While the rhetoric against the LGBT community has been ratcheted up in the last months due to the Boy Scouts and marriage equality, violence has also escalated. Calls for imprisonment and even death have surfaced at home and abroad.
Last week in homophobia (click on links to see full stories):
New Europe reports that members of the mob were shouting, "Kill them! Tear them to pieces!"
The Mark Carson Vigil
The victim of a hate crime murder in New York's Greenwich Village on Friday night was revealed as a 'courageous' gay man who never hid his sexuality - despite being subjected to anti-gay slurs for years.
Mark Carson, 32, was killed after a gay-bashing assailant asked whether the man he was with was his boyfriend. Carson didn't hesitate and told the man yes, according to reports.
Elliot Morales, 33, called Carson a 'f*****' and a 'queer' when he confronted him and his 31-year-old partner on a busy street on Friday night.
Mark Carson was then shot in the head, and rushed to a hospital where he died. His alleged assailant confessed to the hate crime and to the homophobic slurs.
It was the fourth such crime in New York in two weeks, but it prompted a vigil which will live in New York memory for some time: a vigil that was fraught with love and determination.* It was a vigil for which elements of anti-gay animus (e.g. the Christian Right) could have little criticism.
Emotions ranging from fear and disillusionment to love and determination were all there:
"Enough!" "Your love is a dangerous thing - use it everywhere you go."
"Don't let it be a cowardly moment."
"Your love is a dangerous thing - use it everywhere you go."
"We are all the same. We can all bleed."
"We deserve to feel safe in our home town."
"Feels like a home invasion."
The only (slightly) seditious statement, "The powers imprisoning people are the powers that shot Mark Carson" alluded to the treatment of the people in the Greenwich Village community by the NYPD.
The vigil was impassioned, but not as inspirational as one would would hope for, simply because so many people have heard the same voices throughout the years since the death of Matthew Shepherd. It is also difficult to inspire people who have become indifferent. What sets aside this vigil from the "Laramie Project" reaction during Shepherd's funeral, perhaps, is the sense of community - a community within an enormous city. It is a community trying to tell everyone that it has tried to be a microcosm of love and acceptance, a community with a sense of purpose - and that sense of purpose was violated, but not beaten. "Feels like a home invasion" was probably the most poignant of the vigil statements.
"Our grief and our anger brought us together."
The murder happened just a few blocks away from the Stonewall Inn, where, in 1969, the gay rights movement was born, bringing a sense of continuance to the vigil. In fact, from the statements during the vigil, rage was heaped upon a society at large rather than focused on any particular group. In many ways, the vigil seemed to make a valiant attempt to transcend hate by overcoming it with determination coupled with pride in the courage of Mark Carson, imploring everyone to be like him.
Yet no one mentioned the one label that the LGBT's worst enemy usually reserves for itself: "martyr."
Last week, one anti-marriage equality wag stated: "The forces of evil always always get greedy and then they give us an opportunity to fight back."**
In the wake of last week's extreme homophobic violence, let's hope that more such vigils take place when violence occurs.
*The video of the vigil is long (30 minutes) but well worth the view.
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."