Earlier today a bill was signed into law in Indiana that will allow business owners to deny services to LGBT people based on religious objections. This comes on the heels of legislation enacted in Arkansas last month that prohibits local communities from implementing non-discrimination policies for LGBT people.
We don't have to be the same to give each other credit and respect. We don't have to be bossy to teach. Our differences challenge us, but also enrich us.
What tests my patience, what troubles me beyond all else, is our propensity for pointing the finger at others while ignoring our own flaws. The truth is that the U.S. is not yet at a point where it can self-righteously condemn others for their intolerance toward LGBT people, at least not with a straight face. Someday we will get there, and we will lead by example. But not today.
Surely everyone reading this is well aware of the issues surrounding the LGBT bill in Uganda. And as the world leapt to its feet, passionately denouncing this one bill in this one country, I waited for that same outrage to be directed at all the other places where this is happening in equal measure. I'm still waiting.
Death stalks each generation in its own way, as activist David Mixner reminded us last week. He movingly recounted assisting the suicides of friends who were suffering through the final stages of AIDS in the 1980s. Testaments like his must be given if the new generation is to have any idea of the price that was paid by those who came before.
The status of the Uganda law is yet clear. Even if the Courts strike it down on technical grounds, Parliament may try to pass a new version. Whatever its course, it is likely that we will be reading about it in the headlines.
In recent years, the world has seen enormous human rights gains with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. However, there have also been substantial setbacks.
When Uganda's parliament voted for this Act in December 2013, it declared open season on Uganda's LGBTI communities. In my country there's now a culture of extreme and violent homophobia whereby anyone is free to persecute LGBTI people with impunity.
We can only get married because millions of people took a stand to defend and protect us. The gay people of Brunei -- and Russia, and Uganda, and many other countries -- need us to take another stand today.
The remarks about Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Law made by Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana at a recent conference on human rights organized by the Vatican are a welcome intervention in a debate that has become dangerously overheated.
First a reputation stain, then the pocketbook strains. That's what lawmakers the world over learned to expect recently when efforts to penalize LGBT people move forward.
In order to have a fair, balanced, and academic dialogue, more than one view must be present. We all step into more growth, more love, and more humility when we listen to the diversity of voices that make up the family of God.
At its most basic level, the recent legislation is a violation of the sovereign principle that healthcare is a human right. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote from jail in 1963 that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
As a community -- whether that means LGBT or of a particular city/town -- we can stand up and make our voices heard. Whether you live in Denver or Dublin, London or Newark, we can stand in solidarity with our Ugandan brethren.
Lest anyone suggest discrimination in the United States is benign in comparison to what has unfolded in Uganda, we should take a closer look at the pain and suffering -- and yes, the hatred -- laws like these fuel.