|Posted on April 1, 2011 at 4:20 PM|
By Gary Konecky
Gays, lesbians, and other sexual minorities are subjected to discrimination and violence all over the world. Often, these attacks are justified, encouraged, and motivated by religious teachings. The religions most often responsible for these attacks are certain branches of Judaism, the Roman Catholic Church, certain protestant faiths, Christian fundamentalists, and Muslims. This analysis is going to detail the massive extent of homophobia in our society and then the biblical prohibitions against such discrimination and persecution.
One of the reasons gays and lesbians are condemned in society because they do not engage “natural sex”. As Rabbi Simchah Roth notes: “When heterosexuals involve themselves with masturbation, mutual masturbation, fellatio, anti-pregnancy pills, condoms, spermicides, curettage and the most amazing acrobatic feats in order to defeat conception, theheterosexual claim to ‘natural sex’ is sheer hypocrisy!”
Gays and lesbians are singled out as promiscuous, often by religious leaders and politicians. Yet when those same gays and lesbians attempt to form a committed monogamous relationship; those same religious leaders and politicians condemn gays and lesbians as they rant about the sanctity of traditional marriage and make false statements such as “the bible says marriage should be between one man and one woman.” Setting aside the multiple wives and concubines of the bible (as well as the commandment that a rapist marry his rape victim); this argument is nothing more than these homophobic politicians and religious leaders trying to have their cake and eat it too (in a damned if gays and lesbians do, damned if gays and lesbians don’t scenario).
Nor can we overlook the politicians and religious leaders that use gays and lesbians as whipping boys in their culture wars, in their fundraising, and in their political campaigns. Many of these politicians and religious leaders have gone so far as to demand that gays and lesbians be stripped of the limited legal protections currently afforded gays and lesbians. Least anyone think thatwill not happen here, it has already happened. In California in 2008, the Mormon Church allegedly violated campaign finance laws and bought the election to have same sex civil (as in married at City Hall and not a church) marriage repealed after the California Supreme Court ruled that under the California state constitution gay and lesbia ncouples have a right to civil marriage. Despite a federal court ruling that this repeal of same sex civil marriage is unconstitutional, gays and lesbians still cannot be married in California.
2009 saw same sex civil marriage repealed in Maine. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designated hate group the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) spent $2 million on this vote, and the Roman Catholic Church spent over half a million dollars on this vote, while at the same time closing local churches for lack of funds. NOM is still battling in court to keep the names of their donors’ secret, despite loosing every court ruling thus far. If NOM is as moral as they claim, what are they hiding? Why do NOM’s donors demand secrecy if they are doing G-d’s work as they claim? http://www.americanindependent.com/164201/despite-grassroots-claim-most-of-national-organization-for-marriage-funding-comes-from-few-sourcesand http://nomexposed.org/2011/03/02/nom-appeals-court-ruling-on-its-maine-activities-remains-under-investigation-by-state-ethics-board/
By the way, this is the same Roman Catholic Church that has been rocked by a decades long, worldwide series of scandals involving pedophilia and child abuse. Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Church’s persecution of gays and lesbians appears to be a smokescreen to divert attention from these scandals. Additionally, in an effort to divert attention form the naked bigotry and hate spread by the Roman Catholic Church (a hate that includes persecution of women and Jews in addition to gays and lesbians), the Vatican has gone crying to the United Nations claiming that their freedom of religion (which they define to include hate mongering) is under attack and that they, not their victims are being persecuted. http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE72L4XU20110322
Nor is the hatemongering limited to religious groups. 2010 and 2011 are seeing the same repeal efforts, as well as voting judges out of office and attempting to impeach judges if they rule in favor of same sex civil marriage. The entire Iowa Supreme Court has been voted out of office or faces impeachment because they ruled the Iowa state constitution provides gays and lesbians with equality under the law, including the right to a civil marriage. Attempts to enact constitutional amendmentsto discriminate against gays and lesbians are currently underway in several states including Iowa. An effort to repeal same sex civil marriage in underway in New Hampshire. Both Iowa and New Hampshire are considered early must win states in the presidential nomination sweepstakes. Leading the charge in Iowa are several SPLC designated evangelical and Christian hate groups. Leading the charge to discriminate in New Hampshire is the SPLC designated hate group NOM. Additionally, the bigoted politicians in congress are attempting to re-enact the failed, unconstitutional policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). They obsessed with re-enacting DADT, because if DADT stays repealed, then the world will know that the limp-wrested stereotypes of gay men are merely stereotypes; and that gay men are strong, honorable, men that capable of fighting and defending their country. To put all this activity into historical perspective, one need only look at the Nuremberg Laws of Nazi Germany where first the Jews were first relegated to second-class citizenship and ultimately to the gas chambers and concentration camps. For those who think I am overstating the case, one need only look at theAmerican Christian fundamentalist inspired and promoted pending legislation in Uganda, legislation that carries the death penalty for being homosexual.
