Monday, October 18, 2010

Religious Leaders on Links Between Religion and Bullying of Gay Teens: Gene Robinson and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Speak Out

Bishop Gene Robinson tells it like it is, re: the bullying of gay teens that is leading to suicide: it's undeniably rooted in (even when this is not the sole explanatory factor) religious attitudes and religious rhetoric; and the silence of people of faith of the center in the face of the hateful bigotry of many people of faith of the right is part of the problem.

Robinson writes,

These bullying behaviors would not exist without the undergirding and the patina of respect provided by religious fervor against LGBT people. It's time for "tolerant" religious people to acknowledge the straight line between the official anti-gay theologies of their denominations and the deaths of these young people. Nothing short of changing our theology of human sexuality will save these young and precious lives.

And Rabbi Shmuley Boteach speaks out against the strange obsession many people of faith have with condemning their brothers and sisters who are gay, as if their "sin" trumps all sin in the world, when the weight of the Jewish and Christian scriptures lies so strongly on the side of love, justice, and mercy--not condemnation:

I have countless gay friends whose greatest fear, like so many straight people, is to end up alone. Should we merely throw the book at these people? Does not the same Bible also say, "It is not good for man to be alone?" And all I'm asking from my religious brethren is this: even as you oppose gay relationships because of your beliefs, please, for the love of G-d, be tortured by your opposition. Understand that when our most deeply held beliefs conflicts with our basic humanity, we should feel the tragedy of the conflict, rather than simply find convenient scapegoats upon whom to blame all of America's ills.
The graphic is from the Tea Party Jesus website, citing Rev. Pat Robertson re: the 9/11 attacks.

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