I became aware of a very sad case this past Monday about a gay man in Mississippi who was beaten and called "faggot" at a Walmart. Currently there is a social media campaign urging the district attorney to charge the attacker with a hate crime, which it clearly is, but that's not why I'm writing this article.
What is clear to me is the excessive amount of bigotry, racism, homophobia and xenophobia that have littered the headlines from states such as Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, etc. It seems odd to me that the states where the highest degree of danger for anyone not white, not straight and/or not of the blue and pink, male/female sexual orientation is nicknamed the "Bible Belt."
These states, with their history of hatred and discrimination, have the audacity to say they are disciples of Jesus and practice the principles of the Bible. Take the case of Mississippi: a recent Gallup poll found that 58 percent of it's residents classified themselves as very religious, yet when it comes to enforcing the golden rule (one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself) this state is a flying failure!
Now, I'm not saying this goes for each and every citizen of those states, because that is most certainly not true. There are good people everywhere, regardless of age, race, religion and sexual orientation - to me this doesn't matter. What does matter to me are cases like this one in Mississippi.
Mississippi does not have a law protecting LGBT citizens. As a nation, we should protect all of our citizens equally so that every American has the same opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The thing that perplexes me the most is that these states within the "Bible Belt" have continually been the most resistant to that idea. The book of Jeremiah states: "'for I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." That is the reason I wrote this article -- because I continually do not see ideals inscribed in the Bible practiced in these "Bible Belt" states.
Richard Fowler is the youngest syndicated progressive and/or African-American radio host in the United States.
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