office box in Atlanta.

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I assumed it was one of those whacky chain letters, but the first sentence snapped me to attention. “I am an Orthodox Jewess …,” it read. “Jewess”? Unless this was written in the Middle Ages, it had to be a hoax. I read on. “I am sending this letter to lesbians that live in the United States whose names and contact info can be gleaned on the computer.” Huh?

Bonnie is a lesbian, married to her partner for many happy years. But who is this Charna who is sending letters to every lesbian in the country and why? The “Jewess” explains: “Recently a religious group of openly homosexual men, lesbians, bisexual and transgender moved into my neighborhood.” (Uh oh. Say hello to rainbow flags, antique shops and restaurants with servers hotter than the huevos rancheros). Charna goes on to complain that her new neighbors “… are going to upset the spiritual well-being of the Orthodox Jews who are in close proximity.” Unlikely. Orthodox Jews have lived in close proximity to Nazis and Stalin. Men who want to date each other, maybe marry, and perhaps even raise a family? No problem.

Following an incoherent paragraph about religion, Charna declares, “Homosexuality is a sin against God!” Wait a sec. Orthodox Jews never write the word God. It doesn’t appear in their prayer books or Bibles. But the word pops up more than 10 times in Charna’s letter. My gut tells me that Charna, or whomever wrote this is, isn’t Jewish. More likely a member of an extremist Evangelical cult. Maybe even a guy, the kind who dresses up in white sheets and burn crosses on lawns.

After another long paragraph condemning “sodomitic relationships,” Charna urges lesbians to “withdraw themselves from any political involvement with male homosexuality.” Then come the alternative facts. “Men who have this desire should be given counseling and taught that they can make very positive contributions to society living as celibates.” Okay, maybe this letter wasn’t written in the Middle Ages, but more like 1952.

While it is easy to dismiss this as a random act of intolerance from a Southern bigot, I am concerned that it part of a larger political movement aimed at destroying the solidarity of the LGBT community. Our president is attempting to rid the military of transgender soldiers, regardless of their length of service or rank. While most of us were looking the other way, his administration scrubbed references to LGBT youth from the description of a federal program for victims of sex trafficking.

Somewhere, in a dank church basement, I suppose, people who view homosexuality as proof that Satan lives, are stuffing these hateful letters into envelopes. And their goal is to turn lesbians against gay men? I know it sounds like the plot of a bad reality TV show or homemade porn flick, but this is no joke. This is a hate mail campaign to weaken the political power of the LGBT community and, in doing so, to impact future elections and legislation. Divide and conquer!

I wonder. Did this letter come from the same small church that organizes cruel and vicious anti-gay protests at funerals of fallen soldiers? Is Charna a pseudonym for Betsy De Vos? Or worse, is this anti-gay propaganda instigated by Russia? Don’t laugh. Distributing LGBT information there leads to fines and imprisonment, while LGBT violence is ignored. Six American conservative groups signed on in support Russia’s anti-LGBT propaganda. And, hey, the sender admits they got the addresses off the Internet. With help from Guccifer?

Charna ends her letter with “… a blessing on all the inhabitants of the United States.” This, too, is off key. Who ends a letter with a benediction? A happy face would’ve been sufficient. Which brings me to the real question. Should Bonnie, and every lesbian across the nation who received this letter, laugh it off or report it to their State Attorney General? I say, report it. With Charlottesville goosesteps in the rearview mirror and Russians hacking our election, this is no time to blink at any attack on the LGBT community. Especially by an individual or organization that has tracked down their home addresses.

I am not a lesbian. But this letter scares me. You should be scared too. A mass mail campaign that attacks any group, attacks us all.

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