Posted by: Yuki Choe | December 25, 2007

A Truth Worth Sharing This Christmas.

Discovered at Pam’s House Blend.

From Faith In America.

A truth worth sharing this Christmas

The harm experienced by two Florida and South Carolina families this
Christmas because of religion-based bigotry against gay and lesbian
individuals is very real.

Many evangelical Christians this year may have to admit to their
children that they’ve been perpetrating an “untruth.” Perhaps they
are made just a smidgen more uncomfortable by the fact that they
believe truth was embodied in Christ – who according to their
religious teachings was a person born different than any other human
being.

So at a time when many Christians are cautioned not to forget the
“reason behind the season,” they are confronted with the fact that
they must close the door on a part of their son’s or daughter’s
childhood by telling them that certain stories about the partially eaten
cookies, the hand-scrawled note left behind and the soot smeared on
the floor were really not true.

But the young lives of a future generation will go on albeit perhaps
a bit more cynical and somewhat dejected from discovering such a truth.

For the families of Pat and Lynn Mulder of Auburndale, Fla., and Elke
Kennedy and Jim Parker of Greenville, S.C., the lives of their two
children will not be going on. The day-to-day gifts of joy they gave
their parents, siblings and friends ended with their deaths – and no
amount of perception will make their future lives and their gifts to
those around them a reality.

Pat and Lynn’s son Ryan Skipper, who was killed in April 2007, and Elke and
Jim’s son Sean Kennedy, who was killed in May 2007, will not be with their
families next week to celebrate the season – and there is an underlying
reason which we as Americans must confront honestly and truthfully.

Both young men died after attacks that have been reported as acts of
violence against them because they were born different. The
difference was that they enjoyed dating, being around, spending time
with, and bonding emotionally with men instead of women. That
difference, according to certain religious and religious/political
factions in America, condemns them as sinners, unclean, undeserving
of the same rights that other Americans enjoy and unworthy of God’s
love.

Gays and lesbian individuals are not the only Americans who have been
delegated as second-class citizens at the hand of misguided religious
teaching. African-Americans were once labeled as a cursed lot. And
with the “Adam first, Eve second” thinking, women also have been
denied equality in this country as many people believed they stood
more in favor with their God by standing opposed to full equality for
women.

The majority of religious-minded people look back on those periods in
history and realize that religious teachings were misused and
misconstrued to deny African-Americans and women full equality.

Yet many Americans today fail to see the history of religion-based
bigotry against gay and lesbian citizens and the harm that it causes
to millions of wonderful people simply because they are different.

The families of Ryan Skipper and Sean Kennedy this Christmas are
experiencing the harm that comes when a social climate of
rejection and condemnation is allowed to flourish because a society
accepts bigotry against gay and lesbians as religious truth.
While those families experienced the physical violence that is
promoted by such a climate of rejection and condemnation, millions of
of other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans and their
family and friends experience this violence and in other forms as
well – emotional, psychological and spiritual violence.

In South Carolina, where Sean Kennedy parents will spend Christmas,
the state in 2006 voted to ban gay marriage and the opposition from
Christian churches in that state was instrumental in writing such
discrimination into South Carolina’s constitution – which
coincidentally still banned interracial marriages until just a few
years ago.

Next year in Florida, where Ryan Skipper’s parents reside, a ban on
gay marriage is being proposed for that state’s constitution and no
doubt religious and religious/political groups will lead that effort.

While denying gay and lesbian citizens the right to marry is but one
of the many rights they as American citizens are not allowed to
enjoy, it is an issue that clearly defines how a majority religious
belief is used to justify legal discrimination against a minority.

Let’s hope that people across this nation will pause for a moment to
recognize that misusing religious teachings to justify discrimination
against gay and lesbian citizens must be recognized just as wrong
today as it has been in the past.

Great social injustices of the past have fallen faint when America’s heart and
soul bestows its most wondrous gift – equality.

Sharing that truth will most assuredly enrich the lives of future generations.

Brent Childers
Executive Director
Faith In America

May the Christian conservatives, religious right and ex-gay ministries one day have the wisdom to see the light.

And these groups forgiven for their organized intolerance campaigns against gays, lesbians and transgenders worldwide.

Hope someday tomorrow all gays, lesbians and transgenders, shall be reconciled to society and Our Saviour on earth.

And be kept in security, equality, grace and affirmation, in accordance to the two greatest commandments of Christ Jesus.

This is my Christmans prayer,

And may the New Year usher in a new age of compassion, understanding and truth about people like us.

We all are God’s children.


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