Alex Blaze

Silencing preachers? Again? Seriously?

Filed By Alex Blaze | June 19, 2007 12:22 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Harry Jackson, High Impact Leadership Council, NAACP

pastorshb.jpgSeveral Black pastors in conjunction with the High Impact Leadership Coalition have put out an ad about how they're opposed to the hate crimes bill currently in Congress. It's the same old argument, that preachers won't be able to speak their mind when it comes to sexuality because the hate crimes bill will silence them, even though the biggest, smartest, and most consistent free speech crazies in the country support this bill.

But an original argument is not what they're after. What they really want is to support the myth that civil rights is a battle between the gays and the Blacks. And when we're playing Blacks vs. gays in this country, there are always the same three big losers:

  1. gays
  2. Blacks
  3. Black gays
The white straights who fund and bait these sorts of projects are the ones who won't be affected, or "win" in their minds, even though I still like to believe that racism and homophobia mean no one wins.

But what this does accomplish is it makes the mostly white AFA and Focus on the Family sorts feel like they are in some way in favor of civil rights. Consider this statement from Harry Jackson of the HILC:

These actions [backing the Matthew Shepard Act] are tantamount to the gay community saying, "Freedom for me, but bondage for you." This attitude is just not consistent with America's ideals.
Doesn't that make it seem like this is a zero-sum game whereby only the gays (he doesn't seem all that concerned with the B or the T, although I'm sure if you asked him...) or only Blacks can get a place at the table.

Also, consider this:

In addition to the damage that gay marriage does to the black family structure that is already under stress, legalization of gay marriage has the potential of endangering the next generation.
We can't all win, we can't all be equal, so might as well sacrifice one group of people. And now this has turned from a cooperative fight for equality to a minority catfight, making it all that much easier for those in power, those who don't have to have laws change and governments move to have access to the right to achieve their full potential so simply ignore it all as whining.

Of course, this message fails when one balances the High Impact Leadership Coalition, whose constituency might one day be big enough to fill up the corner table at Applebee's, with the much larger NAACP, which supports the Matthew Shepard Act. The Act doesn't just add sexual orientation and gender identity to current hate crimes legislation, it expands that legislation to cover more crimes than those committed while the victim was engaged in one of the six protected activities, proving that we are either working together, or we're not working at all.

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Jen Jorczak | June 19, 2007 5:01 PM

ARRRGH. a) How many times do we have to go over the whole "gag rule on the pulpit" fallacy?

b) again, the "blacks v. gays" thing burns me up--as does "blacks v. jews" and "blacks v. hispanics" and so on. Do we all need to watch "Do the right thing" again?

A. J. Lopp | June 19, 2007 7:50 PM

I'm afraid Alex is right, though --- these come-on's are encouraged and funded by the white conservatives, and it's their latest version of the old game, "Let's you and them fight."

P.S. Jen, I get your point ... but the last time I watched "Do The Right Thing" I didn't notice any gays in it. Knowing Spike Lee's politics, it would have been amazing if there had been --- and probably we should be thankful that there weren't.

Lynn David | June 20, 2007 5:21 AM

People For the American Way seems to have HILC pegged as a product of Louis Sheldon of TVC and the GOP.


Jen Jorczak | June 20, 2007 9:11 AM

AJ: You're right, Spike ignores gays. I was extrapolating from the points he did make in the movie. Hopefully he'll do the same someday...

Lynn: Thanks for the PFAW tag--they rock!