Prior to World War 2, Henry Ford wrote numerous anti-Jewish materials that were published in this country. Many of those writing sfound their way into Hitler’s Mein Kampf. History is now repeating itself in Uganda, where right wing politicians and the American Religious Righthave been very active in seeking laws criminalizing homosexuality, including making homosexuality punishable by death.
To see how thisis already playing out we need look no further than the murder of gay rights activist David Kato in Uganda, about which the New York Times reported:
…Ms. Kalende was referring tovisits in March 2009 by a group of American evangelicals, who held rallies and workshops in Uganda discussing how to turn gay people straight, how gay men sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” intended to “defeat the marriage-based society.”
The Americans involved said the yhad no intention of stoking a violent reaction. But the antigay bill was drafted shortly thereafter. Some of the Ugandan politicians and preachers who wrote it had attended those sessions and said that they had discussed the legislation with the Americans.
After growing international pressure and threats from a few European countries to cut assistance — Uganda relies on hundreds of millions of dollars of aid — Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, indicated that the bill would be scrapped.
But more than a year later, that has not happened, and the legislation remains a simmering issue in Parliament. Some political analysts say the bill could be passed in the coming months, after a general election in February that is expected to return Mr. Museveni, who has been in office for 25 years, to power.
…Conservative Christian groupsthat espouse antigay beliefs have made great headway in this country and wield considerable influence. Uganda’s minister of ethics and integrity, James Nsaba Buturo, who describes himself as a devout Christian, has said, “Homosexuals can forget about human rights.”
Previously, the New York Times reported:
Last March, three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about “curing” homosexuals have been widely discredited in the United States, arrived here in Uganda’s capital to give a series of talks.
The theme of the event, according to Stephen Langa, its Ugandan organizer, was “the gay agenda — that whole hidden and dark agenda” — and the threat homosexuals posed to Bible-based values and the traditional African family.
For three days, according to participants and audio recordings, thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to the Americans,who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat themarriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity…”
One month after the conference, a previously unknown Ugandan politician, who boasts of having evangelical friends in the American government, introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009…
The American evangelicals referred to above are none other than members of C Street and The Family, two of the most influential and shadowy Christian fundamentalist groups in the United States. In addition to their other activities, these entities are involved in the National Prayer Breakfast that is attended by the President, by members of Congress, and by high-ranking government officials.
David Kato’s obituary, an obituary of a man who was only concerned with others including the poor, the down and out, and the proper education of school children can be found at: http://www.economist.com/node/18111806. What is striking about this obituary is that many of those who benefited from his kindness still demonized him because of their intense hatred of gays.
David Kato’s funeral was also marked by homophobic rants from the preacher who officiated at the funeral. The Talmud (Ta'anith 21a) tells us: “…This is in accordance with the view of R. Meir who said: It is a duty to carry out the will of a dying man.” How did this preacher carry out the will of a dying man with his display of hatred against the deceased, with his display of hatred against the deceased’s life work, and with his display of hatred and contempt to the deceased’s mourners? Chapter two of Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) tells us: “Rabbi Eliezer would say: The honor of your fellow should be as precious to you as your own…” How did the homophobic ranting of this cleric show honor to his fellows (the deceased and the deceased’s mourners)? What kind of cleric (a man of G-d) would choose to willfully, deliberately, with maliceaforethought, inflict emotional harm on mourners? What kind of sickness demands this level of cruelty? What deity demands hate such as this?
The Guardian, in their coverage of this funeral reported:
The incident highlighted the deep, religiously-stoked homophobia that exists in Uganda, and which Kato's friends believe may have caused his death. He was one of few openly homosexual men in the country, and was a regarded as the "grandfather" of the gay community due to his long struggle for equal rights. His death came just three weeks after he won a court victory against a newspaper that had called for him to be hanged….
Following the pastor's departure, Kato's friends completed the burial, before quickly returning to Kampala due to threats from some local villagers.
Nor is this situation unique to Uganda. Days after this funeral in Uganda, CNN reported:
A controversial Kansas church says members will picket before the memorial service Wednesday evening for two Florida teenagers allegedly killed by their mother.
In a press release, Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, said it will demonstrate outside the service in Tampa because the mother is a military wife and "the doomed American military declared war on God & His church."
The controversial church and its pastor, Fred Phelps, have made their name picketing near funerals of people who died of AIDS, gay people and soldiers.
