Wednesday, November 26, 2008

National Day of Protest and Responding to Hate Mongering

A good friend of mine who has worked with me on many activism projects helped organize the Norfolk, Virginia, protest on November 15, 2008. In addition, she sent a letter to the editor to both the Virginian Pilot - which gave the protest no coverage whatsoever - and to the Daily Press, which publishes to the Hampton, Newport News and Williamsburg markets on the north side of Hampton Roads. While the Pilot all too typically did not print the letter, the Daily Press published it on November 17th with no editing whatsoever. I fully agree with her views (particularly the need for main-line denominations to grow some backbone and challenge the haters) and wanted to share her words with readers. Here is her letter:
On Saturday, November 15th, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered and their allies rallied across America, all at 1:30 ET, to protest California’s Proposition 8, and other anti-gay measures, passed on Election Day. Even though the local media, save WTKR Channel 3, chose not to cover the story, in Norfolk, we had a peaceful, yet vocal crowd of about 200 protestors. There was also a small group of Christian protestors on hand, yelling that gays are going to hell, and the like. This continued hate mongering is very disturbing to me.
I encourage all main-line Christians to talk about love, acceptance, and equal rights for all- just as Jesus did. Please stand up in your churches, your neighborhoods and at work and tell everyone you know if you do not share the same views as the Religious Right. That small minority is giving Christians a bad name and is turning many away from knowing the love of Jesus Christ because of their hate-mongering. This group uses false teachings as a way to raise money. Gays are just their current scapegoat of choice, a mantle that has been shared with blacks, immigrants, unwed mothers, and many others over the years.
Many Christians are disturbed that their congregations are shrinking and people are falling away from the Faith. I suggest that it is due to this ugly, fundamental minority of Christians. Because they are so vocal and organized, they appear to speak for all Christians, which we know is not the case. Until straight Christians across the country actively speak out and stand up for the true teachings of Christ, this abhorrent campaign of hate and bigotry will continue, alienating anyone who feels different.
I am Christian, and I am a lesbian, and I know my God created me and loves me exactly as I am. I am, however, one of the lucky ones.
I encourage you all to reach out and open your hearts (and give your voices) to our lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender brothers and sisters. There are many out there who are hurting. With our civil rights being stripped away, little by little, state by state, the feelings of disenfranchisement and alienation are growing, even for someone as strong in the Faith as me. Please take a stand. Don't let hate rule America, ESPECIALLY in the name of Christ.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your friend is right. It will take straight people's talking to other straight people to make the change happen. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from the Birmingham jail to his white clergy colleagues that they must join the battle and not be kept back by fear of conflict. This is not a "gay marriage" issue but a human rights issue, that straight old ladies like me must work for, too. Count me in!