Letter to the Editor
I am writing in response to an article which appeared in the Fall 1999 Scene. The article appeared on page 4 and was entitled "Rev. Rich Hamlin '84 wins court battle for religious freedom."
I followed this event through the local media and am somewhat appalled that this action by Rev. Hamlin is worthy of space in Scene. I don't want to discount or jeopardize the principles of religious freedom embodied in our Constitution, however given the nature of the circumstances I believe Rev. Hamlin had an equally strong obligation to persuade his client/parishioner to do the right thing. In this case it should have been to turn himself in and accept the consequences of his actions.
It seems that there is an equally important moral principle to protect our children. From everything I was able to determine Mr. Martin was using his discussion with Rev. Hamlin as a shield to protect himself from the consequences of his indefensible act. None of the actions by Rev. Hamlin reported in the media led me to believe he did anything to persuade Mr. Martin to do the right thing.
It seems that your article ignored the other side of the story -- the cost of this defense of religious freedom was real justice for the actions of Mr. Martin in the murder of his child.
Tim Gerstmann '79