This piece originally aired on Gay Talk Radio in 2009.
The United States of America came into existence due to religious oppression.
As a gay man I find that rather interesting and hypocritical.
Since the bulk of the argument against gay marriage is religious based I feel religious oppression is alive and well right here in the good ole USA. It would seem our country has become that which they escaped from hundreds of years ago.
I’m not too surprised, since our forefathers came here to flee oppression and the first thing they did is oppress the American Indians.
In other words, the United States was founded on hypocrisy rather than righteousness and freedom. And that hypocrisy is alive and well.
Our founding fathers penned a document that guarantees us freedom from religion but religious doctrine has been and is currently being imposed upon us.
Every denomination of currency in our country has the words “in god we trust”.
It would seem our founding fathers were quite adept at crossing the line when it suited them and it continues to this very day.
Our government seems to emulate the magician who is adept at “now you see it, now you don’t” trickery.
Our founding fathers also penned that all men are created equal with an unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.
It would appear our government, through religious doctrine, is defining our happiness, and much more!
Is it any wonder so many have a “do as I say not as I do” attitude?
After all, it is the example set forth by our leaders. And we all know, good leaders lead by example.
Religion once supported slavery. You can look in a Bible and find many verses supportive of slavery. This wrong wasn’t corrected until the citizens of our country stood up to correct it. Many crimes were committed against the black community as a result of this mindset. Racist crimes continue to this day.
Religion also dehumanized women. To this day the Catholic religion will not ordain women. Although the citizens of our country have stood up to correct this wrong it is still a work in progress. Many crimes were committed against women as a result of this mindset. Crimes against women continue to this day.
Religion condemns homosexuality and our government sits quietly. The citizens of our country have not yet sufficiently addressed this issue. Therefore, many crimes are committed against homosexuals to this day.
Our government by its inaction approves of this blatant disrespect and the associated crimes against our community.
Religion fuels the fire and our government sits on its hands.
In this environment some feel justified in taking action against us. Many of them feel they are doing the world a favor. Most of these actions are religiously based.
Through out my life I have had the displeasure of hearing many stories about beatings and murders directed towards an actual or perceived homosexual.
Like the one from the 80s where a marine left a gay bar and ended up in a hotel room with a gay man. The gay man ended up murdered and the marine was moved to another base. No charges were filed.
Then there is the story of the young gay man who met someone in a park, only to be nearly beaten to death by several young men after arriving at the apartment.
In recent news we heard about an Ecuadorian man who was beat to death with an aluminum bat in New York. He was walking home with his brother, arm in arm. The perpetrators thought the brothers were gay.
How much hatred must you have for a group of individuals to beat one to death with a baseball bat?
I suggest, for such a violent act, that the true hatred, in many cases is within the individual committing the violent act.
But that doesn’t dismiss the fact that this person was taught and/or indoctrinated to believe there is something terribly wrong with homosexuality.
Once again, I suggest the root of such hatred is usually based in religion.
Just imagine for a moment having a strong religious upbringing. Then imagine having homosexual feelings. Continue this thought pattern to include the repression.
Let’s create a person. We’ll call him Peter.
Peter has a religious upbringing and has been told it is wrong to be homosexual. That it is an abomination. So Peter suppresses his natural desire. Since Peter can not rid himself of these feelings, because they are natural, it develops into self hatred.
This hatred becomes stronger and stronger as his urges continue. Peter becomes an angry person.
One day Peter see’s a gay man, or one he thinks is gay.
It could be an Ecuadorian walking arm and arm with his brother on the way home.
Peter has struggled many years repressing his homosexuality and thinks everyone else should also. After all, if he can, so can everyone else.
So Peter decides to get out his baseball bat and go beat a man to death because that man, in Peter’s eyes, has the audacity to be open about his sexuality.
Unfortunately the man is merely a little tipsy and walking home, arm in arm, with his brother. Both men are heterosexual.
But this doesn’t change the fact that Peter beat this man to death with a baseball bat because Peter thought the man was gay.
You see Peter couldn’t stand the fact that someone could be open and accept his or her sexuality. After all, Peter couldn’t, so no one else should be able to either.
Interesting enough religion does not condone murder. But apparently Peter believed the sin of homosexuality was so great, murder was acceptable.
History shows us millions of murders by religious folks. Most of which were done because the other person wouldn’t accept a particular religion.
So is it really such a far stretch to realize Peter felt justified murdering another human being because of that persons insult to religion and Peter’s vision of morality?
Take into account the number of crimes committed against the gay community with little or no punishment! For all practical purposes this lack of action from our government and court systems gives a nod of approval to such crimes.
Add the religious aspect of condemnation to that and you have explicit permission for murder and hate crimes against others based on sexuality.
It took women 72 years to achieve federal recognition of their rights.
It took 80 years for the African American community to achieve federal recognition of their rights.
It’s been an 85-year struggle for our community, so far!
Let’s hope the struggle ends soon so the healing can begin.
We know it won’t be the end of the injustice, but we must start down the path of acceptance before we can have any expectations.