Tuesday, June 26, 2007

May I have a moment of your time today?

As you know, CNN and AC360 will be focusing on gay life in America this week but that is not why I am writing this post today. One of my very close friends asked me to bring this issue to you today and ask for your help. I do hope you will read this post, watch this video and take action!

"Not only is homosexuality a sin, but anyone who supports [gays] is just as guilty as they are. You are both worthy of death (Romans 1:32)," Phelps quoted by State Press (Arizona State University), March 11, 1998.

Fred Phelps , quoted above, is an American and that sickens me. In America, we have the right to freedom of speech and I am thankful for that right. But, when does freedom of speech cross the line to inciting hatred and violence against our fellow man? You tell me?

Jerry Falwell preached to millions of his Christian followers about how being gay is a sin and how God hates sinners. So young impressionable people took that to mean God must hate gays, right? Those young impressionable people, spurred on by the preachings of Falwell and Phelps took action. They beat Matthew Shepard to within inches of his life. They pistol whipped him. Then they tied him to a fence and left that poor soul there to die. Why? Because Matthew Shepard was gay. These two monsters beat another human being to death because he was gay.

Can your mind digest that? Does that disgust you? It should. Here's a couple more facts for you. The Matthew Shepard Act was introduced into Congress in March of this year. It was passed in the House on May 3rd and is now in Senate awaiting approval. Did you know that President Bush has threatened to veto this bill? Why? Because the Christian right is lobbying against the bill full-force. They argue that this bill will make it illegal to preach against homosexuality. One reverend even took out a full-page ad against this legislation.

It is intolerable that the President of the United States of America would even consider vetoing such an important bill protecting the rights and lives of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. We need to act now to tell our legislators that we as a society will not stand for any kind of hate crime! Here are important links to the Erase Hate Petition and the Take Action page on the HRC website. Please stand up and be counted!

I hope this post has moved you to action. But just in case it hasn't, I wanted you to view this very important video about Hate Crimes. Please watch, you will not regret it though you might need a tissue or two.

All Through The Night


I will leave you tonight with a quick word from my friend who so passionately supports this issue. And I'd like to thank you on her behalf for your time this afternoon. ~Sheryn

As you know, I'm the very proud mother of a gay son and as such, this issue is very close to my heart. I think of what happened to Matthew Shepard often and it literally sickens me. What if that had been my son? I can't imagine how his mother has endured. To hate someone for who they are, what they look like or how they live their life is beyond comprehension. Though this legislation will not end the hate, it's a step in the right direction and unfortunately, the opposition is very active & well organized.

It's so important that people who support this bill know that the vote is coming and that they need to make the effort to contact their senators urging them to vote for it. Every voice counts and makes a difference.

Thanks Sheryn, for your help in spreading the word. ~Carrie

19 comments:

sydney said...

Over 20 years ago in our community a young man was thrown off a bridge and killed just for being gay. Now there are plans to erect a permanent memorial for him. We've come a long way, but sadly we still have a long way to go. I have a few gay family members and many gay friends. My parents had gay friends, as well as friends of other diverse backgrounds. It has just never occurred to me to treat anyone any differently for aspects that aren't relevent to the kind of person they are. It's like MLK said, we should be judged by the content of our character. Two consenting adults loving and making a committment to each other is not a character flaw.

My DH is rather conservative and religious and believes homosexuality is wrong, but he would be the first one to say that God does NOT hate gay people. He's a firm believer in "hate the sin, love the sinner", which is what I would consider "true" Christianity. He always treats everyone with kindness and respect, which is one reason I love him. We have just had to agree to disagree on this issue.

Well, that's my $0.02 :-)

Em said...

Thanks for the heads up Sheryn. The video was very...gosh I don't have the words right now. I have conversed with you on this issue before and you know how much I abhore any type of cruelty based on an individual being different than others in their community/society. Tell your friend I will definitely be following that link and doing my small part.

Anonymous said...

God is loving god that doesn't "hate" anyone; He showed us how much He loves us by sending his Son to the cross to die for our sins. Sin is sin, period, but there is only one unforgivable sin, which is blasphemy.

However, we shouldn't pass judgement on anyone, that is not OUR jobs here on Earth. It's just good to know that we are able to start each day with a new slate, and can repent for our sins, and try to live the lives we were called to live.

Purple Tie said...

Thanks to Sheryn and especially your wonderful friend for sharing this. It literally sickens me that people can hate like this.

No matter what anyone's opinions are on homosexuality each person has a right to live their life the way they want as long as they aren't hurting anyone. Matthew Shepard hurt no one.

I know that being gay isn't a choice. I've known too many gay people in my life to know that's just not true. Having blonde hair or blue eyes isn't a choice... it's how you were born.

I have a very good friend and a cousin who have done research on this subject and both studies found a genetic link. I'm sure the "cause" of homosexuality can be many things but no matter what it is, they are human and deserve to be treated the same...not worse and not better.

I refuse to believe that God looks down on them or doesn't see them as the same as the rest of us. I can't believe that. If the Bible says it's a sin then everyone at Red Lobster is a sinner too, because eating shellfish is going against God if you are to believe everything the Bible says.

In the end, none of us here are God (or whatever higher power you believe it) and it's not our job to judge. If something is wrong then that person will deal with it when they pass. If everyone was busy solving their own problems and leading a good life they wouldn't have time to judge others.

Phebe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phebe said...

My favorite aunt is 80 years old, and has been an 'out of the closet' lesbian her entire adult life. Can you imagine what she went through as a lesbian in the 1930's and 40's? As bad as it is now it was 100 times worse then. She is encouraged by the progress she's seen, but saddened that there is still a long way to go. I wish you all could meet my aunt and her partner of 50+ years, they are two of the most interesting, talented and bravest women I've ever known. The ugliness that society has and continues to show them and others in the GLBT community is just wrong.
And to Carrie, as I've told you before; I wish every GLBT child had parents like you and your husband. You are shining examples of how it should be.
I hope you all take a minute to follow the links Sheryn posted and make your voice heard.

Anonymous said...

Any group that comprises our society whether it be a race, nationality, ethnic group or one defined by its sexual persuasion should be allowed respect and tolerance.
Tolerance and freedom are important words in the United States and many have died to preserve what those words represent. Some seem to have forgotten how much they are a part of the fabric of our being and that they stand for more than just certain, narrowly defined symbols in history.
It makes me so sad that we are in the 21st Century and still living with this kind of attitude.

Megan said...

Sheryn - thank you and and your friend Carrie for such a thought provocing post.

I like many others am a firm believer in "hate the sin, love the sinner" I believe God loves everyone, he just doesn't like some of the things we do (and when one person can tell me they have done nothing God would not like....I might call them Jesus) No matter my personal opinions on the subject, I have no right to judge a person based on their sexual orientation just as I have no right to judge someone based on race, religion or sex. I can't believe that President Bush as a christian would want to veto a bill that would prevent the spread of hate crimes. It should have no bearing if this had to do with sexual orientation or race......all hate crimes should be punishable.

Thanks again Sheryn for a great post.....tell Carrie that we are so thankful for people like her are just loving parents who love their children no matter what....Hopefully congress and Pres. Bush will think long and hard about this before just using the almighty veto pen.

Anna said...

@Sheryn:

By far your best post EVER!

Let's keep spreading the love for all people in the world.

Jennifer said...

Hi Sheryn, I will do anything I can for you (us) I have a cousin that is a guy that is gay and I know how they are treated and looked up on. My cousin you couldn't ask for no better person he is the type that give you the shirt off his back if you ask, I love him and it hurts the way some people treats him, It so sad people don't understand they are like anyone else they are human beings and should be treated as such.

Anonymous said...

I grew up surrounding with mixed sexual orientation. When I was little, I didn't know the word "homosexual" comparing with the common used word of "gay". As you all know that Gay means Happy. My parent were very proper and conservative. I was the rebellion from the time when I was in teen. I used to hang out with straight and gay artistic people at college. As far as I remember, they both got along so well during my college years. That was back in 1980's. During that time, when I first got the job at the Wall Street in New York City, I met a guy who was so brillant and handsome. We had one thing in common: Hearing Impairment. I was attracted to him but didn't realize that he was gay. We were like "Will and Grace". My gay friend did have a hard time finding the right partner because of his hearing impairment. It had been a years until he found the right guy. I haven't heard from him for long time but my friend just found out that he has been promoted as a Vice President.

