Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why Do Gays Hate Religious Freedom?

From "Why Do Gays Hate Religious Freedom?" by Harry R. Jackson Jr., posted 1/18/07 at TownHall.com

Growing up in the ghetto, I am familiar with the politics of intimidation. I learned early in my youth that it was when I was most afraid that I could sometimes bluff toughness and “sell a few wolf tickets.” My loud voice and an intimidating looks got me out of more than one close call. On one occasion, a friend of mine yelled at a guy who had pinned him to the ground and was beating him unmercifully, “I dare you to let me up!” Much to his surprise he was turned loose from a choke hold by his larger, ferocious foe. My friend wisely ran for cover upon his release.

Like my childhood friend, gay activists around the country are getting nervous that they are about to experience an embarrassing political setback. Instead of amending the hate crimes legislation that protects churches in a substantive way, they are simply crying out in a louder, more threatening manner. Gay advocates are not looking for fairness; they are looking for an upper hand.

...The Senate refers to S-1105 as the Matthew Shepard Law. Matthew Shepard was a gay student who was tragically murdered in Wyoming nearly a decade ago. This legislative moniker identifies the bill as being pro-gay vs. pro-everyone’s civil rights. Fortunately for Matthew Shepard’s family, justice was served in that case. The murderers were found promptly and dealt with swiftly.

In contrast, the families of many blacks murdered in the civil rights movement era are still waiting for justice. Last Friday, the following words appeared in the USA Today along with the article on hate crimes: “Justice for two black teens came 43 years late Thursday when a jury convicted reputed Klansman James Ford Seale for taking part in their abductions and killings.”

Both gays and blacks should get justice in America, but we cannot allow either group to receive special privileges at the expense of another group of Americans. If the loopholes in this legislation are not closed, Christians and Bible-teaching churches could become victims of a strange brand of reverse discrimination. These actions are tantamount to the gay community saying, ”Freedom for me, but bondage for you.” This attitude is just not consistent with America’s ideals.

Despite the fact that legal experts like the Alliance Defense Fund and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberties confirm the legal legitimacy of my concerns, gay activists quoted in the US Today article called my concerns "completely bogus.” Their hope is to paint all outspoken leaders of faith as narrow minded Neanderthals and bigots who are out of touch with the will of the nation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Amen and then some! However, 'religious exemptions' are not enough. Shouldn't non-religious people also have freedom of conscience regarding homosexuality? True freedom is freedom to accept or reject, to affirm or deny.

We cannot be satisfied with 'religious' exemptions even if they are offered. We must demand freedom of conscience and association for all - believers and unbelievers alike.

Read the rest of this commentary.