A Welcoming Community Should Equally Welcome All – “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
(excerpted from a Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr., 1963.)
LGBTQ people should have the same opportunities and benefits as any other American enjoys. The forces against LGBTQ equality often employ the shameful practice of using religious beliefs as a rationalization for their bias, which results in the discrimination and condemnation against our fellow citizens.
Dr. King further wrote:
“All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.”
The practice of weaponizing scripture to justify the behaviors of “we don’t serve your kind”, “we don’t rent to your kind” and “we don’t employ your kind” is contrary to the purposes of scripture and democracy. Theological arguments are a common practice of oppressors as they seek to use a moral argument to legitimize immoral conduct.
The Curse of Ham was preached widely in southern churches in an attempt to legitimize slavery and segregation against Black Americans. This scriptural interpretation successfully appeased the consciences of people who were seeking a way to rationalize their shameful treatment of Black Americans. I believe most people today would agree that the Bible does not support or condone slavery and subjugation.
Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22: 36-39.
Love should honor, respect and elevate a person. Love should not discriminate, condemn and harm the person. Equal rights provide people the honor and respect that comes from full citizenship. Equality elevates the victim as well as the community. Despite the recent upturn in hate and bigotry, America has made significant progress since the passage of the 1960s civil rights laws, and as a result has become a better country. We can continue this progress with the passage of The Equality Act, which seeks to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
America is at its best when it stands for truth and justice for all. The truth is that all Americans should be equal, and justice demands that our laws and behaviors reflect that truth. Like prior civil rights movements, the end game is known. LGBTQ equality is on the near horizon.