The Jimmy Stewart statue, located as it is on the grounds of a public courthouse, is an image not only of the private individual, but of a beloved public figure.
Jimmy Stewart may have been a religious man, but he is primarily remembered and lauded in this country for embracing our core values of fairness, inclusion and kindness.
His most famous films, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” tell stories of courage and civic engagement standing against oppression and hopelessness.
His military service to this country was an act of selfless dedication to our most cherished ideals.
Thus, his image is an inspiration to all Americans — to all who are dedicated to fostering acceptance and equality.
We are lucky to live in Indiana County, surrounded by his legacy.
The writer of a July 3 letter to the Gazette assumes that she can know what position Mr. Stewart might have taken on the recent rulings by the Supreme Court, based on what she understands to have been his political party affiliation and his church membership.
In fact, many Republicans embrace the fairness of marriage equality and many Christians, including Presbyterians, embrace a loving, inclusive attitude toward all. Also, many Americans have shifted their positions on this issue, based on their knowing LGBT people among their co-workers, friends and family.
Are there other appropriate symbols with which the Stewart statue might be draped?
Of course there are. It was, however, totally appropriate to drape the Stewart statue in rainbow flags celebrating the momentous Supreme Court decisions that advanced marriage equality.
As a symbol of a person whose love for family and community surpassed partisan and religious identity, the Jimmy Stewart statue on the Indiana County Court House lawn wore those colorful rainbow flags beautifully.
Indiana Cares Campaign
IUP LGBT Commission and Safe Zone Program
Center for Community Growth