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Respect for All Families — Including Mine

So.  Blog Against Theocracy.  I’m trying to think of something brilliant and profound to say, but right now my daughter is across the hall with my nephew and his boyfriend.  They’re IM’ing funny cat pictures to me, and I’m supposed to react to each one.  It’s hard to focus, but they’re making me laugh.

If the people who want to make America a “Christian” nation had their way, how would my life change?  Well, for starters, men like Roy Moore would be in a position to actually use that “power of the sword” that he wants to hang over the heads of gay people.  My brother, my brother-in-law, my nephew, and his boyfriend would all be considered threats to my children.  We wouldn’t have fun mornings, hanging out and laughing.  More likely, our house would be a stop on the Underground Railroad for gays and lesbians trying to get out of the country.

You think it can’t happen?  Only if we refuse to let it.  Those same people who want to make their interpretation of Christianity the official faith of the United States have been using gays and lesbians as scapegoats and fundraising tools for years.  They’ve fomented hatred and violence against those who are different.  It’s the fear of the “other” that is essential to authoritarian faith and government.

Right now, I live in a world where I can associate openly with my gay and lesbian friends.  No one can keep my daughters away from their uncles or from our adopted nephew, a young man whom they treat as a beloved brother.  Still, he’s part of our family because his parents disowned him — after the pastoral “counseling”, public shaming, and exorcism (yes, exorcism) failed to make him straight.  My brother and his spouse can’t legally marry; they can only breathe mutual sighs of relief that their families love them dearly and would never interfere in their life decisions.

The religious right has made common cause with political conservatives at the national level to say that the majority, on a state-by-state basis, should decide the rights of this particular minority.  And then they’ve followed up with the money and demagoguery to ensure that states like mine get busy re-banning gay marriage.  And not only that; there have been repeated attempts to ban adoptions to gay parents (despite the hundreds of Alabama children in state care waiting for loving parents), and two years ago one of our state Representatives introduced a bill that would have banned books and plays by or about gay people.  If the federal government had taken that approach during the civil rights era, we’d almost certainly still have some states with segregated schools, bans on interracial marriage, legal employment and housing discrimination based on race, and blatant denial of voting rights for people of color.

Gays and lesbians will never have the numbers necessary to win at the ballot box.  That makes it essential for allies like me to speak up, loudly and often, and insist that their rights be protected just as ours are.  We must stand up against those who use their particular religion as a basis for state-sponsored bigotry.  Remember, they need scapegoats.  If we don’t act now, we might find ourselves, somewhere down the road, with targets on our own backs.

First Freedom First — for all of us.  My family.  And yours.

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