In a recent 8-1 US Supreme Court ruling, the Supreme Court has ruled this church’s behavior is constitutional. That would be the US Supreme Court that ruled against televising the Prop. 8 trail at the behest of the bigots who sponsored and campaigned for Prop. 8. That would also be the US Supreme Court that ruled that gays and lesbians cannot use the word “Olympics” in the San Francisco Arts & Athletics, Inc. v. United States Olympic Committee case. That would be the US Supreme Court whose ruling in Bowers v.Hardwick was such a homophobic, bigoted, disgustingly gross miscarriage of justice that decades later they overturned it in Lawrence v. Texas.
Days after news about Westboro Baptist Church’s Florida funeral picketing was reported, Republican state representative LaVar Christensen introduced two bills in the Utah state legislature that are designed to strip gay and lesbian families of all legal rights and protections. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/02/03/utah-politicians-bill-to-exclude-gay-families/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Pinknews+%28Pink+News%29 Utah is home to the notoriously homophobic Mormon Church (the Church of Jesus Christ and Later Day Saints or LDS). The Mormons also engage in the disgusting practice of baptizing Jewish dead and then claiming them to be Mormon souls.
Days after Republican bigot Christensen introduced his hate mongering legislation, Indiana Republican State Rep. Eric Turner introduced legislation to amend the state constitution so that legal protections for same sex couples will be unconstitutional. Unitarian Minister Andy Burnette pointed out: “It’s state sanctioned discrimination. Two straight people can go to Vegas, be intoxicated and be married by an Elvis impersonator and what we’re saying in Indiana is that two people in a committed relationship that care foreach other can’t achieve that status. I really have a hard time understanding that.” http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2011/02/anti-gay-marriage-amendment-advances-in-indiana-house/
Days after Rep. Turner introduced his hate gays and lesbians bill, Tennessee Republican Assemblyman Glen Casada has introduced a bill allowing government contractors to discriminate against gays and lesbians in hiring and employment. Furthermore, this bill makes any attempt to stop such discrimination illegal. The bill is backed by Conservative and Christian groups. http://www.outandaboutnewspaper.com/article/4563
This was followed about a week later by African-American Bishop Harry Jackson, a minister at the Hope Christian Church in Belstville, MD, demanding that the Conservatives in Congress repeal Washington, DC’s civil marriage law that allows same sex couples to have legally recognized relationships in the District of Columbia. Too bad this Bishop, too bad this descendant of slaves, too bad this self-appointed guardian of public morality cannot be bothered to read his own bible, for Leviticus19:34 tells him and us: “But the stranger who dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am the L-rd your G-d.” http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=7542&MediaType=1&Category=26
Not to be outdone by Bishop Jackson, another African-American, Robert Broadus (Republican, Conservative, Tea Party) railed against same-sex marriage because it could lead to android marriage. He cited Star Trek as proof. He also cited the bible as justification for his bigotry. He is yet another example of a bible thumping ignoramus that has not read the bible, but feels it is his duty to impose is incorrect view of scripture on the rest of us. Perhaps we would all be better served if he actually read the bible instead of using the science fiction movie Star Trek as his source of information. http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2011/02/android-marriages-are-in-marylands-future-if-same-sex-marriage-legalized/
Republicans in Iowa are seeking to repeal same sex civil marriage. Aiding them are people such as Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr., president of the Iowa-Nebraska chapter of the NAACP. Rev. Ratliff gave a disgusting, hatemongering speech against same sex marriage at a rally to amend Iowa’s constitution to ban same sex civil marriage and overturn an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that such a ban was unconstitutional under the Iowa state constitution. It is note worthy that a similar state constitutional amendment was ruled unconstitutional by a US District Court in a case involving California’s Prop.8 repeal of same sex civil marriage. http://www.thepridenetwork.org/blog/?p=106
Then there is Iowa homophobe Cary Gordon of Cornerstone World Outreach. Among this outspoken, politically involved pastor’s comments is one that allowing same sex marriage is the same as repealing gravity. This politician in clergy robes is also one of the bigots behind the removal of three Iowa SupremeCourt justices who ruled that the Iowa state constitution requires equalityunder the law for gays and lesbians and that equality under the law includes the right to a civil marriage.
As for this pastor’s other accomplishments, he defaulted on his church’s construction loans and his church is being auctioned off by the sheriff.
Montana Republican Representative Kristin Hansen has introduced a bill inthe state legislature that “would effectively overturn Missoula's 2010 ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (transgender protections) by prohibiting local governments from enacting protections beyond those found in the state's Human Rights Act, which does not include sexual orientation and gender identity.” I guess that part about “liberty and justicefor all” confuses this bigoted politician. http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=7630&MediaType=1&Category=26
Republican wannabe presidential candidate, religious fanatic, and ousted Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore is campaigning on a gay bashing platform. It is worth noting that this bigot was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court by an ethics panel for violating the US constitution and a US Court of Appeals court order. Other homophobes campaigning to be the Republican presidential candidate include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Godfather'sPizza CEO Herman Cain.
Maryland Republican Delegate Don H. Dwyer Jr. is once again leading thehomophobic charge of the bigots. Apparently, he has decided the way to Republican control of elected offices in Maryland is by abusing his public office and engaging in verbal gaybashing for partisan political purposes. He was successful in that the Maryland legislature let a same sex civil marriage bill die without even having the decency to vote on it.
The SPLC designated hate group NOM took credit for denying gay and lesbians equality in Maryland. It is also note worthy that NOM has a history of using race in their attacks of gays and lesbians. http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=7674&MediaType=1&Category=26
There is also nothing like the sanctity of heterosexual hypocrisy. Wannabe Republican Presidential candidate Newt (twice divorced, two extramarital affairs, now on his third marriage) Gingrich is running on the holier than thou moral platform of hating gays. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/50021.html Gingrich also believes that judges who uphold the Constitution (and grant gays and lesbians the same legal protections other Americans take for granted) should be punished. http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2011/03/17/gingrich-reportedly-funneled-125k-through-hate-group-to-punish-iowa-justices/ Apparently, Gingrich wants to be presidentof the heterosexual bigots of America, and not all Americans.
Wannabe Republican Presidential candidate Donald (twice divorced, now on his third marriage) Trump clearly does not have the qualifications of Gingrich, as Trump has not cheated on his wife. He is making up for that by be opposed to same sex civil marriage. By the way, he has graciously offered to let gays continue to live in New York. http://gop12.thehill.com/2011/02/trump-im-as-conservative-as-anyone-on.html
Then there are the Conservatives and Republicans hypocrites who are screaming because the Obama administration has decided not to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act; as if gay and lesbian people in committed relationships are a threat to marriage; while their heterosexual extramarital affairs and divorces defend marriage. The only thing that seems sacred here is heterosexual hypocrisy and political demagogy.
Nor is the problem just these politicians and their hypocrisy. Target Corporation, the parent of all those Target stores in the country, is suing a group that advocates for marriage equality. Apparently, the notoriously homophobic Target Corp. is offended that these citizens chose to utilize theirfirst amendment rights under the US Constitution. By the way, notorious former closet case Ricky Martin, has again chosen to line his pockets on the bodies of gay bashing victims. At the peak of his career, this prostitute chose to stay in the closet rather than help his gay and lesbian brothers andsisters. Now, this prostitute has chosen to crawl into bed with the notoriously homophobic Target Corp., so that he can again line his pockets. By the way, the very rich and all but useless GLAAD just gave Ricky Martin an award. In contrast, when the situation with Target broke, Lady Gaga walked away from a lucrative marketing deal withTarget. http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2011/03/target-sues-marriage-equality-group-for-canvassing-supporters-outside-stores/
The day after Donald Trump’s keen insight into the sanctity of hypocrisy, North Carolina brought us a news report that Michael Anderson murdered his gay roommate, Stephen Starr. Reports indicate that he shot Starr with a handgun and a shotgun. He also carved up the body with a sword and also used also an axe on it. Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid says it's "probably one of the worst scenes I have seen in my 30 years of law enforcement." Anderson’s 9-1-1 call seems to indicate that he will be using the both the infamous gay panic defense and the infamous Twinkie defense that Dan White so successfully used for the murders of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. http://www.queerty.com/brutal-murder-teen-shoots-hacks-gay-roommate-to-death-after-he-turned-straight-again-20110216/
Least anyone think this is an isolated incident, promising 18-year-old Anthony Santiago Collao was beaten to death in Queens (New York City) in a savage gay bashing. It is believed that Mr. Collao was not even gay, but was mistaken for someone who is gay. Five suspects have been arrested by police, but it appears the Queens County District Attorney’s office is reluctant to prosecute this as a hate crime, despite police charges of it being a hatecrime.
Coming on the heels of Mr. Collao’s being beaten to death in a gay bashing, Damian Furtch, aged 26, was gay bashed in a West Village (in Manhattan) McDonald's. He sustained black eyes and need stitches. The New York City Police Department is investigating this as a hate crime. The attacks on Mr. Collao and Mr. Furtch are part of series of attacks based on sexual orientation in all five boroughs of New York City. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2011/03/30/2011-03-30_gay_bashing_in_west_village.html
Texas brings us Republicans calling for state legislation that sounds very similar to Uganda’s kill the gays bill. http://jaysays.com/2010/06/texas-gop-official-platform-calls-for-imprisonment-of-homosexuals-and-supportive-heterosexuals/
Texas also brings us Democratic homophobic bigotry. Bexar County (San Antonio) Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ramos delivered a rant in which he attacked gay and lesbian members of the Democratic Party. http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2011/03/17/dan-ramos-gays-termites/
Despite the repeal of the failed, unconstitutional Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, the US Navy is continuing its policy of throwing out sailors they believe to be homosexual. http://gay.americablog.com/2011/03/take-action-another-dadt-discharge.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AMERICAblogGay+%28AMERICAblog+Gay%29
Republicans state senators in Michigan are seeking to strip gay and lesbian state employees of domestic partnership benefits. Apparently, if you are a married heterosexual, you are entitled to health care and pension benefits that cover your spouse; but if you are a gay or lesbian state employee then your domestic partner (not spouse as you cannot be legally married) does not deserve such benefits according to these bigots. To camouflage their bigotry, these bigots claim this is a budget issue. http://prideinutah.com/?p=9978
Nor is this hatred and bigotry reserved just for gays and lesbians as we can see from two criminal cases involving prosecutorial and judicial misconduct. Louisiana brings us the equivalent of a legal lynching involving the white power structure using criminal charges to destroy elected African-American officials. http://www.truth-out.org/race-and-politics-a-rural-louisiana-town-attract-national-attention68778
Nor is the first time criminal prosecutions have been used to destroy elected officials, as the Bush administration’s prosecution of Don Siegelman was another clear-cut example. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1858991,00.html
Then there is the Rubashkin case, a case that stinks of anti-Jewish hatred, a case in which the judge worked with prosecutors in a successful effort to arrest, convict and destroy Mr. Rubashkin and his company. http://chabad.info/index.php?url=article_en&id=22566 While Siegelman was persectuted by the Bush administration, Mr. Rubashkin was persecuted by the Bush administration and is now being persecuted by the Obama administration.
Let us also not forget the use of criminal prosecutions to persecute and destroy the lives of gay men on so called morals charges, an activity that police through out the world (including the United States) still engage in.
The there are the other attempts to enact laws that discriminate, usually in the name of some religious point of view, and usually for partisan political advantage. Republicans in US House of Representatives want the IRS to audit women who have abortions. http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/gop-bill-irs-abortion-audits
Republicansin the US House of Representatives also have a bill pending that would allow hospitals to let a pregnant woman die rather than perform the abortion that would save her life. By the way, the mother’s life being expendable to save a fetus is fully in line with Roman CatholicChurch dogma and right wing Christian fanaticism. http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/new-gop-law-would-allow-hospitals-to-let-women-die-instead-of-having-an-abortion.php
South Dakota Republican and “pro-life” state Representative Phil Jensen introduced abill pending in the South Dakota legislature “to let relatives of a woman seeking an abortion legally kill the provider performing the procedure.” The bill was voted out of the Republican controlled committee on a party line vote (9-3). It appears the “pro-life” movement is so pro-life that will permitthe murder of a living breathing human being if it will save a fetus. http://www.addictinginfo.org/?p=1655
Now lets assume that the fetus from the dead mother, or the fetus that survived the murder of a doctor, is born and turns out to be gay or lesbian. Well then all bets are off. The SPLC designated Christian hate groups will prevent any attempt to save that child from being bullied to death. Right now, the religious rights and Christian fundamentalist hate groups are engaged in a vicious, nasty, hateful campaign to prevent any attempt to stop bullying in schools. Apparently not enough children have been bullied to death to satisfy their blood thirsty G-d, a G-d that demands child sacrifices.
Speaking of bullying, there is this item of Christian bigotry involving Harding University (HU), the 6,800-student private Christian school in Searcy, AK. HU is affiliated with the Churches Of Christ and is telling gay and lesbian students:
…they must "see myself as heterosexual" and tell themselves same-sex attraction is "not natural."
Writes one student: "Three days a week in Harding's Counseling Center, I moved from therapist to therapist trying to find a way out. It was my final act of desperation. The choices were as follow: be saved from my closeted sin or death. I had it all planned out. If this failed, I would die. I had already gotten the gun. It was under my dorm room bed."
This isn't a minor annoyance.This is a matter of life and death for some students.
Yet even after the above quoted report about conditions at Harding University were made public, Matt Barber, Associate Dean of Liberty University and Director of Cultural Affairs for the Liberty Counsel went on radio and television to blame the gay and lesbian children that had been bullied to death for their own deaths. That’s right, the bullies played no part in these children’s deaths. It was there own fault for being born gay and lesbian that is the reason they died.
