Well, I was hoping it would be at least a decade before Anchorage revisited the hate-mongering politics against our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Sadly, it's come sooner. Anchorage voters are asked once again to declare if they are homophobic or not on the upcoming ballot. Should we have cops at public bathrooms to ask for people's birth certificates, so they can determine if the declared sex lines up with a matching genital inspection? Side note, who wants that job? (And if they do want it they probably shouldn't get it.)
A few years ago I witnessed something remarkable during Assembly testimony about Ordinance 64. We had a silly document, and a summer of people wearing red shirts being bused in from the Valley to recite Bible verses in support of the right to evict or fire people based on their gayness.
A man, a real man's man, wearing Carhartts and work boots stood along the wall. He was pretty expressionless. He'd been to all the meetings. His son was with him. His son was gay. They didn't chat much, they just watched. Sometimes it's just the showing up that matters.
A red-shirted African-American man strode forth and gave his three minutes of why gays should not be afforded the same rights as other Americans. When he was done, he walked past the man in Carhartts. "I marched for your rights when I was in college," the father told him.
The man stopped. It was tense. "I marched for your rights so you could come here and try to take away my son's."
Well, I had wet eyes. The red-shirted man marched his bigotry on by and someone else took the podium to use the same Bible verses that were used to discriminate against people of color during the Civil Rights movement.
This week, Rev. Undra Parker, pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Anchorage, tried to do the same thing. He wrote, "On the issue of civil rights and the LGBT community; as proud African-Americans, we are horrified that anyone would equate civil rights with the choice of self-gender identifying."
Well, here's a shocker for Mr. Parker. Some of the most famous transgender people in the country are also people of color. The population most at risk for violence in this country are transgendered minorities. I guess that's part of God's will or something in Parker's book, but it isn't in mine.
He went on, "LGBT advocates are not the "oppressed people" of today, and they are not the inheritors of the civil rights movement." Really? Humanity inherits the civil rights movement. It is earned by like-minded hearts and souls, not matching skin tones.
Mr. Parker had half his church and other local pastors sign his letter to the editor after listing lots of Bible verses. Funny thing, he’s not trying to shut down tattoo parlors or crab feeds. He’s not calling for divorced people to have to wait to use a bathroom until they get home — or be stoned. He hasn’t called for football to be banned because touching the skin of a pig on the Sabbath is a sin. Has his church banned the wearing of two different types of fabric to their Sunday sit-downs? Have they called out the mighty Matanuska Valley farmers for planting crops side by side? See, these are all against the rules in the great book Mr. Parker uses to drum up fear and loathing for a group of Alaskans he doesn’t think deserve respect.
Here's a suggestion for those waving their faith around like a baseball bat, looking for an easy landing. For all those Bible rules you choose to ignore or inflate: the command to love the poor, sick and downtrodden wasn't subtle. We have an opioid crisis that won't be solved by taking aspirin and toughing it out. There are homeless and destitute and heartbroken everywhere. They aren't unicorns that you'll never find — just look out your car window at intersections. We live in so much turmoil and uncertainty that you don't have have to invent stress for any of us. How many hot meals or warm socks could you have bought for the needy with your shoddy ad campaign for a nonexistent problem?
People are worried about how to get through their day to day lives and you are worried about who pees where. Shame on you. There's real work to be done.
Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster.
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