Here’s a double shot for y’all this evening – the two sides of Amendment 1.
In North Carolina tomorrow, voters will head to the polls to decide whether their state Constitution should be amended to deny legal status to any marriages other than those between a man and a woman. Should the proposed amendment pass, gay marriage will be denied statewide, and so will gay civil unions and domestic partnerships. The debate has been raging there for a while now, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the pulpits of North Carolina’s churches.
As you might expect, a great many of the ministers have voiced their support for Amendment 1, and have used their positions to encourage their parishioners to vote in favor of it. Several of the sermons given by these anti-gay marriage pastors have made their way onto the internet, and to watch them is to see a truly stunning display of hatred, ignorance and intolerance. From the way Sean Harris (his email address, just in case you ever wanted to get in touch, is firstname.lastname@example.org) advocates beating the gay out of children if they seem too “effeminate” or too “butch”:
…to Ron Baity, who wishes gays could still face prosecution for their “perverted lifestyle”, like they did in the good old dark ages (feel free to email him at email@example.com):
*Couldn’t embed this one, so click here to watch: http://www.goodasyou.org/player.swf
All of these good Christian gentlemen are getting a giant STFU from me today. I have just contacted each of them to personally deliver my message, plus a little extra besides. If you have nothing better to do, take a few minutes to get in touch with them and let them know how inspired you were by their words. Like, maybe you were inspired to weep for humanity, or to throw up, for example.
But there are always two sides to every story, even in this case. These assclowns are not the only ones speaking out to their followers about Amendment 1. Fortunately, there is one voice being raised to counter these haters, and this is where today’s OMFG comes in.
On Lawrence O’Donnell’s show tonight, he played a clip of Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, holding a press conference in front assembled clergy from around the state. While he is a pastor and this is about Amendment 1, Barber takes a completely different angle on the issue than the other 3 “men of God” I’ve featured. He addresses the reality of what Amendment 1 would mean, in terms of our nation’s Constitution and our nation’s history. He compares the civil rights movement to the gay rights movement, and observes the dangers of leaving the civil liberties of a minority group up to a majority vote. If you want to be inspired – and this time, in a positive way – you need to listen to his words:
Anybody else notice the difference between this clip and the other three? Isn’t it amazing how these differing perspectives have emerged, even though all these men are supposed to be working in service of the same faith, the same Bible, the same God?
I have to admit that, as much joy as my jaded old soul took from the Rev. Dr. Barber’s words, I am not hopeful about tomorrow’s vote in North Carolina. Just as my video clips ran 3-to-1 against gay marriage, I think the voters there are mainly in favor of denying the gay community the right to any sort of legally-recognized relationship. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the only way this issue will ever be resolved is to have the Supreme Court rule on the Constitutional implications of denying marriage rights to some American citizens, based solely on sexual orientation. Before that day comes, there will be many more votes like this one in many other states, and we will have a crazy, criss-cross quilt of varying gay marriage laws from place to place. This is obviously going to be unsustainable, and once that tipping point is reached, the high court will need to take it on. When that will happen, and how it will turn out, is a question that will have to be answered somewhere down the line.
In the meantime, let the voters of North Carolina send their message of intolerance to the LGBT community. Let them cast their ballots in the name of ignorance, just as their spiritual leaders have urged them to do. Let them follow through with this outright, blatant and unapologetic rejection of their own Messiah’s directive to show compassion for everyone. No matter how many North Carolinians vote for Amendment 1 tomorrow, we know that not everyone there supports it. And just knowing that people like the Rev. Dr. Barber exist, and are willing to speak out and fight against the inequity of such measures, is a ray of hope we can look to for inspiration as the LGBT community (and its supporters) continue their quest.
UPDATE: I was informed that I had messed up a link for Tim Rabon, and that the Twitter link actually led to his Facebook page instead. That has been corrected, so those of you who want to can tweet away at the good pastor. Also, I received a reply from Pastor Sean “beat the gay out of your kids” Harris; seems like an auto-reply, as it only says “I have read your email”. But the good news is that his mobile phone number was part of his reply (he neglected to remove it from his automatic email signature, I guess). I won’t post it, even though I really should. Who knows, maybe if Amendment 1 passes and he gets all hallelujah about it this Sunday, I’ll change my mind. 🙂