Monday, June 22, 2009

The voices of religious hate

I try to work to promote understanding between progressive people of faith and progressive people without faith. And, much of what I emphasize on this site is the unified goals of many faithful people, gay and straight, and the GLBT community.

But let us not forget that there are people of faith are filled with hate. In the recent hearings trying to overturn Washington DC's decision to recognize same sex marriage, an ostensible man of faith spat out the most vile lies. And the tragedy is that he got away with it. The HRC Backstory reports:
Minister Leroy linked gays and lesbians to pedophilia. He also suggested that LGBT families are “anti-Christ” and flatly stated that gay and lesbian people cannot have human rights because they are simply not human. He charged that sex between people of the same sex is “a form of bestiality” – not that it is like bestiality or could lead to the legalization of bestiality, but that it is conduct involving beasts, not human beings. He also claimed that “homosexuality would be the extinction of the human race.”

This is, quite literally, dehumanizing rhetoric. When one claims that LGBT people are not human and threaten to make the human race extinct, one is laying the groundwork not only for denying equal rights but also for far more dangerous action.

Mr. Swailes’ testimony was greeted with scattered applause. Not one supporter of the referendum rose to disclaim his words. No one stood up and said “this man does not speak for those of us who oppose marriage by same-sex couples.”

No one can control someone else’s actions, and our point is not that those who use over the top rhetoric, or who condone it, are directly responsible for violence. However, responsible leaders have a duty to speak up when those who stand beside them – advocating for the same goals – cross the line. We call on Rev. Jackson to make clear that he does not agree with Leroy Swailes, and that he believes Mr. Swailes’ words crossed a line. Rev. Jackson sat quietly at the hearing when Mr. Swailes spoke his hateful words. A responsible leader would have rushed to the witness table to make clear that Mr. Swailes does not speak for those who oppose recognition of marriages by same-sex couples. Rev. Jackson did nothing.

Indeed. By their silence, those who do not call out Mr Swailes implicitly agree. So they can't tell us they don't hate us. Because this is the voice of hate. And silence = consent.


Want Some Wood said...

Hi, IT--I really enjoy your comments here and on Street Prophets. Would it be alright if I added your blog to my "links" section? I'd also like to be added to your list of pro-gay-marriage bloggers, if it's alright with you. My blog can be seen at Thanks!

IT said...

sure, go ahead and link, I'll check out your blog too!