Raised as a child of missionaries, I grew up as an American in a foreign land. My parents taught me that Christian values were the fundamental underpinning of American culture, while instructing that we should always be respectful of other cultures.

My understanding is that an essential element of the values that were brought forth in the New Testament story was Jesus’ rebellion against the Old Testament scripture describing “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Words often immortalized by statements in modern day like, “we will never forget.” In contrast, Jesus’s message was to “turn the other cheek” and practice “forgiveness.”

As I read the Sun Journal account of Auburn Councilor Leroy Walker’s “racist” statements and I read of his apology, I wondered if we should all take a moment to embrace at least some of Jesus’s teaching and remember that his message was one of “forgiveness.”

I have communicated with Leroy on many occasions. I have not agreed with him in every case but have always found him to be receptive to communication and capable of compromise.

On many occasions I have reached out to all our councilors and only received a response from Leroy, even though he is not my ward representative.

I believe Leroy deserves our forgiveness and that we would all be better people if we took to heart the message of forgiveness in Jesus’s teaching, and remember also that “he that is without sin . . . let him cast the first stone.”

Alan Whitman, Auburn

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