Sunday, August 1, 2010

Why LGBT Political Equality Sells Us Short

I have been writing lately in great detail about the phenomena of fundamentalism in the United States today. Though fundamentalism could be construed in many religious forms, I have opted to address it mainly within the American context of Evangelical Christianity. Also, as most of my readers know, i have taken the issue of gay marriage and put it within this context of religious fundamentalism as well.

Over the next few months I will continue this shift in focus, since religion, politics, and gay rights fascinate me. Thus, you will be seeing at least a few thought provoking articles on this blog every week. And as always, comments are welcome and appreciated!!

Today, I was thinking about  the idea of inclusion for LGBT people. When are we truly equal within society? Some of my brethren in the fight for equality will say that political inclusion - such as marriage rights, or adoption rights, etc. - should be the extent of our crusade for acceptance within the greater realm of our culture. Yet, I believe that those who fight for full political inclusion and stop there are very short-sighted when it comes to the ideals of equality. I don't mean this in the negative sense, for their drive and commitment for full LGBT legal equality is very admirable and should be applauded, but instead when I say this I mean that they are selling themselves short.

As I like to tell my husband, there are two things that capture the hearts and minds of men like nothing else; Religion and Politics. In my estimation, because LGBT people have been hurt so much by the former, we focus our efforts almost exclusively on the latter and ignore or revile the former.  Yet we are selling ourselves short by only attempting to have "political equality", for we must also have as much passion and dedication in achieving religious inclusion of LGBT people. We must raise up LGBT leaders within theology so that they might start framing the debate on religion and sexuality!! The LGBT political movement, though admirable and necessary, fails to recognize that religion does play a large role in society and influences many. Religious and Political equality walk hand in hand, for if we don't get the former, we will always have to fight for the latter. Those who are within Religion are powerful influences on the State, as my series on fundamentalism has been showing; thus in order to guarantee that there is no reversal of rights in the future, we must demand full inclusion within Religion as well.

We have the ability to achieve full inclusion if we want it. No longer must we relegate ourselves to the partial secular inclusion of politics, We have the ability right now to raise up a movement of LGBT people within religion; we must not back down against religious oppression, just as those who fight for political equality don't back down against legal oppression. But as long as we are a small movement, as long as we are "in the closet in the church", we will not achieve this full inclusion. As long as we allow the theological debate to be controlled by those who have animus towards us, who don't understand LGBT people, we will be shut down in our places of worship. And as long as we don't speak up with the truth when those who are against us say such condescending things like "love the sinner hate the sin", we will forever be unequal. That my friends has got to change. So long as we fight for our political equality, we must not stop there, for we must also fight for our religious equality too. Only then will we be truly equal.

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