Why would anyone consciously "chose" to be homosexual and become a minority member of one of the most oppressed and discriminated groups in the nation? Homosexuality is not a choice just as it is not a choice to be born with a disability.
Gays do not have equal civil rights in America. They face daily discrimination in social settings as well as the workplace. While heterosexual couples can share, for example, corporate benefits of one with their wife or husband, such as medical and life insurance and pensions, gay partners cannot in most corporations.
They also don't have the automatic right to inherit the property of a partner without going through expensive and extensive legal activities to set up such provisions. And unless they've also made special arrangements beforehand they cannot go into a hospital room to be with someone they have loved, perhaps for decades, and be with them to hold his or her hand as the partner dies. Where's the agape love or compassion in that?
In America, the DOMA law is a DUMBA law and we, the people, are falling for it our of blind fear and eons of programming, often by religious heretics.
Gays, lesbians, transgender people and those who are bisexual have the right to receive all the same benefits our society gives to those who are heterosexual couples. Maybe, DOMA means Defense of Madness Act.
Certainly we don't need to populate the Earth as heterosexuals do when we already have 7 billion people on this planet with half underfed, undernourished and without adequate shelter.
I know about discrimination, isolation, being bullied and beaten, denied jobs, housing, access to buildings and looked down upon by others as being inferior because I was born with the disability of cerebral palsy in the 1940s and now use a wheelchair which has made my world smaller because most businesses in America are not following the accessibility guidelines in the Americans with Disabilities Act.They aren't doing what's right, I believe, because it costs money to make a door 32 inches wide, fix a restroom so there a turnaround space of five feet, smooth out cracked concrete or put switches for lights and heat within reach. Here we are bowing before the false god of materialism. Businesses are certainly foolish because if a person with a disability can get into a place of public accommodation he or she can spend their money which is good for the business and the person. They also will be good workers because a good job with benefits is economic freedom and the road to being part of the larger society.
At two, doctors wanted to place me in a state institution because "it would be best for all." Dad told the doctor to get screwed and "I'm going to raise Jerry to be normal."
I was denied access to an integrated public education until 1960 when I was 14 and told the principal of Osborn High School in Detroit I would not go into a room that was labeled "handicapped," a derogatory term meaning beggar or cap in hand. I suppose with that elevator key in hand and permission to leave a classroom five minutes before the bell rang for the next class we may have been among the first to be mainstreamed in a regular school.
I heard the other day that five teenagers a day kill themselves because of the personal and social torment they go through because they are gay and not heterosexual. This breaks my heart and society should offer acceptance and comfort so these young people can be comfortable with who and what they are from birth. Again, homosexuality is not a choice.
I would never have chosen to have a disability because we, as well as gays, often are outcasts in society; targets of horrific treatment, suffer great pain from our impairments and have to develop an inner spiritual strength to tolerate those who are bigots.
I was beaten so many times by bullies as a child with a disability that I didn't really trust anyone "normal" until I was able to jump in my car and get away from them. Gays, lesbians, transgender people and those who are bisexual also are beaten, some to the point of death. Homophobia has deep roots in the souls of this nation's people. Some fools think it's like a virus which just shows they are beyond ignorance.
Just as the 54 million people in America with disabilities have won civil rights during the past 40 years through the combined efforts of thousands, eventually the LGBT community also will be able to gain equal rights but it's going to be a hard battle. It must be one of non-violence, rewriting laws, and convincing some powerful fools you have the right to love who you want.
It's hard, however, to erase the image of televangelist Pat Robertson saying gays are going to hell. Robertson made $459 million last year, one report said, and I wonder how much he gave to help the poor, disadvantaged, those who face discrimination such as gays and the disabled.
Preacher Jimmy Swaggart, who lost his televangelist show a while back after being caught with prostitutes, cried and lamented, begged for forgiveness with tears running down his cheeks on TV because "I have sinned." His greater sin, I believe, is preaching against men loving men and women loving women.
In a sermon in September, 2004, Swaggart said: "I’ve never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I’m gonna be
blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I’m gonna kill him
and tell God he died." The audience laughed and clapped as God and his angels in Heaven cried.
When he stands before St. Peter at the gates of Heaven, Swaggart will be told to go to hell because you were not a good and faithful servant, but one who spread hate and threw logs on the fire of evil to perpetuate it.
Pitiful, hateful comments as these preachers should never see the light of day and always, always be challenged.
In the New King James version of the Bible Leviticus 20:13 says: "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed
an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon
However, just before the comments on homosexuality, the Bible in Leviticus 11:9-12, it says: “These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in
the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the
rivers, you may eat. But anything in the seas or the rivers that has not
fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the
living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you. You shall
regard them as detestable; you shall not eat any of their flesh, and
you shall detest their carcasses. Everything in the waters that has not
fins and scales is detestable to you."
So eating a shrimp or lobster is a detestable sin, according to the Old Testament. So why don't we picket outside of restaurants that serve this type of seafood and punish and ostracize those who commit this detestable sin?
It's a shame. Because of this stupidity, many gay people are turned off to religion at a time when our world needs to draw from their wisdom, courage and strength to make this world one where we will not destroy ourselves and love one another more just as Christ, Buddha, and Muhammad, among other great souls, taught us.
Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence and advocate-at-large for the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at (586) 263-8950.