More than two hundred years after the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that we all are created equal, the country’s largest Protestant denomination finally admitted that slavery is sinful and asked forgiveness from African-Americans for the church’s role in advocating segregation.
The message preached from many Southern Baptist pulpits had been that God ordained the separation of the races, and that tampering with the status quo would deliberately contradict the Almighty’s inviolable will.
Posting a “godhatesfags.com” Web site, one Baptist leader made quite a scene picketing the funeral of a martyred gay college student killed in a senseless hate crime. In a national broadcast, Pat Robertson prophesied fire and brimstone falling on Orlando, Florida, because of the rainbow flags flying during Disney’s annual “Gay Days.” The Boy Scouts appealed an “activist” judge’s decision that the organization couldn’t discriminate against gays. And, before he died, the Rev. Jerry Falwell preached that the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were prompted, in part, by “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians …”
Over on Capitol Hill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act didn’t make it to the floor of the House or the Senate. After the House Majority Leader referred to a homosexual congressman as Barney “Fag,” and another Republican went on record castrating “homos” in the military, did anyone really think the bill stood a hell of a chance?
Bill Clinton’s people already decided there was no compelling reason for the federal government to become involved in a Supreme Court case that would determine whether states have the right to pass anti-gay legislation. Donning latex gloves before admitting them to the White House, our forty-second president’s Secret Service insulted a group of visiting gay dignitaries.
A federal judge in Virginia upheld Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, ruling that the military can discharge people just for stating they’re gay. The judge said the policy is “not based on prejudice,” but that it serves a legitimate need: protecting the privacy of heterosexual service members.
Despite all its pomp and circumstance, the “W” Bush Administration conveniently forgot about removing from combat military men and women who decided to be honest and to come out during the invasion of Iraq. I guess they needed more corps and didn’t care whether our loyal lesbian and gay soldiers returned home or were ultimately discharged in a box.
An Anglican rabble-rouser from Nigeria trespassed on sacred ground because he’d had enough, but wanted more. Objecting to the egalitarian Episcopal Church (USA) electing a gay bishop, confirming female leaders, and judiciously agreeing to bless same-sex unions, the African bishop was determined to discount American churches and steal their sheep.
Protecting the “sanctity of marriage” supposedly threatened by those of us in committed, same-sex unions, fools rushed in with vitriol and passed constitutional amendments in many states, allowing us even fewer freedoms.
If all of us are created equal, what has become of the “decent respect to the opinions of mankind” about which the Declaration so clearly speaks? Hasn’t our Creator endowed us with certain inalienable rights—liberty and the pursuit of happiness, among them? I thought they were guaranteed to all U.S. citizens by our Constitution and its Bill of Rights.
Someone, please, explain why our families, religions, government, and culture make some folks feel so queer that they prefer hiding in a damn closet rather than come out and prove there’s nothing but a bunch of smoke and mirrors behind all those emperor’s new clothes.
Who, really, knows?
We each are part of a divine design in all its grand diversity.
Yet, for reasons unknown that now must escape us, like square pegs, we have trouble fitting securely—no matter how we try or twist and turn—into society’s series of oblique round holes.
Mysterious creatures we are, it has been said. And that, after all has been expressed or excoriated, it truly doesn’t matter.
No, from my point of view, I doubt that it matters much in the end.
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