Wednesday, March 09, 2016

ENOUGH with the game of lies being played on the lgbt community


I. AM. FURIOUS.

Rather than go into detail about the one specific incident which set me off, allow me to post an excerpt from this wonderful piece from Five Thirty Eight. It gets to the center of my anger. The piece is called 'Religious Liberty' Has Replaced Gay Marriage in GOP Talking Points and it says that the GOP has, for the most part, given up on talking about gay marriage because much of their base isn't into that fight anymore. Instead, they are talking about "religious liberty":

Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, a unit of the Southern Baptist Convention that advocates Christian values to government leaders, acknowledges that the conversation has shifted.

Whatever their definition of marriage, he says, Americans should be concerned by the Supreme Court’s decisions, “both in terms of the power of the government” and “the reasons given for the redefinition.”
“I think that’s where the conversation is now,” he went on. “What sort of justices and judges would a president appoint, and how would they be restricted by a constitution itself?”

The shift from talking directly about same-sex marriage to more glancing references is also reflected in the GOP debate rhetoric. Mentions of “religious,” “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” appeared more than ever in this year’s debates when referring to the rights of business owners to refuse services to gay customers. It’s code, Dennard says, for “gay marriage.”
 
Talking about "religious liberty" is rather easy. It elevates the false idea of a person from persecution because of their religious beliefs. It makes folks who discriminate in secular business dealings seem like they are being "persecuted" for their religious beliefs, when in reality they are only being asked to treat all customers - whose taxes help with the safety and upkeep of their businesses - fairly.

One would never know that the phrase "religious liberty"  is yet another clever shift of semantics in the 30 year plus war on lgbts propagated by the religious right.

In the 70s, they said the children must be protected from "recruitment" since gays supposedly can't reproduce.

In the 80s, they exploited the ignorance regarding the AIDS crisis to make lgbts seem like deserving pariahs.

In the 90s. it was all about keeping us from receiving unfair "special rights."

And in the early 2000's, it was all about "protecting marriage."

So now we are in the middle of yet another con job propagated by slick verbiage, straw man arguments, junk science, and anecdotal stories taken out of context - i.e. "religious liberty."

And just like every other example above before it, the "religious liberty" argument puts  the lgbt community on the defensive as if we are the bad guys trying to corrupt all that is good and pure. Part of the reason for this is that hardly anyone has pointed out how "religious liberty" is a new bit of paint on the same old engine of homophobia and fear. Oh sure, some of us gave Sam Smith hell for his inaccurate statement about openly gay men winning Oscars, but very few of us have bothered to demonstrate that same degree of outrage when it comes to the connection between  "religious liberty," "protecting marriage," "special rights," and all other cutesy phrases used over the years to bamboozle us into playing catch up while the religious right channels "The Passion of Joan of Arc."

That's why I'm mad. Again, never mind the specific incident because the generalities are more important. After over 30 years of being branded and having to fight tooth and nail for our dignity, the lgbt community finds itself in the same situation again.

"Religious liberty" is not about protecting religious people from persecution anymore than "protecting marriage" was about safeguarding matrimony. It's about what it has always been about - homophobia and keeping lgbts under heel.

We rip open a door closed to us, but allow the opposition to control how quickly we can come through to the other side with their clever organization and deceptive phrases. We find ourselves hustled into having to explain why we should have the same right to come through the door at the same speed in which heterosexuals do, even though we shouldn't have to.

They tried to keep penalize our private sexual behavior. We beat them in the courts.

They tried to keep us from adopting. We beat them again.

They tried to brand simple talk of our families into that of sexual education. Again we beat them.

They tried to keep us from marrying. After a long battle, we annihilated them.

They are trying to demonize our transgender brothers and sisters. It's happening slowly but with our track record, I expect a victory.  But the point is after so many victories, why are we having to explain our right to be treated like everyone else?

Maybe it's time for the other side to explain why they feel we shouldn't.


Photo of Angela Bassett taken from the 'Waiting to Exhale.'

8 comments :

Jerry Reiter said...

Well said, Alvin.

Gary said...

Tears streaming down my face. "I'm tired of the fight. I'm tired of justifying my life to strangers and hypocrites. It's time to give this country a" come to Jesus" talk, as my grandmother would say.

Bless you Alvin for saying what I can't millions of readers. To them I say.... "When are you going to act? "

Susan Castillo said...

Hello All:

It happens that I was at a meeting where Russell Moore was the keynote speaker. I'm in Alabama, and he was here at the Southern Baptists "Church and Sexuality" conference as the President of Ethics and Religious Liberty committee for the SBC. I endured the conference (no small feat) just to be able to speak to him face to face. I heard a lot of talk prior to his "sermon" (because that's what it was, really) that emphasized insurance coverage, policies and procedures---you know, for when all those GAYS break down "our doors and try to force us into marrying them in our churches..."

His point of brilliance was that they were under no obligation to marry "the gays" because "the gays" are not under the authority of Jesus Christ. That is their out now.

I did get to talk to him. Part of the conference was promoting his book "Onward" (as he sold more than 500 copies--because that was part of the $25 fee to be able to participate in the conference---that, and a meal from CHICK FIL A----no lie). After his sermon, all the fans lined up to get him to sign their book. I got in line and did NOT have a book, and when it came my time to talk, he reached for my book. "Oh, I don't have a book. I don't want a book. I just want to know when yall are gonna have a big meeting on clergy sexual abuse of parishoners---now that yall can come together to tell everyone how to respond to challenges to 'religious liberty' I just know yall have figured out the 'church autonomy' thing and you can now address clergy sexual abuse as a church body and we can finally get all the pedophiles out of YOUR church...You DO believe clergy sexual abuse is wrong and unethical, don't you?"

