I wrote this because another columnist wrote a homophobic column degrading gays and using religious based bigotry in denouncing hate crimes legislation.
This person is the former owner of an ambulance company and often brings to our attention his ties to the medical field. One might think that he would be aware of, or even seen, victims of hate crimes (beaten and bloodied that he made money off of by transporting them to receive medical care) and that his heart might have been softened a bit.
Apparently not. I'm not going to copy his column here, you will have to find a Western Tribune to read it. Or come over.
He doesn't do any name calling re gays but he falls back on that old tired hateful use of the bible and that classifies as homophobia in my book.
At the end of the column I have inserted a video of the 12th annual Hate Crimes vigil in Montgomery on Sunday, including excerpts of Ox Freeman's moving and powerful speech.
I am also sharing a couple of exclusive photos of the event.
Western Tribune column:
It bothers me a bit when someone claims, for whatever reason, that hate crimes laws are not needed. Maybe they’ve not had a son or daughter or friend attacked because of who they are.
In 2004 Christopher Gaines tightened the rope around 18 year old Scotty Joe Weaver’s neck as he cried in anguish, “Chris, please stop.”
Christopher didn’t stop, in spite of Scotty’s cries. Chris hated gay people so much that he felt it was OK to kill an 18 year old boy, then urinate on the body and set it on fire.
Some claim that homosexuality is a sin, and that the Bible backs them up. Yet Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, instead he preached about heterosexual relationships and divorce. If one really studies the Bible, instead of just memorizing the talking points, they would recognize that the verses that mention same-sex activity are not at all critical of homosexuality as an orientation, but rather against specific immoral acts involving abusive relationships or improper worship.
Yet just last year I saw Christians holding signs that say “sodomites are vile, unnatural and worthy of death,” here in Birmingham. I saw Baptist minister Fred Phelps in town a few years ago holding signs that said “God hates fags.” Phelps was here to protest a memorial for Billy Jack Gaither, another gay man who was murdered and burned in 1999.
When I see Christians actively promoting the death of gay people and others who claim to be Christian looking for reasons not to enact protections against such crimes, I am disheartened.
All crimes are not based on hatred, as some think. A mugger does not attack and kill his random victim because of hatred of the individual he has chosen. But a man who chooses his victim because of his race or his sexual orientation has allowed his hatred to dictate his actions.
Speaker Ox Freeman and Equality Alabama board members at the rally
On Sunday the 12th annual Hate Crimes Vigil took place on the steps of the capitol in Montgomery. The event remembered Scotty Joe Weaver and Billy Jack Gaither and others, and awareness of the need for a state law was raised.
Adam and Steve (yes, God did make them) at the vigil
You may not be gay, but you might have a child or sibling or other relative or a friend who is.
Let’s stop using religious based bigotry that endangers them and pass a state law that helps to protect them.
Here is the video of the event . Thanks Lori!
Here is a documentary about Billy Jack Gaither. There are interviews with family members and there is a homophobia questionnaire that I think some acquaintances of mine need to take.Frontline documentary
The interview with Charles Butler is particularly fascinating, as he speaks about Steve Mullin's likely sexual relationship with Billy Jack, and why he thinks he turned on his friend and killed him.
Such self hatred is very dangerous, and religious based bigotry only fuels the fire.