Police in Grand Rapids, Michigan say that there was nothing they could do after Bible-preaching protesters threatened to rape and murder pro-LGBT activists at a "Gay Day" event over the weekend. In a video posted to YouTube, several protesters with Bibles can be seen shouting at a woman celebrating in the inaugural "Gay Day" celebration, an event organized by the human rights group Tolerance, Equality and Awareness Movement (TEAM) to showcase the community's diversity.
With tempers running at fever pitch after weeks of Chick-fil-A stories, it is not surprising that threats of violence have surfaced. What is surprising, however, is that the parties indirectly involved have not yet managed to distance themselves from them.
In a March 28 OpEdNews article, it was pointed out that NOM (National Organization for Marriage) had a strategy to "drive a wedge" between America's black community and the LGBT community. NOM never denied the strategy, siting supporters in its movement came from "every color, creed and background."
They have yet to say whether "every creed" includes the Black Hebrew Israelites.
The Black Hebrews were first featured in OpEdNews in an article on the murder of 4-year-old Jadon Higgenbotham, whose actions were thought to be "gay" by his mother's boyfriend, Peter Lucas Moses:*
Black Voices: Moses and his wives were members of a religious sect called the Black Hebrews, a group that frowns upon homosexuality. According to theJewish Virtual Library, The Black Hebrews believe that they are descended from the 10 lost tribes of Israel. They live according to their own special rules of conduct. Polygamy is permitted and birth control is forbidden.
Some of them also believe that Jews, whites and homosexuals will be made salves by Jesus upon the Second Coming.
Whether or not NOM has a direct tie to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement may not be the point: whether it will disavow and condemn the incident, however, is more salient than one supposes. The Christian Right's defensive mantra of "we're not like that" must be placed immediately in the forefront and immediately after any incident, or else it loses effect: silence is not a virtue. NOM's "wedge" strategy did not foresee any adverse repercussions.
Maybe it should have.
The demonizing of the LGBT community (and gay-rights activist in particular) by organizations such as NOM, the American Family Association and the Family Research Council have had far-reaching effects- more than the organizations would ever admit: anti-gay efforts spearheaded in Uganda, for example resulted in the death of gay activist David Kato. Evangelists targeting Uganda e.g. Lou Engle and Scott Lively have, of course, washed their hands of any such violence.
The Death Of Civil Discourse?
What Chick-fil-A and other incidents of homophobia (Pastors Charles "put 'em behind an electrified fence" Worley and Sean "crack that wrist" Harris come to mind) may have brought about is the idea that civil discourse on the subject of gay rights and gay marriage may be on life support. Of course, such discourse may simply mirror the political discourse of the Presidential campaign, which is to say that there may eventually be no discourse at all: the Democratic National Committee has committed itself to making gay rights part of its platform - an act which may be seen as one of aggression, at least on social issues.
The major problem with a lack of civil discourse: violence takes its place. Organizations like the Black Hebrew Israelites will see to that. And organizations like NOM will simply not care.
*Moses also murdered Jadon's mother, Antoinette McKoy.
Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books " Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most interesting people of our time: Steve Allen, William F. Buckley, Alan Ginsburg, Armisted Maupin, Anne Rice, Grace Slick, Bishop John Shelby Spong, Patricia Nell Warren, and Betty White.
He is also an ordained minister in the ULC and has studied extensively on the subject of the Bible and homosexuality. Additional articles can be read on his blog, The Devil and Dan Vojir.
Future goals and activities: a new ministry focusing on reaching personal spiritual levels without the outside influence of proselytism or evangelism called The Church of the Inner Preacher. This ministry will be included in a new website The Devil and Dan Vojir.
Vojir's main goal: to root out hypocrisy in religion and politics. "If only one person is saved from being killed or bashed by inane bigotry, then I'll have accomplished what I was put on earth to do: To Live and Help Live."