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Iowa-Nebraska NAACP chair resigns over national org’s support of marriage equality

My two cents…see ya, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Pastor.  Rev. Keith Ratliff, pastor of Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa and who serves as president of the Iowa-Nebraska conference of the NAACP made it clear that he doesn’t understand church-state separation — like most religious opponents of marriage equality, no matter the color of their skin.

During a March 2011 Iowa Statehouse rally by supporters of a state constitutional amendment to ban same-gender marriage, Ratliff complained that gay rights activists had “hijacked” the civil rights debate.

“There is no parallel” between gay rights activism and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. That is an insult to the civil rights movement. Deviant behavior is not the same thing as being denied your right to vote.”

Ratliff has been placed on the defensive, as the President, as well as the NAACP and many well-known public voices  in the black community (including many in the faith community) have chosen to look forward, not retreat into religion-based bigotry as legal rights of LGBT Americans have advanced, and as public opinion moves to acknowledge and affirm equality gains.The NAACP’s Roslyn Brock, chair of its board, said this about the organization’s statement on same-sex marriage:

“When people ask why the NAACP stands firmly for marriage equality, we say that we have always stood against laws which demean, dehumanize, or discriminate against any person in this great country. That is our legacy. For over 103 years we have stood against such law, and while the nature of the struggle may change, our bedrock commitment to equality of all people under the law never will.”

In the end, Rev. Ratliff made the right decision. He and other ministers unwilling to separate church and state and choose to affirm state oppression where it exists because of a specific religious belief can continue to say whatever they wish — at the pulpit. The national NAACP has underscored that there no room for “selective equality” when it comes to civil rights and social justice.

Hat tip, Back2Stonewall.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding