As I and many others were mortified at the behavior of the Republican Presidential candidates who signed a pledge to discriminate against the LGBT community and women in the name of religion, I felt compelled to look at the common denominator of hate, discrimination, misogyny, wars, and prejudice.
Yes, the common denominator is religion. Let us go back to the late part of the 11th Century and the First Crusade; this was not about god. The Crusade was a reaction to politics and the power of the Catholic Church being divided between east and west. The Pope was worrying about loss of control and trying to heal the split. The Middle Class figured out they could deal directly with Muslims for commerce and eliminate the middleman of the eastern empire. Granted, this is a .25 cent version of the First Crusade, but the killing of Muslims here was not about god, it was about money and power.
Let us jump to the 15th Century and The Inquisition. Oh, those madcaps. Those whacky Catholics again, just providing “tough love for heretics,” Jews, Muslims, and anyone not willing to convert to Catholicism. I’m sure that the monarchy making a huge profit from all of the confiscated booty from said “heretics” was just a strange coincidence.
Fast forward to the 21st Century and President Bush listening to the voice of God:
I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’. And I did. And then God would tell me ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’. And I did.
Not only did W. wage a war domestically against the LGBT community, but apparently god told him to wage war around the world, damn the facts and countless lives lost. During the Bush years we witnessed repeated assaults on the LGBT community and women’s reproductive rights by Cheney and Rove. We were the perfect scapegoats to steal the attention from the fact that the nation was starting a recession that would see no end, while King George was treating the Constitution as though it were toilet paper. Rove, Cheney, and Bush paved the way for what would become the nightmare Tea Party.
Today, we have Teahadists like Bachmann and her ignorant crew that are using religion to continue to vilify the LGBT community–damned be the AMA and APA and their recommendations to support marriage equality. Let us not forget John Boehner leading the campaign to spend tax payer money to defend DOMA. Are we then to presume that god prefers war and killing over love and peace?
Here is the real KICKER! While I do not subscribe to any organized religion, I do firmly believe that we will need to engage and enlist the support of those that are religious if we intend to see any significant progress in civil rights. I look to the voices of Dr. King, Coretta Scott King, and Bishop Gene Robinson to help move conversations around women’s rights and LGBT rights in a healthy and productive direction. The war for treating all humans equally regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, and gender identity can only succeed if we hear the voices of our religious brothers and sisters joining the chorus of voices fighting to beat back the specter of Fascism.