The path of civil rights history for discrimination against the black man and woman tracks a worldwide journey of both awful display and glorious breakthroughs. The underpinnings of personhood finally demands that visual differences for any race simply reflects the origination of each person’s color. Blacks have not been alone in this struggle. White, brown, black, auburn, tawny, red, and yellow folks may look upon another racial palette with curiosity, but the correlation between each person’s moral character, sexual orientation, citizenship, and religious beliefs with their place within the rainbow of skin color means little.
Some have argued that religions both proffered upon the world and profited from black discrimination. No one argues today, though, that religions may well have pushed civil rights over the finish line.
The path of civil rights for other visually distinct persons – the disabled and the contagious – follow a similar history. Ancient and even recent faiths were reported to have abandoned and ostracized these two groups. Religious communities reversed that notion by both their care for and their continued commitment to the disabled and contagious.
Not so visually different have been the mentally disturbed, the abject poor, and the transient or migrant. Morality, citizenry and religion play no real part toward a person’s health, financial status, or home. Again, religious communities have stepped in.
A person’s citizenry should not determine discriminatory action, but in times of political tension qualifications for entry and exit will probably flag attention. Refusing a person to enter a country is not discrimination in the politically correct definition, but certainly in each country’s level of vetted concern.
Regarding religious beliefs in the U.S., the pantheon of discrimination usually comes from the same place as that of the racial form. Faith expressions vary in their acceptance of other faith expressions. Once folks step outside of the missions of their faith to the poor, oppressed and hurting they often run into discriminatory positions toward other groups of faith. At issue is often the religious beliefs themselves, specifically about who God is, or is not.
The moral character categorization of folks takes a completely different form. Regardless of each person’s array of principles and religious ordinances moral character legally rests upon the law and order of domains. That is, nation, state, enclave, mountain valley, parish, county, city, township, and home set moral boundaries that flex according to the judicial and penal system in charge. The larger the gathered space and group of folks, the more general the rule. When a specific rule shouts itself out, some subsequent group will be challenged to accommodate. The opposite is also true. A subsequent group can appeal for their own accommodation.
At the base of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, and queer individual path toward freedom from discrimination sits a quandry of inappropriately applied moral confusions. In the legal systems of the variously sized groups above, the problems associated with LGBTQ discrimination does not refer to citizenry, or even gender, other than the odd worry about bathroom assignations. Gay and transgender politics are not about moral character either. At issue are religious beliefs, which have at their foundation an array of both sexual and gender definitions. Religious positions are now at the core of the political tension.
One could say that no one cares about LGBTQ issues anymore, except the religious communities. If true, that means that over 75% of the population cares. Forty-seven percent of US citizens are affiliated with Protestant churches. Twenty-one percent are Catholics. Mormons, Jews, Islam, Hindus, Buddhists, and others make up the rest of the 75%.
The acceptance of LGBTQ folks follows a live and let live philosophy, according to the polls. While a vast majority of people in the US approve of same-sex marriage, the reading of the Supreme Court affirmation of same-sex marriage included a stern warning that folks who do not agree with the re-definition of marriage to include same-sex folks should not suffer discrimination.
That’s at the core of the anti-LGBTQ message. To group all gay and transgender folks together already presents a political unity to an extremely diverse set of individuals. In fact, though, LGBTQ as a people have been legitimized in the United States through a series of legal determinations in the courts, and intense media approval in movies, television, internet, and celebrity opportunities. Not fully on board is the religious community’s faith expression of inclusion, for all kinds of determinant reasons.
The most telling affront to those who hold seriously their religious beliefs is the reaction to the First Amendment Defense Act, or FADA. The LGBTQ community considers it attack on their rights. In fact, their rights within a subsequent group of the nation is an internal debate rather than a national one. The religious community, including Muslims and practically the entire gathering of Christian communities, sees the need to reset, maybe even to establish, an individual’s protection from “discriminatory action” regarding their belief in the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, and the reservation of sexual relationships within marriage.
Few people seek to preserve their right to racial discrimination. Fewer seek to enact or maintain religious discriminations. Religious individuals, though, are asking not be be discriminated against for their religious beliefs regarding same sex marriage. They don’t want to be party to marriage unions outside of the man/woman relationship.
In fact, the same religious discrimination holds true for those who oppose abortion and don’t want to be forced to pay for or favor abortions.
Time will tell how faith expressions will reach out to the LBGTQ community in love and care, as they have with racial groups, immigrants, the poor, and the rest of the disenfranchised. You can be sure, though, that they have already begun.
Until the separation of LGBTQ folks as fine for who they are takes place as separate from same-sex marriage exceptions, then faith expressions will be suspect, and even condemned for their beliefs. The verbiage is clear. The expression of faiths who do not want to participate in same-sex marriage are “not fine for who they are.” Until faiths are allowed to maintain their subsequent definition of marriage as a unique man/woman affiliation, the anti-LGBTQ flame will remain lit. That flame is lit not by the faith expressions, but by the anti-religious-freedom fans.