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Giving Sexual Bigotry Its Due

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Nearly every day at a variety of LGBT civil rights online venues, I read excellent pieces, news items from across the globe highlighting gains that activists, gay and straight, make, from national and provincial and state legislatures to city councils and small-town halls. Of course, I also read pieces pointing out justice's temporary losses. These pieces and postings won't and should not end, even well after more or less thoroughgoing rights are rung in, jurisdiction after jurisdiction, and rung in to stay. All these postings are more or less compelling, and most are very important to activists and those who cheer us on, even silently. I am pleased to see these postings.

One posting genre we see many times each week is one I'd like to see far less, and I believe we will, for it saddens me somewhat to see the video iterations of famous figures (religious and political) scoring our fellow LGBT citizens for being who they are, and damning the rest of us (the "nation") for promoting their increasing freedom. It concerns me not so much because what they say hurts many of my fellow activists. It can hurt them, particularly younger ones, I think, but my LGBT colleagues in this effort are pretty tough-skinned; they have to be.

The poster I saw last week, raised up by a very solid guy at an upbeat activist site, had CBN religious huckster Pat Robertson railing, as he's wont to do and has surely done incessantly since the Supreme Court's DOMA and Prop 8 holdings, against LGBT people. In this rant, Mr. Robertson quotes Leviticus to justify his bigotry, promising that "the land" will "vomit them out." Never mind that the reverend understands that Torah text through a rather odd and parochial lens that tells him that every nation in every era is the then-as-yet-unformed Hebrew clans' nascent nation.

The man comprehends Torah as well as he comprehends, say, how rainbows are made.

Yet that he's wholly wrong and hateful misses the point. I think at least one point is -- ought to be -- this:

In my work I have understood and I have seen the vicious effects on gay kids of men like this, from the pulpit to the halls of Congress, in city and county councils, on school boards and on my own faculties. It's ugly and must never be tolerated. And yet we, activists and non-activists alike, also ought to be able -- increasingly, speedily -- to ignore and not feel that we must post this religious lunacy. And those who know me know that I say this as one who respects much in a variety of religious textual traditions, and that I respect and regret the deep pain these horrid men and their personal rage and lack of imaginative social vision have inflicted.

And yet soon more and more of us will fully appreciate not only that we are winning but that steadily growing majorities of our fellow citizens are indeed with us, and that winning means, in part, that we will no longer need to give over our time and our concern to men such as this one, a man whose own anguish is that he knows that history itself is swiftly leaving his bigotry behind, naming that prejudice for what it is: personal pychosexual anguish dolled up as lofty social principle.

One day no one will need to post the inane ravings of men such as these. That day will come soon, in our time, and will mark a significant moment and measure of justice.