We spent the last few days in Charleston, South Carolina. I didn’t know this, but it is where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.
One of the places we visited was the Middleton Plantation. It’s a beautiful house with beautiful gardens. We toured the house and the much of the garden and took a “slavery” tour. Our guide was wonderful and talked to us about the conditions at the plantation and the work the slaves did.
It got me thinking about what racism and homophobia have in common. I’m not suggesting that homophobia is the same as slavery. One cannot compare anything to the horrific circumstances of slavery.
For many years, slavery was justified by the bible. In this article from Time Magazine, one thing cited is this:
“The rest of the Old Testament was often mined by pro-slavery polemicists for examples proving that slavery was common among the Israelites. The New Testament was largely ignored, except in the negative sense of pointing out that nowhere did Jesus condemn slavery, although the story of Philemon, the runaway who St. Paul returned to his master, was often quoted. It was also generally accepted that the Latin word servus, usually translated as servant, really meant slave.”
Segregationists used the bible to justify segregation. There are so many ways the bible has been used to justify prejudice and bigotry.
Today, the bible is used to justify homophobia. It’s being called religious freedom and many find it perfectly acceptable to use their faith as a reason to discriminate against gay and transgender people. They happily quote the passages in the bible they believe proves them right.
We’ve come a long way since the days of slavery and there is still much to do to ensure freedom and opportunity for all our citizens. Discrimination is never right and it is never right to deny anyone based on race, religion, physical disability, age, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. We are better than that.