Last week, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a declaration that they would be boycotting the Disney Corporation, and affiliates such as ABC, because they provide benefits to partners of their gay employees. Such a declaration has not gone unnoticed. Some ministers are encouraging their parishioners to participate in the boycott; some are remaining mum on the subject; there are, theoretically, a few who might speak out on it.

This all seems kind of familiar. Ostracize a group... Condemn them in public... Chastise and boycott those who are friendly to them...

I know where I've heard this before! Germany in the 1930s. I suppose mandatory "treatment camps" are the next logical step, run by cheerful, smiling people who sleep well at night with the reassurance that God is on their side.

If I had paid enough attention to this issue, I might have written to some of the major newspapers around me on this issue. My letter would be something like this:
I'm not quite as adverse to Christianity as that letter would make me sound -- that's a rhetorical exaggeration -- but I do find fundamentalism distasteful. I have, generally, no respect for the Southern Baptist Convention. Some of my closest and dearest friends are Baptist, but I would consider their virtues to exist despite their religious affiliation, rather than due to it.

To my mind, the SBC is one of the most contemptible religious institutions to ever arise. They broke from the American Baptist denomination at the time of the Civil War because of their belief that slavery was sanctioned by God. Is it any surprise that a group founded on prejudice, formed to "keep the niggers in their place," is even today a bastion of narrow-minded bigotry?

This boycott is perfectly in keeping with the tradition of hatred perpetuated by the denomination. They were forged in the oppression of blacks, and they resisted the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Today, SBC members oppose science education in schools (evolution). Some even carry "AIDS kills fags dead" signs at the funerals of AIDS victims.

My disagreements with their ideology aside, that's rude, tacky and hurtful. Dare I say it?, that is evil itself.

The Bible that the SBC claims as its authority says that you will know a person's character by his or her deeds. People who would perform actions such as these are much more harmful to the common good than homosexuals or African-Americans or whatever religious groups are their scapegoats for the day.

Although their moral character is above such actions, I would almost like to open my newspaper and see a full-page ad with the headline "We won't tell you where to go on vacation, which stores to visit, or what television channels to watch," signed by the groups represented in truly benevolent groups such as those represented in the Interfaith Alliance.

There are religious groups who are out to help society. Groups that allow their members to think for themselves include my church, the Unitarian Universalists, the first religious group to reach out to AIDS patients; Episcopalians, one of the first groups to welcome lesbigay parishioners and the first Christian church in the U.S. to ordain women, whose leadership recently decreed that it was acceptable to ordain non-celibate gays and lesbians to the priesthood; the Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians, all to some extent active in involving women and lesbigays in the ministry.

The Disciples of Christ, American Baptists and the United Church of Christ are liberal-friendly. Outside Christianity, many Jews, Buddhists, and self-proclaimed Pagans are also active in putting a productive influence on society, instead of trying to tear us apart.

There are religious groups that can have a positive effect on society. The Southern Baptist Convention will have some supporters, no doubt; I'm sure the Pentecostals will join them, for instance. But those who stand apart from the easy course of bigotry will show themselves to have a much more valid claim towards goodness and the grace of God, if such a being can be said to exist, and if S/He is the being of love so many espouse.

And, hopefully, this boycott will eventually serve to discredit those unpleasant little hypocrites who wrote, voted for and will perpetuate it.

Thanks to Elizabeth Donald for the info on the Episcopal decision that ordaining lesbigays was not against a Bishop's vows.

God Is Dead -- Now What?

The Human Rights Campaign

The Internet Infidels' Secular Web


Turn OUT

The Unitarian Universalist Association