I am appalled at what I read in Tuesday's paper about Kokomo City Councilman Greg Jones. I condemn his disgusting, hateful comments about Muslim people and LGBTQIA people.

This person has no business in a leadership position. If he is remorseful, as he says he is, let him prove it through his actions: (1) resign; (2) reach out to the Islamic Association of Kokomo and ask forgiveness; (3) broaden his world through regular contact with people and cultures different from his own. Repentance doesn't mean saying you're sorry; it's a 180 degree turn in the opposite direction. It's words and deeds.

I call on the members of Kokomo's City Council to remove Jones from office, and thereby distance themselves from xenophobia and homophobia. This is an ethical issue - not a political one. Jones's apology is a first step, but some things cannot be unsaid. He is not fit to represent the people of the 4th District. I have no confidence in elected officials who do not understand the necessity of removing Jones from office.

Unlike Jones, I do have a relationship with members of Kokomo's Islamic Center. They are among the most gracious, kind, and hospitable people I have ever known. I am deeply saddened that one of our officials has insulted them. He doesn't speak for Kokomo.

Love is stronger than hate; we stand with you. You are welcome here, and you are an integral part of the fabric of this town. I echo these sentiments to our LGBTQIA community members, particularly our Kokomo Pride Youth Group. We will not stand for hate or exclusion. You are valued and accepted.

The Rev. Melinda Hancock, Kokomo

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