July 18, 2024

COLUMN: A letter to a hater, coward and sinner

The following letter is to the anonymous person calling themself “The Shadow.” This person has spent years carefully constructing hate mail to send to the people of our community and the CNA. They have sent letters to the pool committee, unwed parents and many others. I received my first letter from this person only a few weeks into my job here and I received another after writing a column advocating being an ally for the LGBTQ community.

Dear Anonymous,

As your letters never come with a name or a return address, I’m sure you haven’t had the opportunity to receive feedback on your correspondence before. Let me give that to you.

Notice, I didn’t use the name you chose for yourself. It simply doesn’t seem fitting. The Hater, The Coward or The Sinner all seem more appropriate to me.

The last letter we received from you was an invitation to join you in protesting Hot Air Brewing’s drag show on June 23. You said, “As usual, I stand alone.” Yet, you didn’t show your face to protest the event.

As usual, you use anonymity as a shield and your vast misinterpretation of the Bible as your sword.

You sent a letter saying, “God said homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God,” yet even as a small child, I knew John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

For someone as “religious” as you claim to be, it’s interesting that you don’t have even a basic understanding of Christianity.

Each letter sent contains some reference to the Bible. Anyone who’s received a letter knows your favorite verse, “Thou shall not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is an abomination,” Leviticus 18:22.

However, while this is the one of a few unspecific references of homosexuality being called out as a sin in the Bible, there are many verses focusing on hate as a sin.

Perhaps it is time to reflect instead of focusing on the “sins” of others.

I found this one to be most interesting given your choice of name: “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” In addition, it states, “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.”

There is no doubt you live in the darkness of hatred.

Perhaps the best advice you could follow comes from Ephesians 4:31. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

You can believe that others sin. You can believe that homosexuality is evil and that swimming pools are grounds for lust. However, by the book you tout, your actions are sinful. Your words are evil. Even outside of the Bible, your actions are criminal.

In your own words from a letter sent in 2019, “You can argue with God all you want, but you are not going to win.”

I’m proud of the content I produce. I stand behind my actions and the words I write. Meanwhile, you refuse to put a name behind your words. I can only assume it is because you are either ashamed or afraid.

You once asked someone to put an ad in the “Creston Gay Advertiser” of a time and place to meet unless they are a “coward.”

First of all, love the name. I might have to change my business cards to say “Creston Gay Advertiser.” It has a nice ring to it. Secondly, isn’t it kind of the pot calling the kettle black for you to call someone else a coward? You are the one refusing to share your identity.

Despite your harassment, despite your despicable behavior, despite your obvious hatred for anyone different than yourself, I will pray for you. I will not hold hatred in my heart for you. I will struggle to live the way Jesus wants us to. I will take the difficult path while you waltz along the easy one.

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs,” Proverbs 10:12.

Perhaps the name, The Shadow, is because you’re always throwing shade. But as the wise Taylor Swift once said, “Shade never made anybody less gay.”

Cheyenne Roche


Originally from Wisconsin, Cheyenne has a journalism and political science degree from UW-Eau Claire and a passion for reading and learning. She lives in Creston with her husband and their two little dogs.