Perhaps those on the Religious Right would lend a bit more nobility, not to mention more credibility, to their fight for “religious freedom” if they were known as tireless defenders of everyone’s freedom of religious expression, regardless of whether or not they agreed with other people’s religious beliefs. But, as we know, they do not. They claim to speak for Christianity and Judaism, with their silly word “Judeo-Christian,” when in reality they represent a small segment of Christians and the tiniest segment of Judaism. Millions of Christians are highly supportive of LGBT people, as are most Jews. Frank Bruni has a column in the New York Times today which addresses this from the perspective of the anti-gay bans present in the Boy Scouts. He points out that, while the Religious Right is screaming about their religious freedom, they’re actually fighting against the religious freedom of those who want the bans lifted precisely because of their moral and religious beliefs:
As the Boy Scouts of America reassesses its ban on gay scouts and leaders, we’re hearing a lot about the organization’s need to remain sensitive to people whose religions condemn homosexual behavior. Their morals must be properly respected, their God aptly revered.
But what about the morals and the God of people whose religions exhort them to be inclusive and to treat gays and lesbians with the same dignity as anyone else? There are many Americans in this camp, and their opposition to the Scouts’ ban is as faith-based as the stance of those who want it maintained.
Take Scott Ward, 48, a public relations executive and married father of three in Takoma Park, Md. He’s a scout leader, with a 10-year-old son who’s a scout. He’s also an elder in his Presbyterian church.
And for him, the ban must go not in spite of what Christianity says about homosexuality (or what selective literalists have decided it says), but because of what it says about humanity.
“From my faith perspective, singling people out for exclusion from the life of the church or the life of the community cannot possibly be part of God’s plan,” Ward told me on the phone recently.
He added, “If you look at the people Jesus tended to be most suspicious of, they were people who sat in positions of authority to say that they had the unique ability to judge others.”
Indeed. Read the whole thing. In the coming months, Truth Wins Out will be taking a more active role in creating environments for LGBT supportive Christians to take the conversation back from the Religious Right, and to assert in no uncertain terms that the bigots of our society decidedly do not speak for them or for their faith.