Friday, May 30, 2008


"Last semester, I taught the close friend of a young man named Sean Kennedy. My student showed me home videos of his friend Sean dancing in his socks, pretending to skate over the slick linoleum flooring of his mother's kitchen, the way many of us did as kids.

"Sean is dead. In May 2007, he was assaulted in Greenville, S.C., by a young man who called him "faggot" while punching him so hard that he broke every bone in Sean's face. Sean fell to the pavement; the impact caused his brain to separate from his brain stem.

"Shortly after driving away, Sean's killer left a message on the cell phone of one of Sean's friends: 'Tell your faggot friend that when he wakes up he owes me $500 for my broken hand.'"

[For the full article, see here.]

Whenever any homophobe, be it a clergy person or politician, or their gullible and often hateful followers, seeks to deny equal civil rights to LGBT people, or who in any way demeans the inherent dignity of LGBT people, he or she is complicit in this murder and murders like this one. Moreover, whatever suicides occur by LGBT people due to shame and self-loathing inculcated and reinforced by clergy, their gullible followers, or by anyone else with even a modicum of credibility in the eyes of others, that person's blood is on those homophobes' hands, as is the blood of those LGBT people who are assaulted and even murdered for being the person God made them to be.

Also, whenever hateful epithets are used to identify LGBT people, be those words "fag" (Remember "The Million Fag March" held about two months ago, protesting the religiously and politically toothless Fred Phelps?), "dyke," "trannie," or any other such hateful words, those words over time can easily become part of one's very identity, and reinforce in both LGBT people's minds, as well as in the minds of their oppressors, how "other," "deviant," "inferior," they are to "normal people," consigning many to a ghetto in their own minds and in many parts of society itself.

It is high time that homophobia within the religious communities is confronted by LGBT people and allies, and that what shame and self-loathing exists should and must be translated into anger and rage; that anger and rage that should exist among LGBT people and allies, is then to be translated into activism by engaging in such actions as continuously picketing homophobic churches and their clergy; condemning hateful and discriminatory remarks in as many venues as possible, that emanate from anyone in the religious, political, or communications institutions in society; continuously asserting and reasserting the normality of LGBT people and demanding the right to full and equal civil and sacramental rights that heterosexual citizens and heterosexual couples enjoy.

Only when righteous anger and rage are directed toward actively condemning the condemners, and manifesting that anger and rage at being viewed and treated as anything but full human beings who are currently consigned to second-class citizenship, will what changes occur not merely be incremental but total. Even as John McCain on the Ellen Degeneres show exemplified, when backed against the wall and forced to state why Gay couples shouldn't be allowed to be married in the full sense of the word, all McCain could do was to merely reiterate his prejudices, without a fact in the world to support them. This phenomenon is true of all those who would in any way deny the basic normality of same-sex love and deny same-sex couples the dignity of that love by agitating against the right to same-sex marriage!

Prejudice and discrimination are not going to be changed by use of "sweet reason." Only activism on the kind of scale suggested above will eventually lead to full and equal rights.

And that activism has to snowball in order to be effective, and for that snowball effect to occur, there must be a fire in the belly to see to it that no human being is to be considered inferior to any other citizen, or be in the position of being treated as "separate but equal."

And it is this fire in the belly that must exist and then become manifested in activism that assures that future generations of kids like Sean will not grow up in a homophobic society that presumes to call itself "civilized," end up leading lives of exclusion from mainstream society, or having their lived ended by haters who, thanks to hateful rhetoric by clergy and other professing Christians, think that by bashing and killing LGBT people they are doing God a favor.
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Anonymous said...

Myself and a friend have just set up a blog carnival for progressive Christians
The home page is here I thought you might want to participate.I'd really like it if you submitted this post

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Philomela: Thank you, and I will submit this post to your blog. I placed a link to your blog, as it's excellent! Best wishes, Jerry.