A letter to Pastor Gary Basham:
I am the parent of one of the children you chose to try and force your own personal opinion upon at the Payson Public Library last Wednesday evening.
I know that you felt that you were well within your rights. Our Constitution protects our choice to peaceful protest, as well as our choice of religion. I also know that you felt justified that you were doing the will of Our Lord God.
However, God's edict is that we love one another, not frighten young children in his name. He also asks that we perform good will and works, as well as be his disciples and bring his knowledge into the hearts of others. But he never asks us, or gives us the authority, to judge one another. That is Christ's burden alone, and I would never assume to you, or anyone else, that I had that right.
I suppose your heart was in the right place. I appreciate that you were doing what you thought was right. My argument with you is the way you went about expressing yourself.
You obviously knew about the Harry Potter event beforehand. I think it would have been more prudent, and probably more effective, to have lodged a complaint with the library director, and perhaps town council, instead of waiting like a pack of wolves to pounce on a bunch of innocent kids.
Or, perhaps your congregation could have organized your own event to protest J.K. Rowling and her works, if you find them so offensive. Put out fliers, ads, etc. to invite the public. I'm sure then you may have attracted some people who were willing to listen to, and try to understand, your message instead of just frightening and angering a bunch of protective parents.
My son knows God, he has been baptized. He is well-rounded emotionally and intellectually and he loves to read. He is entirely capable of distinguishing fact from fantasy --ood from bad. The responsibility of any parent is to teach these abilities and values to their children. Harry Potter is "just a storybook."
I would never presume to tell anyone that they were going to Hell -- especially not young children. Please consider all that I've said with as much respect as I've considered your position.
Lynetta Working, Payson