Hello, readers and dear friends!
It's been a while. And I'm sure you know why. But just in case you didn't, let me quickly re-hash:
On Monday morning (May 14) this tailspin of a life-changing circumstance began. We had received word via a friend from Facebook that the Kansas Equality Coalition had submitted a press release to the Hutchinson News in regards to a post that Jack left on his private facebook page the week before (follow-up from Obama's stance on gay marriage). The press release, simply put, slandered my husband's name and accused him of comparing gays to murderers based on his private Facebook post seen only by his friends. Here is his status:
All this talk in the news about gay marriage recently has finally driven me to write. Gay marriage is wrong because homo-sexuality is wrong. The Bible clearly states it is sin. Now I do not claim it to be a sin any worse than other sins. It ranks in God's eyes the same as murder, lying, stealing, or cheating. His standards are perfect and ALL have sinned and fallen short of His glory. Sin is sin and we all deserve hell. Only those who accept Christ as Lord and daily with the help of the Spirit do their best to turn from sin will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. They're aren't multiple ways to get to Heaven. There is one. To many this may seem close minded and antagonistic, but it doesn't make it any less true. Folks I am willing to admit that my depravity is just as great as anyone else's, and without Christ I'd be destined for hell, if not for the undeserved grace of God. I'm not condemning gay marriage because I hate gay people. I am doing it because those who embrace it will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And I desire that for no one.
As you well know, the Hutch News picked up on it and did a story that was quickly picked up by the radical groups in our country, who then in turn made it national headline news. By last Saturday, it had made the Huffington Post, one of the nation's largest online newspapers. Each story had several comments (thousands in the Huff Post!) - most of them full of hate, intolerance, and NO CLUE has to what my husband had really written as the media by this time had twisted his words out of context. Those commentors didn't even know what they were commenting on. Also this week, a Fire Jack Conkling page was set up on Facebook by someone we don't know (and will never know, as they don't post that information on the page). After several attempts from friends and visitors who were appalled, Facebook replied back and said it didn't fit under their harassment guidelines and therefore were going to keep the page up and going.
Jack has received loads of hate e-mail. - and when I say hate, I mean hate. The letters have made the comments on the Hutchinson News article look rosy. There was definite language I had to quickly turn my eyes from - but that was just the brink of it. Several obscene e-mails were written, showing the Devil's power and his demonic grip on some individuals in our society. If you ever wonder or think our country is religious or predominantly Christian, I beg you to visit the Huffington Post and view the article's comments. It'll change your tune and cause you to get down on your knees are pray for the millions of souls who are lost in this country. Same goes for our "conservative" Bible belt community of Hutchinson and Reno County.
As you can imagine, we've been on a roller coaster ride of emotions - and each in our own way. My gentle and humble husband has been incredible through it all. He did not miss a day of work and did so with such poise and dignity. He's had several people ask if he could do it over again, would he post his comments. His reply? A simple "yes." What a man who stands behind his convictions! (love him so!)
There have been different struggles from my end, and I'll (somewhat) get into those in later blog posts.
And for what it's worth - and to answer any questions you may have - here are some things that didn't make the story (or make it quite right):
* Jack does not seek out friends on Facebook. He accepts friend requests, but has some ground rules: He only has friended current middle school students if they're good family friends and we know their parents - and they, in turn, know us and where we stand. He does friend a few students once they leave the middle school - mostly athletes or employees at the pool as it's a great way to communicate work schedules and such. Again, the high school students he friends are ones who we know their parents and families and they know us.
* The person who "turned" Jack's status in to the KEC was NOT a current student - middle or high school. Somehow along the way this was misrepresented and the Hutch News thought the student was a minor (which is incorrect) and therefore didn't put the name in the paper. Neither here nor there, but I want to make that very clear that the person is now college-aged and an adult.
* Buhler, like several other school districts and public entities, does not currently have a social media policy. It may sound simple to some, but it's not. Where do you draw the line? It's a tough battle that school districts and businesses are dealing with nowadays. (Interestingly enough, I've been researching and working on some type of social media guidelines/policy for my own place of work the last several weeks - let's just say I have some differing views on the subject now!).
There is so much more to write - both privately and through this blog. As I've told you before and want to remind you again, this is like a journal to me. It's a pivotal time in our family's timeline and it needs to be recorded.
We GREATLY appreciate all of the prayers, love, and support we have received through this entire ordeal. It's quite humbling, actually, when we step away and not think it's about us but instead think about how we're glorifying God through it all! And God's people have been incredible - whether it's through prayers, texts, chats, e-mails, cards, letters, meals, offering to watch our kids, listening ears, hugs, you name it and we've been blown away by fellow believers and not only their love for their brother and sister in Christ, but ultimately their love for Jesus through all of this. THANK YOU!
Much love and until next time,