Now is the time to amplify our voices
Faith in America has been spreading the message behind Michel Dyson’s words since our inception and when we hear someone speak it as plainly and forthrightly as Dyson does here, we think it is worth sharing.
While the topic came up in a discussion about President Obama’s personal transformation on marriage equality, it is important to note this message is one that must reach beyond marriage equality to the harm that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and families experience not only from anti-gay marriage amendments but a society where stigma and hostility is rooted in misguided religious teaching.[flv:http://faithinamerica.org/priv/video/medyson_msnbcnational_051412_12p08_16.flv http://faithinamerica.org/priv/video/images/medyson_msnbcnational_051412_12p08_16.jpg 490 368]
And while parts of Dyson’s words surely will resonate with African Americans, the underlying message of religion-based bigotry is one that crosses racial, ethnic, political and religious differences.
California and Maine are not conservative Republican bastions and neither is North Carolina, where the recent amendment results demonstrated how Democrats, Republicans, African Americans and white voters came together to pass the anti-gay amendment.
They came together under the tent of religion-based bigotry. While opposition to gay couples marrying was the intent of ballot, it was stigma and hostility promoted and justified by religious teaching that drove voters to poll in record numbers.
While the amendment loss was disheartening, the defeat pales in comparison to the harmful effects of the religion-based bigotry that was front and center during the campaign. Imagine the young gay or lesbian youth who is processing their same-sex sexual orientation sitting in the living room watching TV ads that proclaimed they can never be worthy of all that is good within a marriage covenant or sitting around the dinner table with anti-gay family members whose hostility is expressed in no uncertain terms.
Faith in America, comprised of thousands of voices, exists to bring an effective counter message to the ears of those young people and their family members who must deal with such painful expression of hostility. Secondly, we have never,nor will we, hesitate in taking the fight to our opponent – wherever religion-based bigotry is espoused and however strong its promoters may appear.
While Dyson is a pastor and can speak passionately from that position, it is important to note that we do not have to be clergy or part of a religious organization to engage on this front. Faith in America, as a nonreligious entity, has proven that over the last six years.
As this segment indicates, the message that many within our own community said was risky or a waste of time can be heard in all corners of national advocacy discussions today.
Faith in America continues to lead that charge as the only organization which has worked during the previous six years to ignite this conversation far beyond the walled-in confines of churches or denominational advocacy.
Our voice is growing louder and stronger just as we predicted it would when we began – because we knew where the clear moral voice of history leads us.
It is no secret that the anti-gay forces will use President Obama’s message to justify another campaign season of hostility toward the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
Join us over the next several months and help lead on this front – the most important front of LGBT advocacy today. And please consider allowing us to use a small portion of your charitable dollars to continue winning this all important battle.