We also have another example of these Christian teachings in action. Julea Ward is a self-described “orthodox Christian.” Ms. Ward is suing her school, Eastern Michigan University (EMU), because she wants a career as a counselor and the school had the nerve to insist that she comply with the professional codes of conduct of her chosen profession as part of their degree requirements. Ms. Ward claims she cannot comply with codes of conduct of her chosen profession because that would require her to violate her religious duty to discriminate against gays and lesbians. A federal court has already ruled that the school was well within its rights to require compliance with these professional standards. The court also ruled that her refusal to provide counseling to gays and lesbians is a violation of American Counseling Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and the American School Counselor Association Ethical Standards for School Counselors. She is appealing the court ruling with the assistance of the notoriously well-funded homophobic Alliance Defense Fund. http://www.au.org/media/press-releases/archives/2011/02/public-university-is-not.html
Unlike EMU, the response to a gay or lesbian student being bullied is usually to back the bullies. One need only look at the deaths of gay and lesbian students who were bullied to death in 2010. http://www.examiner.com/religion-social-issues-in-newark/2010-a-year-of-bullying-and-suicide
Least anyone think things have improved since this issue was called to the public’s attention in 2010, Kameron Jacobsen, aged 14, was bullied to death in New York State over his perceived sexual orientation in January 2011. http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/local_news/new_york_state/sources-teenager-kills-himself-after-facebook-taunts-20110119
Then there is Republican Dan Gordon of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. This bigot blamed gayand lesbian students for being bullied. Furthermore, because these students and their allies tried standing upfor themselves, he decided to punish the school they were attending by pulling state education funding from the school. He defended himself against accusations of being a bigot with the classic “some of my best friends are gay” defense. A petition to educate Representative Gordon can be found at: http://act.demandprogress.org/act/dan_gordon/?source=fband a news report about this can be found at: http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=7971&MediaType=1&Category=26
Let us also not overlook the Catholic Church’s active political campaigns, as in their successful multi-million dollar campaign to repeal same sex civil marriage in Maine and their current political campaign in Minnesota, which is discussed in this link: http://gay.americablog.com/2010/10/mn-catholic-church-is-now-political.html.
Then there is the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This group of misogynistic pigs does not care how they endanger the lives of women as long as they can force women to walking baby factories. I would like these bishops to explain what gives them the right to demand laws be enacted that force American doctors to subject American citizens to medical malpractice because of their women hating god. By the way, having seen medical care in Catholic hospitals, I rather die in the street then be treated in one of their hospitals. http://yubanet.com/opinions/Terry-O-Neill-U-S-Catholic-Bishops-Major-Force-Behind-War-on-Women.phpand http://thehathorlegacy.com/us-catholic-bishops-wants-women-to-die-of-cancer/
Additionally, there is my favorite example of all this religious hypocrisy and hate; some bigot had Leviticus 18:22 tattooed on his arm; tattoos being a sin under Leviticus 19:28. I wonder if he got his tattoo after eating shellfish at Red Lobster, which is an abomination according to Leviticus 11:9-12. http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/man-tattoos-leviticus-1822-that-forbids-homosexua
Least anyone have any doubt; this is the poisonous fruit of religious homophobia. This is the fruit of the hatred and bigotry that comes from misreading scripture and using scripture as a tool of hate. Furthermore, there is plenty of blame for this hate. There are Orthodox and Ultra- Orthodox Jews (in the United States and Israel) who incite hate with their public displays of bigotry. There are Christian fundamentalists who publicly incite hate and its resulting violence. There is the Phelps clan and their Westboro Baptist Church that behave as badly or worse than the Ugandan preacher at David Kato’s funeral. There are the notoriously homophobic Roman Catholic and Mormon churches that incite hate and violence, and that also lobby and campaign against any form civil equality for gays and lesbians. Coincidentally, both these churches have long histories of Jew hating as well. There is the notoriously homophobic Salvation Army that seeks public donations while pretending to be charity, yet actively practices discrimination against Jews, gays, lesbians, and that also uses those charitable donations to lobbyfor the right to discriminate in providing taxpayer funded services. There are the numerous well-known, well-funded, Religious Right and Christian Fundamentalist hate groups cited by the SPLC, hate groups that espouse and preach the hate and incitement that leads to gay suicides, gay bashings, and murders. There is the Anglican Communion that refuses to confront the hatred in their midst. There are the appeasement policies of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, who refuses to confront the homophobic hate that is present in the Anglican Communion, hate that comes directly from the mouths of the communion’s most vocal bishops and clerics.
