A friend of mine shared a blog called Stuff That Needs to be Said by the Reverend John Pavlovitz with me the other day. Once I began reading, I couldn’t stop. The Reverend is getting a lot of press for a blog he wrote about the possibility of his children being gay, but his entire blog is nothing less than an exercise in courage and speaking truth to power, mostly on the issue of gay rights. This is the leadership we desperately need in this country.
Too often, whether the issue is sexism, racism or homophobia, time and again in history, religion has been used to justify bigotry. Political leaders in Indiana and Kansas are backpedaling and trying to reframe their argument, desperately trying to get us to believe that their amendments are not about denying LGBT folks the same service as every citizen. We already have them on record saying that’s exactly what it’s about. This exercise in sophistry, creating the false indignation that LGBT people are trying to destroy religion and the very fabric of our country, is an insidious lie that must be called out at every opportunity.
Business leaders have joined in the push for freedom, and I’m glad. Their motivation is profit, but they do risk some backlash, so I give them credit. Religious leaders who dare to speak out are superheroes to me. They dare to challenge the institutional bigotry that has thrived in our houses of worship, masked in twisted interpretations of scriptures.
The new rallying cry of the ultra conservatives is “religious freedom”, but their argument is flawed. Our founding fathers correctly enshrined the freedom of religion in our Constitution. That guarantees our individual right to freely worship. It doesn’t allow you to deny service to African Americans at a lunch counter or a lesbian couple who wants to buy a cake. Let’s be honest. Nobody in Indiana would be denied religious liberty because they can’t refuse service to an individual whom they don’t agree with. This is another example of political Orwellian double-speak that the right has fine-tuned to near perfection in our time.
Here’s the thing: Equality means the same service must be offered to all. Minorities do not have an obligation to tolerate others intolerance and bigotry.
Thankfully, it seems the bigots are getting the message that they’ve gone a bit too far.