Posts tagged ‘religion’

We Can Do Better

Today I am taking part in a blog-a-thon against hate. It’s been a week since the murder of Dr. George Tiller. Dr. Tiller was a target of many extreme pro-life groups and had feared for his life because, alongside health care and contraceptives, he also provided women and girls with a choice to have an abortion.

I am most upset at how Tiller was murdered–in front of his friends and family in his church, and in the name of God. Dr. Tiller was a target of many Christian pro-life extremists, and his death is a clear act of domestic terrorism. Murder suspect Scott Roeder has stated that he killed Tiller because he provided women with abortions, which went against his Christian values. He recently warned that there would be more violence against pro-choice doctors and establishments to come.

But Dr. Tiller was a person of faith, active in his church family, and was also pro-choice. I was raised in the church and I consider myself a progressive Christian as well. I believe in providing girls  women with the choice of having an abortion, especially those who have been raped or are suffering from fetal complications; this was the case with many of Tiller’s patientsMany evangelicals would argue that you cannot be a Christian and be pro-choice. I beg to differ. I doubt that the God I serve would condemn me for believing that every woman and girl has a right to quality health care and access to affordable contraceptives. I doubt that the God I serve would condemn me for believing that young people need and want comprehensive sex education so that unwanted pregnancies and STDs are reduced.

Aside from the irony of being a pro-life murderer, killing anyone because of a difference in opinion , values, or religion is completely against the Christian principle of love. How can we love our neighbor when there are those among us who will kill a man for being pro-choice? Where in the Bible does it say that violence is a way to “teach sinners a lesson”? In this time of Lou Engle’s call for “Christian martyrdom”,  there needs to be a real effort to connect how issues like choice and access to women’s health care are in line with being a servant to God. Or, perhaps we need to remember the words of Jesus Christ:  “Let he who is without sin cast first stone” (John 8:7).

On: Prop 8

I’m going to make this as short as possible because there’s already been so much said. Hopefully, I don’t repeat so many other bloggers on this issue and if I do, I apologize.

I lead with the video of Wanda Sykes, who just recent came out as a lesbian and spoke out against Prop 8 this past weekend because I want people to realize that the fight for gay marriage rights is not just one fought by gay white males. Yes, there are several LGBTQ people of color who stand up for this issue, and I applaud them for their work. One of the first gay couples to get married in California in June was a black lesbian couple, but their faces are rarely shown in mainstream media…the first images we saw were ones of white gay males getting married.

So not only do you have a lack of LGBTQ Blacks and Latinos at the forefront of this fight, but then you have the backlash of White gays blaming black people for the passing of Prop 8. Adele Carpenter at Racialicious said it best:

I believe all communities need to be held accountable for their homophobia and transphobia. I want to acknowledge the suffering and hardship that the passage of Proposition 8 has caused for LGBT couples and families. But, while the media casts blame on communities of color for the passage of Prop 8, it is imperative that we struggle against the logic that tells us that struggles for LGBT civil rights and racial justice are separate—that we re-examine our strategies for advancing LGBT civil rights and gay marriage and, in particular, look at places where LGBT communities have failed to align our struggles for civil rights with ongoing struggles for racial justice.

Finally there’s the issue of gay marriage as a whole. I was raised in a Christian home, but I still see the need to give gay people the right to get married. To paraphrase Keith Olberman, everyone regardless of their sexual orientation has the right to be a little less lonely in the world. I ask opponents of gay marriage, how would gays getting married really effect your way of life? No one can ever give me a real answer to that. In America, we are supposed to have the freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If your pursuit of happiness is to marry a woman, and your a woman, what’s it to me?

Wanda Sykes said it best. If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married. And that’s exactly how I feel.

As for the comparison to Jim Crow Laws…are they the same? No. Are they very, very similar? YES. Without a doubt in my mind.

There isn’t an exact difference between this and Supreme Court vs. Loving. Afrobella brought this up in her recent Prop 8 post, Love, not H8:

As someone who’s in a marriage that would have once been deemed illegal, I find the parallels between this country’s attitude towards interracial marriage and same-sex marriage to be dismaying and disheartening. And I am not alone — the late Mildred Loving felt the same way, and spoke out in favor of same-sex marriage before she passed away this year. “I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry… That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about,” she declared.

But how can you say that this is NOTHING like the Jim Crow Laws? My man and I, who love each other very much, can get married whenever and wherever we want. However, our two good friends who are gay and lesbian respectively cannot marry the partners they love so dearly. And that is an example of social injustice and inequality.

No matter how you slice it, this is an issue of great importance and one that minorities should not be blamed for nor shun. And I hope we can cultivate some good healthy dialog about how important this issue is for us.