We all have flawed and are not perfect. You cannot judge people that way because of our sexual orientation. I also agree with Sydney's point (3:15pm) as how we should be judged by the content of our character. I am still straight and it has never occured to me to whom the person is.

"God hates fags" is a very strong, horrid word. Nobody should never use that word "fags" comparing the word "niggers" back in the Civil Rights Movements.

I also am enjoyed reading all of your blogs before I blog it here. You are wonderful people.

snooks said...

Thank you for your powerful post and the links to the petition

This behavior in the name of God is hypocritcal because I can not remember where the Bible teaches you to hate - How quickly people forget that this is how the Holocaust started

I guess I will never understand why gays and lesbians are so threatening to the so-called moral majority -

People are people - we are all born equal until we are born into families that teach us to hate

I never realized how lucky I was to be raised by parents who never saw color, religion or sexuality as anything to even speak about in a negative sense

If this country does not wake up and make changes in the next election, we are all doomed because of the actions of our current President and his newly appointed Supreme Court -

BookAsylum said...

@sheryn & carrie- Thanks for the great post!

People like Phelps really make my blood boil- attempting to repackage their hate as Christianity. Its one thing to disagree with how someone else lives their life, but attacking them and their families is inexcusable.

Sheryn said...

Everyone, thank you for your thoughtful comments on this very important post. I love that our readers support ATA with their comments and emails.

I truly appreciate your concern and action!

Thanks again,
Sheryn

Anonymous said...

I haven't posted here for months but I thought I'd drop a line. From previous experience, it either won't be posted or I'll have tomatoes thrown at me.
Perhaps those of you who consider yourself so "open minded" should realize that you are being disrespectful to those of us who accept that God is the only one who determines our moral values.There is no personal hatred toward those who choose to follow their only moral compass, whatever that may be.

Anonymous said...

Sheryn,

Thank you my friend for speaking so eloquently on this topic. I knew you would do it justice. You have a real talent for writing and I hope that someday you will be able to put that talent to use in a career! Although this is a personal issue for me, I know that you care a great deal about it as well.

In a perfect world, there would be no need for this legislation, but as we all know, our world is far from perfect. The purpose of this act is to provide federal assistance for state and local authorities to prosecute perpetrators of hate crimes. For anyone who would like to read the actual bill and see which senators are sponsoring it, here is a link:

http://dyssonance.wordpress.com/hate-crimes/

I’m pleased to know that one of my state senators is one of the sponsors and that my home state has become one of the first to add ‘sexual orientation’ to its civil rights laws. It’s a start.

To all of you who commented, your thoughts and stories touched me and I appreciate your interest in this very important issue. And Phebe, thank you for your kind words. I am truly just an ordinary mom who loves her son. It’s that simple.

To everyone who took the time to follow the links and take action, thank you from the bottom of my heart. If we don’t let our senators know how we feel, how can they truly represent us?

Carrie

Sheryn said...

@Anon 4:38, I would like to respectfully ask why we are being disrespectful in expecting human beings to be tolerant of thier fellow neighbor. It is a Commandment to Love Thy Neighbor.

Just because someone thinks differently than I does not give me the right to judge. And it most certainly does not give me the right to act violently against them.

That is what this post is about. Hate Crimes are a disgusting part of this society which I do not understand. I, along with many many individuals expect our leaders to erect laws that protect our citizens against such horrible crimes.

Peter said...

Sheryn,
I was moved to tears by this post. I read posts like this and I feel like I am supposed to get angry but instead I feel grateful for people like you and your friend, the mother of a gay son.
As a gay man myself I want to thank you for your love of humanity and your understanding of diversity.
You are all beautiful souls that make this world worth living in.
Love you,
Peter

Sheryn said...

Peter,

Thank you for your wonderful compliment. I always blog what is in my heart and this post was an easy one to write because I truly believe that everyone deserves love in their life. And they deserve the freedom to live thier life the way they want to.

I hope that when my child grows up, she'll be reading about the courageous souls who fought for gay rights and won the battle, much the same way we read about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King who fought for racial equality.