The Battle for Equality Rages

Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated, to people of color, "We not only have a right to be free; we have a duty to be free." (link) The only way to secure this right, this duty to be free, was to fight white political and religious evangelicals who assumed as their mission segregation. Recall that the modern political evangelical involvement in U.S. politics, via the Moral Majority, was birthed by the late Jerry Falwell, through his propagating machine, the Lynchburg News, fueled by a segregationist agenda. He even lied about its origins, insisting that abortion was the driving force for evangelicals; but history exposed Falwell's lies and his racist so-called religious values. (link)

Today, LGBTQ people are struggling for their own rights to be free, taking their cue from Martin Luther King, Jr., sensing that their own freedom for equality is their very duty. But this freedom will have to be fought -- and the self-made enemies of LGBTQ people are, once again, and not surprisingly, white conservative evangelicals like
  • Franklin Graham
  • Mike Pence
  • Ben Carson
  • Gary DeMar and those involved in his American Vision
  • Robert Jeffress
  • Robert Morris of Gateway Church, who recently lied to his congregation about the so-called Bathroom Bill, HB 2899, that srtips protective rights for LGBTQ persons
  • John Hagee
  • David Barton and those at WallBuilders
  • James Dobson and those with Focus on the Family
  • Jerry Falwell, Jr. and those at Liberty Council, notably Mathew Staver, Director of the Liberty Center for Law and Policy at Liberty University, as well as J. Matt Barber
  • Steve Anderson and those in his Baptist cult, Faithful Word Baptist Church
  • Gary Bauer
  • Tony Perkins (who maintains both overt racist ties to David Duke, the KKK, and the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist organization, as well as a pronounced anti-LGBTQ agenda) and everyone (notably Robert Knight, Tim Dailey, and Peter Sprigg) from the Family Research Council
  • George Alan Rekers, co-founder of the Family Research Council, who was caught with a young male escort from Rentboy.com
  • Doug Wilson
  • Paul Cameron and all at the Family Research Institute
  • Pat Robertson
  • Chalcedon Foundation
  • Restored Hope Network ("ex-gay" organization)
  • Christopher Doyle and those at the ("ex-gay") Voice of the Voiceless
  • William Hollis and those at the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission
  • Mike Huckaby
  • Beverly LaHaye (and her husband, the famed Tim LaHaye) of Concerned Women for America
  • Ted Cruz
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (Texas)
  • National Organization for Marriage (NOM)
  • Peter LaBarbera
  • Michael Brown 
  • Richard Land
  • Scott Lively and those at Abiding Truth Ministries
  • Tim Wildmon and everyone at the American Family Association
  • Lou Sheldon and those at the Traditional Values Coalition
  • Joseph Nicolosi, recently deceased, former President of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH)
Tragically, there are so many -- far too many -- more names that can be added to that list. The Religious Right has engaged itself in an all-out war with the LGBTQ community, denying these U.S. citizens, and creatures created in the image of God, rights, while seeking to impose their religious convictions on the State (but hypocritically insisting that the State not interfere with religion). These evangelicals quickly cry "Persecuted!" when they cannot get their way but seemingly maintain no problem restricting the rights of others. As long as evangelicals get to "call the shots," i.e., manipulate the socio-politico and religious narratives, then that is all that matters.

Today's conservative evangelicals want a "Christian" America. But, of course, they assume themselves fit for defining Christianity, a so-called Christianity that would force LGBTQ people back into the closets of inequality, a so-called Christianity that would predominate politics, the government, social policies, favoring churches, and pushing into the background the faiths and non-faith of the rest of Americans. This corrupt and wicked version of so-called Christianity is, in truth, communism. That may seem an extreme statement; but look up the definition of communism: the nature of communism is what the Religious Right wants, only they want to be the leaders who bring about the social-religious structure, as they garner for themselves power, authority, control.

So the battle for freedom and equality for LGBTQ folk rages; and it will continue to rage until bigots and hypocrites like many within evangelicalism are reformed. The fallout from the collateral damage of this war, begun and perpetuated by conservative evangelicals, is, of course, Christianity and the souls of untold numbers of people who reject the toxic and distorted "gospel" of evangelicals, thinking it is Christ's gospel. The content of Christ's gospel does not concern Republican politics and values, nor gender identity, and yet these are elements now included in the "gospel" of evangelicals.