Additionally, this hate and bigotry goes far beyond religious leaders, religious fanatics, and politicians. It includes the government, especially its police and law enforcement agencies. The following are just some of the law enforcement agencies and courts that enable or actively participate in the persecution of gays and lesbians:
· The Ugandan Police
· The Puerto Rican Police
· The Fair Lawn, NJ Police Department
· The Fair Lawn, NJ Municipal Prosecutor
· The Fair Lawn, NJ Municipal Court Judge*
· The Bergen County, NJ Prosecutor’s Office
· The Essex County, NJ Sheriffs Department
· The Palisades Interstate Park (NJ) Police **
· The Palisades Interstate Park (NJ) Municipal Prosecutor**
· The Palisades Interstate Park (NJ) Municipal CourtJudge* **
· The New York City, NY Police Department
· The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
· The Fort Worth, TX Police Department
· The Palm Springs, CA Police Department
· The Palm Springs, CA District Attorney
· The Minneapolis, MN Police Department
· The Atlanta, GA Police Department
· The Lansing, MI Police Department
· The MichiganState Police
· The Detroit, MI Police Department
· The Pontiac, MI Police Department
· The Johnson City, TN Police Department
· The New Orleans, LA Police Department
* These two judges were subsequently promoted; the Fair Lawn judge being promoted to a life tenured position.
** Gay men have not been the only victims of entrapment, bogus prosecutions, and discriminatory law enforcement. Other groups targeted have included Jews, Asian-Americans, and African-Americans.
All of the above named police, prosecutors, and courts have done or knowingly allowed one or more of the following:
· Bag-a-fag stings and other police entrapment
· Malicious criminal prosecution of the victims of anti-gay harassment, not prosecution of the harassers, but prosecution of the victims of the anti-gay harassment
· Arrest and prosecution of gay men under provisions of the criminal code that were struck down as unconstitutional and unenforceableby courts
· Aiding, abetting and actively conspiring in the staging of incidents and then making it appear that the party guilty of anti-gayharassment is an innocent victim while taking every action to insure that the gay victim of the harassment is found guilty of criminal conduct
· Cover-ups of and/or refusal to investigate or prosecutehate crimes committed against gays and lesbians including physical attacks,death threats and harassment
· Knowingly arresting gay men on false charges, including prostitution charges and public indecency charges
· Beating, falsely imprisoning, entrapping, violently attacking and/or killing gay men
· Committing perjury to insure convictions of gay men who were arrested in illegal police stings
· Knowingly convicting gay men of “morals” crimes based upon perjured testimony from police
· Raids of gay owned businesses without probable cause
· Discrimination against gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) people
· Use of the 'crimes against nature' statute almost solely against LGBT individuals.
· Seizure of gay owned business records and propertywithout probable cause or a search warrant
We also have the case of Don Scheiferdecker, who has been the sheriff of Schuyler County, IL for over 30 years. He admitted to posting the following comment on Facebook: "Yup and his mouth is open, his glasses are off, he's ready, little fag Jew boy." One can only wonder about the type of law enforcement this sheriff has provided to gay men and Jews for the last 30 plus years.
It is noteworthy that while all of the above are recent cases, the birth of the modern gay and lesbian civil rights movement was the Stonewall Riots, and was the result of a New York City Police Department raid of a gay bar known as the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. Apparently little or nothing has changed in terms of law enforcement’s harassment of the gay and lesbian community in all the years from 1969 to 2011.
In view of the recent rash of gay and lesbian suicides resulting from bullying, it is important to also note the case (that occurred several years ago) of the Minersville, PA police officers who harassed an 18 year old gay male, Marcus Wayman, into committing suicide.
In the case of Fair Lawn, NJ, the municipal government has been involved in a years long, still on going, campaign of harassment of a gay Jewish resident. In addition to the above named Fair Lawn, NJ law enforcement entities, other Fair Lawn, NJ agencies and municipal employees involved in this ongoing campaign of harassment include:
· The Fair Lawn, NJ Building Department
· The Fair Lawn, NJ Property Maintenance Officer
· The Fair Lawn, NJ Health Department
· The Fair Lawn, NJ Animal Control Officer***
· The Fair Lawn, NJ Chief of Police
· The Fair Lawn, NJ Borough Manager
· And the politically connected Fair Lawn, NJ commoninterest realty association known as the Radburn Association
*** The animal control officer was known by the Fair Lawn Mayor and Borough Council to have engaged in unprofessional and illegal conduct. Yet rather than fire this employee, they let him keep this job and to ultimately retire with a full pension.
