Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bigots in the Bluegrass

There is a restaurant in Lebanon, Kentucky which is refusing to allow LGBT people to patronize it.  Will not allow them in the place.  Will not serve them.  I have never been refused service in a restaurant, but Laura has.  She and a friend sat for a long time in a Tennessee restaurant and were never waited on.  They were invisible to the servers and the management alike.

It's really incredible that such a thing could happen in 2009, but it still does.   It's hard to believe such ignorance could still exist, but it does.  It's hard to believe such hatred could still exists but it does.  And it is largely a product of religion.  It is founded on religion, fed by religion and encouraged by religion.  It is perpetuated every Sunday morning from pulpits across the country.  It is also spread by politicians who use hatred as a means of and getting money and votes.   Both the preachers and the pols spread lies so foul it's hard to imagine anyone conceiving such filth.  I have heard it myself from the mouths of innocent-looking little old ladies and clean-scrubbed looking young men, and if I hadn't heard it, I would never have believed it was possible for people to come up with such stuff.  

Actions like this Kentucky restaurant refusing to serve gays are a direct result of this disinformation.  No doubt the owners consider themselves to be exemplary Christians.  I'm not so sure Jesus would agree...

People die because of this kind of toxic rhetoric, usually by being beaten to death.  The people spewing it also claim it is their right to freedom of speech and religion and whatever else.  I want people to consider that free speech also requires responsibility.  Freedoms require us to be answerable for them.  My right to free speech ends when it endangers your life.  The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable and trump my right to trash you every time. 

It is time for people to begin acting like grownups.  No, it is time for people to BE grownups.  Words have enormous power.  So much hate speech is being spewed these days, is being encouraged by media personalities, by wacky politicians out to get attention, by angry, fearful, hateful people who are terrified that things have changed and times are changing.  It's time to tone down the rhetoric, do some self-examen and speak with charity.  Bring back good manners.

That Sodom and Gomorrah story on which the gay hater restauranteurs are probably basing their behavior has quite a different meaning than the one they are giving it.  Those towns were not destroyed because there were homosexuals there.  They were destroyed because of what was NOT there: hospitality.  It was the sin of inhospitality to strangers that caused their destruction -- the same one they are committing by excluding gays.

photo credit: New York Times (deli pictured is NOT the one excluding gays.) 

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