THE BLOG

Gay People Affirmed to be Human by United Nations

07/10/2011 06:23 pm ET | Updated Sep 09, 2011

You did not hear or read much about it, but the arc of justice stretched far and wide on June 17, 2011, when the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution affirming that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons are entitled to the same protections afforded other human beings around the world.

I have never been more proud to be an American and a global citizen of the United Nations than on the day the United States and the majority of nation-members of the U.N. issued this declaration.

I am grateful for our U.S. State Department, our United Nations Ambassador, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, our President Barrack Obama and for the international human rights and LGBT rights organizations that relentlessly pressed for this resolution, partnering with its national sponsor, South Africa, for its passage. They took a risk that was as pro-life as any I have seen lately.

For my family -- my spouse of 31 years, my son and my daughter and me, the most important aspect of the resolution was its recognition that we are human beings, blood and bone just like everyone else.

When that simple recognition is not present in the hearts and minds of leaders of churches and nations, people die -- we've seen it again and again in the history of genocide worldwide where religious and political leaders decide that certain groups are simply not deserving of recognition as human beings.

Sadly, the politicians most often take up their killing ways based on the convincing bully pulpits of fundamentalist Christians and Muslims. Case in point -- Alex McFarland of the American Family Association, the group co-hosting Texas Governor Rick Perry's The Response Prayer Rally.

McFarland says that Perry's event is needed more than ever after marriage equality passed in New York. He claims that the world is now in The Latter Days and that we shouldn't confuse LGBT rights with human rights because LGBT equality means that immorality [will] become the law of the land.

In my last post, I told you about the other host of Governor Perry's event, Lou Engle, one of the three evangelical leaders in the United States who supported the passage of the Kill the Gays bill in Uganda.

I mentioned that Engle has thus far stood me up for the date he promised me in which we would discuss the use of his ministry and the name of Jesus Christ to sanction the murder of gay people. I have to be relentless in my pursuit of our date because Engle is not just working outside our borders to end the lives and rights of gay people. He is working right here in the United States to ensure that young people are scared out of their wits to tell the truth about their sexuality or gender orientation. Young adults who are scared out of their wits attempt suicide much more often than those who feel safe. Engle commits a form of bullying through his ministry that is tragic.

He opposes work like that of the Soulforce Equality Ride which creates on-campus dialogue at U.S. based colleges and universities to end discriminatory policies against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Engle claims that universities with LGBT anti-discrimination measures are teaching students the mark of the Beast.

How did I make Engle's acquaintance? For the last two years, as Executive Director of Soulforce, sponsor of The Equality Ride, I have served on the United Nations Faith Coalition for LGBT Human Rights.

Our initial focus was to push back on the proposed passage of the "Kill the Gays" bill in Uganda. Thus far we have been successful.

And, as celebrated in the introduction to this article, we worked hard with other international organizations to secure the resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council that now affirms the human rights of LGBT people in the majority of nations.

The next meeting of our U.N. Faith Coalition in October and the work of our committees in the interim will focus on how we can now (1) effectively decriminalize LGBT lives worldwide, (2) achieve asylum and immigration for those whose lives are in danger and (3) research, document and expose the international agenda of U.S. based radical religious fundamentalists who seek to establish the New Dominion of Hate http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/newt-gingrich-and-dominionists within electoral politics in the United States and other nations.

And, while we work, I will continue to wait for my date with Engle. Perhaps you can encourage him to come to the Table of Grace and have a little talk with me. You can write him at info@ihop.org.