A couple of weeks ago, I posted about Centennial High School senior Ryan Eichenauer [see post HERE] who, shortly after coming out as gay — though he called it not a coming out but letting people in — received death threats from anonymous students because he had the nerve to be gay and openly gay at that. And now, Noah Ratgen, yet another Centennial High School student is telling the same story, about what happened to him when he came out.
"It hurt — just like calling someone fat or ugly. There's no reason to do it at all. I just don't understand why we're such a big problem." — Noah Ratgen, an 8th grade student at Centennial
After Ratgen came out late last fall, also using social media as a way to tell his classmates, he and his family awoke one morning o find that their driveway had been vandalized.
"On the driveway, written in very large letters: 'God hates fags.' It was absolutely disgusting. I went and washed it off right away." — Brad Ratgen, Noah’s father
The family reported the graffiti to police, but no arrests were ever made; the incident was filed as a hate crime with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. In addition, Centennial Superintendent Brian Dietz says the probe into the death threats left for Ryan Eichenauer was continuing aggressively.
That’s one thing the two incidents have in common: all parties involved commend the school district for their swift action and sensitivity toward the victims. Ryan Eichenauer took to social media to thank the district for how it has handled the situation.
"Centennial High School is a fantastic school, they have done a lot to make sure I, as well as other students, feel safe. I am very glad with how the staff and elders are handling this situation. My only problem is the maturity of other students." — Ryan Eichenauer
It was after learning about what happened to Ryan Eichenauer that the Ratgen family decided to take their story to the media; they wanted Ryan to know he isn't alone in the community when it comes to being targeted for who he is.
"There's reason people do it anonymously. They know it's wrong. They know it's hate-filled. No one wants to be associated. That's why they do it under the cover of darkness at night, why they leave a note on a desk at school." — Brad Ratgen
Both instances began the same way: someone came out as gay. And in both instances the anonymous letter writers and the anonymous vandals used God as the reason for their hate. If these people really believed in God, I wonder how they feel knowing their “God” can hate.
And don’t get me started on those states that are trying to make religious discrimination of the LGBT community legal, because what they are actually doing is making it okay for these so-called God-fearing people to leave death threats on desks and hate messages on the pavement.
That’s not God, no matter what you think of God.