Nor is the problem just corrupt local courts. After Prop. 8 (which repealed same sex civil marriage in California in an election filled with alleged campaign law violations by the Mormon Church that bought the election), same sex couples turned to the courts for justice. A US District Court ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional. Yet despite it being unconstitutional, both the California Supreme Court and the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit refused to allow same sex civil marriages, instead staying the US District Court decision while considering appeals from the hate mongering bigots. Least anyone think that this is just some legal issue, let me remind them of the important legal dictum that “justice delayed is justice denied,” and as the Courage Campaign puts it in one of their emails: “Ed and Derence of Palm Springs, a couple that has been together for 40years, demonstrates that lives are in the balance. Ed suffers from advancing Alzheimer's. The California Supreme Court and now the 9th Circuit have decided to make Ed and Derence wait at least 9 more months before they might enjoy the fundamental right to marry. By then, it might not matter anymore.”
Amos 5:24 tells us: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Where is the justice in the persecution of gays and lesbians by law enforcement? Where is the righteousness in illegal law enforcement activities? Where is the justice and righteousness in a local government harassing a gay man or a Jewish man? Where is the justice and righteousness in police harassing an 18 year old into committing suicide?
Leviticus, chapter 19 tells us:
15. You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; you shall not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty; but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.
16. You shall not go up and down as a slanderer among your people; nor shall you stand against the blood of your neighbor; I am the Lord.
17. You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reason with your neighbor, and not allow sin on his account.
18. You shall not avenge, norbear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.
I would like the people in the governments of Fair Lawn, NJ; of Uganda; and of every other community mentioned in the above list to explain exactly how their persecution and harassment of gays and lesbians complies with the G-d given commandments in these verses from Leviticus.
It is also extremely important to note the deep and lasting harm this hatred, this persecution, and this harassment causes its victims. In the only study I am aware of: “New research from Concordia University suggests that the stress of being rejected or victimized because of sexual orientation may disrupt hormonal responses in lesbians, gays and bisexuals.”
As we have covered some examples of homophobia, the extent to which it is practiced, and some of the harm it inflicts; now seems a good time to explore if this homophobia, vilification, and persecution of gays and lesbians is condoned by the bible. Therefore, now seems a good time to explore some additional teachings from the Hebrew bible, the midrash, the Talmud, and the mishnah.
In addition to the above, the Hebrew Bible tells us:
· “…what the L-rd demands of you; but to do justice, to love loving-kindness, and to walk discreetly with your G-d.” – Micah 6:8
· “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” – Proverbs 3:17 speaking aboutTorah
· “For I desire loving-kindness, and not sacrifices…” – Hosea 6:6
· “You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the L-rd.” – Leviticus 19:18
· “A Psalm of David. L-rd, who shall abide in your tent? Who shall dwell in your holy mountain? He who walks uprightly, and does what is right, and speaks the truth in his heart. He who does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor.” – Pslams15:1-3
The Midrash teaches us:
· "Thou shalt love thy fellow man as thyself" (Lev. 19:18). R. Akiva said: This is a great principle in the Torah.
R. Simeon ben Eleazar said: To this utterance a great oath was adjoined, "Thou shalt love thy fellow man as thyself: I the L-rd"--I, the L-rd, created your fellow man. If you love him, I shall faithfully requite you with ample reward. If not, I shall act as judge to punish you. - Sif Lev., ed. Weiss, p. 89b; ARN 16.
· This is what the Holy One said to Israel: My children, what do I seek from you? I seek no more than that you love one another and honor one another. - TdE 26.
· R. Joshua said: A grudging eye, the evil impulse, and hatred of his fellow men shorten a man's life.
"Hatred of his fellow men"--exactly how is this to be understood? That a man should not set out and say: Love sages but hate disciples, or love disciples but hate the ignorant [the amme ha-aretz ]. He should say: Love all of them. - Avot 2:11; ARN 16.
· Our masters taught: "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart" (Lev. 19:17). You might suppose that Scripture bids you not to strike him, not to slap him, not to curse him. But in saying, "In thy heart," Scripture also bids you to have no hatred in yourheart. - B Ar 16b.
· Scripture says, "Thou shalt not take vengeance,nor bear a grudge against the children of thy people" (Lev. 19:18).Suppose that, while cutting meat, the knife struck your hand; would you turn around and strike the hand [that held the knife]? - P. Ned 9:4,41c.
· The proverb says: What is in your heart about yourfellow man is likely to be in his heart about you. - Sif Deut., #24;Tanhuma B, Shelah, supplement, #19.
Additionally, we are taught: “He who hates a man is as if he hated G-d.” – Pesikta Zutarti Behaaloteka (note 2)