[Thanks to PopCrunch.]
How far are we willing to tolerate rank ignorance in the name of "free speech," when such "free speech" causes such pain and suffering to most LGBT people and their families?
It was settled a long time ago that shouting fire in a crowded theater does not constitute the right to invoke "free speech," and that is exactly what ignorant and/or hateful homophobes, be they clergy or not, are doing! They help reinforce a climate of hate in the name of free speech and, God help us, in the name of "religious freedom," and also ignorantly do so in the name of God!
When are biblical scholars and theologians who know very well that the Bible does not in any way condemn same-sex love going to take the risk of offending many of their congregations and clerical leaders, take the risk of losing power and/or prestige and/or wealth, and tell the truth that being Gay is just as morally normal and sacred as is being Straight?
We can't afford to have professing Christian clergy play it safe and put their careers, and the financial contributions of their congregations, higher on their agenda than is telling the truth that if one is homophobic he/she can't appeal to the Bible to defend that irrational prejudice!
To the degree that professing Christian clergy remain silent in the face of the oppression of Gay people, they are just as culpable in bearing false witness against Gay people as are those smug clergy and laypeople who ironically and tragically spew hateful rhetoric against Gay people "in the name of God"; do so by appeal to the Bible bereft of accurate translation and bereft of context of the select verses they choose to use to defend their preconceived prejudices!
So, in this bizarre and tragic scenario, we can have contestants in beauty pageants exercise their "free speech," and have clergy and theologians who know better remain silent and allow ignorance to win the day; allow ignorant and even hateful rhetoric from assorted clergy and others to monopolize the marketplace of ideas in both the religious and secular arenas in which the struggle for dignity and equal rights for Gay people is being fought.
The silence of professing Christian clergy, and their tolerance of prejudicial stupidity regarding Gay people by those in the religious and secular arenas, mimics the very same silence of most White clergy and laypeople that existed during the African American civil rights struggle.
Of course, homophobic statements made by clergy and laypeople are no less egregious than were parallel statements made by "religious" and secular White Supremacists in the U.S. not that long ago!
Because of moral cowards within the ranks of clergy within most of the institutional Church, we can tragically expect the institutional Church to, again, just as in the African American civil rights movement, play the caboose in the trajectory that will eventually lead to full and equal civil and sacramental rights for God's LGBT children!