WARS ALWAYS RESULT IN CASUALTIES

I do think, however, that we need to consider the anti-LGBTQ agenda of the Religious Right and its impact on even those within their own camp. For example, consider the conservative evangelicals and Republicans who have been caught and exposed in same-sex scenarios (each one of whom below, mind you, opposed LGBTQ legislative rights and equality), and ask yourself if such people would not be better served by being allowed to embrace their same-gendered sexuality rather than being shamed into a closet of cognitive distortions that ends up hurting others and destroying lives:
  • Troy King, Alabama Attorney General, caught in bed by his wife with a male aide
  • Jon Hinson, aide to Mississippi Rep. Thad Cochran, arrested for exposing himself to a male cop
  • Roy Ashburn, California State Senator, pulled over for drunk driving while leaving a gay nightclub with a man
  • Richard Curtis, Washington State Representative, outed by a male escort he had been using
  • Ed Schrock, U.S. Representative for Virginia's Second Congressional District, was caught, on tape, soliciting sex with men on a gay chat line
  • Jim West, Mayor of Spokane, Washington, was accused of fondling and forcing minors to perform sex acts on him
  • Paul Babeau, Pinal County Sheriff, was exposed for threatening an ex-boyfriend deportation back to Mexico 
  • Robert Bauman, Maryland Congressman, arrested for soliciting sex from a 16-year-old male prostitute
  • Mark Foley, Republican Congressman, was exposed for sexting two male minors, aged 16 and 18, noted as "pages" or (sex) servants
  • Bob Allen, Florida State Representative, was arrested for offering a male undercover cop $20 to receive oral sex in a restroom
  • Chris Myers, Republican Mayor of Medford, New Jersey, was accused of having sex with a male prostitute in a California hotel by the escort himself 
  • Richard Curtis, Washington State Representative, was busted by a male prostitute he could no longer afford
  • Phil Hinkle, a member of the Indiana House of Representatives, met an 18-year-old boy on Craigslist in order to set up a hook-up
  • Bruce Barclay, Chairman of the Cumberland County Commissioners Office, was caught with between 100-500 tapes of him having sex with male prostitutes
  • Larry Craig, Republican Senator, arrested for sexual solicitation in a men's airport bathroom
  • Mike Yenni, Mayor of  Kenner, Louisiana, sexted 17-year-old Alex Daigle, bought the boy designer underwear, that he convinced the boy to wear in a men's bathroom stall, where they then kissed, and where Yenni asked the boy if he could perform oral sex on him
The point here is not to revel in these deplorable acts, nor to cause these men continued shame (God knows I've been through my own bouts with struggles and sin and guilt and shame), but to open the eyes of conservative evangelicals and conservative Republicans (and other conservative political pundits) to the base fact that forcing LGBTQ-oriented human beings to shamefully hide their true nature, for fear of ridicule or public humiliation, is to demean the humanity of such people. But you conservatives continue to allow yourselves to be deceived by men such as Gary DeMar, Tony Perkins, Paul Cameron, Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, Peter LaBarbera and Scott Lively -- men who perpetuate malicious and demonic lies about LGBTQ people. You, then, expect us to respect you and to grant your views equal considerability? Not on your life!

Imagine a world in which being LGBTQ did not carry negative or dehumanizing stigma. In such a world, none of the immediately above-mentioned men would have sensed an urgent need to hide their true inner (homosexual) nature, and marry a woman whom they imagined they needed to wed in order to demonstrate to a certain party that they were "normal," just like them, i.e., heterosexual. Now, in truth, some of these men may be bisexual and married to a woman. Sexuality and relationships can be a bit more difficult for bisexuals, no doubt, but in this world I am imagining there would still be no social stigma for bisexual men and women. Am I wrong to imagine such a world?

Am I in error for seeking to reform evangelical thinking through education and promoting what I perceive to be a proper biblical hermeneutic? Am I a moral monster for aggressively challenging evangelicals who debase LGBTQ people, causing them to fear for their lives, manipulating them into thinking that they need to change their very ontology (being or reality)? For centuries Christians have led LGBTQ people to think that God hates them, that Christ does not want them, and that they are in no sense welcomed in the Church until they first rid themselves of their abominable reality. If heterosexuals were treated the way many in the Church treat homosexuals then Christianity would have died a quick death many centuries ago. Two millennia later and the battle for freedom, for equality, for LGBTQ people rages -- and rage it must.

ABOUT WILLIAM BIRCH

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My name is William Birch and I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition but converted, if you will, to Anglicanism in 2012. I am gay, affirming, and take very seriously matters of social justice, religion and politics in the church and the state.