At which point felt some hands on my shoulders to push me along because "Dr. Moore is in a hurry..." My response was "Please do not touch me, I have as much right to talk to him as any other person who came up here to gush and get his autograph..."

In the end, "there's a committee to address clergy abuse."

Now, it was enough for me to just get him to look at my face and to make them understand that they don't have authority of every person on Earth and there are some of us who don't give a damn about their self-aggrandizing back-slapping boy's club rules. I left feeling like I had at least put a dent in their plans to feel warm and fuzzy because they had come up with yet another method to deflect their imaginary warfare against "the gays."

Some of them do not fear gay people. But to remain in the boy's club, they have to go along. Cowards. One and all.

I was trying to act. Trying to make the world better for my gay children. I will never give up the fight. People don't realize, their children save them---gay or straight. My children (and I have 5--3 of which are lesbians) are absolutely the best people I know and I resent the hell out of people who see their lives and liberty as something that is contrary to everything good and perfect and true.

Thank you for your blog.

Susan Castillo
Birmingham, Alabama

Frank said...

Powerful post and comments. I have said many times, we shouldn't let them get away with their lies and twisted arguments. Enough!

DOLLYSLAFFN said...

"They tried to keep penalize our private sexual behavior. We beat them in the courts."... No, nobody cares what you do in private. But you brought it into the PUBLIC, and there's the problem.

BlackTsunami said...

Dolly, you are ignorant as hell and you deliberately ignored the rest of what I was saying. Lgbts did not bring sexual behavior in public. THAT is a product your ridiculous mind and that is the reason why so many like yourself oppose our equality. Your stereotypes are not and will never be OUR problem.

Susan Castillo said...

I feel so frustrated today. It seems this war has been going on forever. We live in a time and place where people can pretty much do what they want to do, as long as it is not hurting others. Whether that is right or wrong, I don't know. When I was a kid, brought up in church, I was taught that it was our Christian responsibility to show someone who was living in sin that they, indeed, were living against God's commandments. Whether THAT is right or wrong, I don't know.

But in this country, "right" and "wrong" have nothing to do with "legal" and "illegal." Fortunately, the pendulum seems to be almost in the middle, and as many voices that scream "You're wrong!" are met with as many screaming,"This is illegal!"

There's a difference in "wrong" and "illegal." "Wrong" is a matter of judgment. "Illegal" is a matter of the law. "Wrong" is subjective. "Illegal" is objective. "Wrong" is vague and depends on interpretation of some scripture. "Illegal" is clearly written and is expounded upon--and available--in places such as the library, internet, and books.

"Right" and "wrong" change with location, religion, denomination, and have a myriad of shifts and conditions. Like I said, "vague."

"Legal" and "illegal" are debated, voted upon, discussed, and are a result of consensus of SEVERAL people. "Right" and "wrong" come from interpretation of a text, often a holy text, and can have as many interpretations as there are people who read it.

What I am getting at here is obvious. Gay rights to ANYTHING are OBJECTIVE. Gay sex is private. Keep your Christian view of marriage. Nobody wants to take that away from anyone. But leave other people alone. That's not difficult to do. Just leave other people alone. One thing I learned in church a long time ago, "God does not have grandchildren." What that meant to me was "take care of your own stuff and leave the rest to God." Leave people alone. Gays are none of anyone's business. It is statistically proven that child molesters are heterosexual males. Not gays. Those "trans-sexuals" that Franklin Graham keeps warning you about...well, guess what? There is NO evidence that they exist. NO case of a transgender person attacking and preying upon women and children in a public restroom exists. None. Nada. I challenge you to find ONE.

It is just sensationalism, coming from people who have based their lives on interpretation of vague holy texts. The Bible has as much validity as the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, etc., etc. YOU may not think so. But the objective fact is that the Bible is a holy text. Written because of the inspiration of God. Another holy being who speaks through people who say they are CALLED to service.

Dolly, if you have had bad experiences with gays, I am sorry that you have. I've had bad experiences too. We all have. There were houses of ill repute, strip shows, porn, and night clubs with naked women dancing around long before there were public gay nightclubs and gay porn. Life is messy and there is no one answer for everyone. I ask you to reconsider your opinions of right and wrong and perhaps research a little more before you post with what you consider as "the problem."

BJ Jackson Lincoln said...

I too am tired of the lies and religious hate being permitted to be broadcast daily through the lies of haters. Bryan Fischer, Tony Perins and Pat Robertson are some of the worst. Brian Brown focused his energy on marriage to hide his all around hate and when he lost he is still trying to change it. He travels the world spreading lies and creating danger for innocent LGBT people. I have 2 'adopted' Trans sons and I appear rather ambiguous so these Bathroom bills have affected our lives. While we are lucy enough to live in a state that not only voted for equal marriage long before SCOTUS, we also have trans protections so our children don't have to worry about discrimination. I do wish the branches of religions that are LGBT welcoming would find their voice and get louder and busier that the haters. We do have momentum on our side now and more people are coming around every day.