The irony is not lost on me that many organizations that vow to protect the "family" or "marriage" (the American Family Association, the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council (FRC))and have those words in their namesare among the most hateful and divisive organizations out there. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center branded the Family Research Council a "hate group."
And that was before FRC President Tony Perkins sent this letter to supporters this month:
In this letter, Perkins brands Dan Savage, who created the It Gets Better Project as a way to stem the tide of young people committing suicide because they were gay, or confused, or simply bullied for being different, as a "homosexual extremist who built a career on hatred of Christians and our values."
Dan Savage has built a portion of his career trying to stop hatred. He does not say anything disparaging about religion except when people try to hide behind religious protection in order to bully or discriminate.
But more disturbing than this attack on Dan Savage (who doesn't need me to defend him) is this paragraph, in which Perkins criticizes President Obama and the First Lady, Vice President Biden and other administration officials for recording videos of their own for the It Gets Better Project, videos recorded by major corporations, athletic teams, entertainers, and regular citizens.
"Can you imagine George Washington, Ronald Reagan or any other president telling school children it's okay to be immoral and that they'll eventually feel better about it?While I don't agree with everything President Obama does, I was utterly moved by his recording an It Gets Better video. As I commented when he recorded the video last fall, "How many of us would have felt just a little bit better if we saw a video like this from the president when we were growing up? How many of those who took their lives to escape the pain of being bullied, of being different, of being gay, might have benefited from a message like this from the leader of our country?"
"It's disgusting. And it's part of a concerted effort to persuade kids that homosexuality is okay and to actually recruit them into that 'lifestyle.'"
Maybe George Washington, Ronald Reagan or any other president might never have recorded this type of video. Obviously, that type of hindsight never works. But what I do know is that this president took a stand for equality for all people, something unprecedented. And he should be celebrated for it, not reviled.
I appreciate religious freedom. But no religion should mandate the rules of our country. Nor should those in power be able to stand behind their religion as protection from doing what is fair, what is right.
Being a religious person does not allow you to discriminate or promote hatred, no matter what your religion tells you. If you are a citizen of the United States, you should be entitled to the same rights.
That's the kind of "family" we should support.