13 November 2008

When is "enough" just too far?

This past week I've had several conversations with a younger friend of mine, Matthew. He expressed his deep concern and his uncomfortableness with how some people who supported the "yes" campaign are being treated by the community. Matthew is right to be both concerned and uncomfortable.

Two people in particular were singled out that really bothers him. The first is a restaurant owner in the greater Los Angles area who gave a paltry $100 to the yes campaign after being told to donate by her LDS elders. The outcry was so bad in her case that she invited the entire GLBT community to her restaurnat for a free lunch so she could talk with them face-to-face and express how bad she felt and to try to assure them she is not against civil rights for the gay community.

Many of us have been following the story of the other person singled out -- the artistic director of a theatre in Sacramento. He is a member of the CJCLDS and he donated $1,000 to the "yes" campaign as his church "urged" him to do.

The backlash was astounding. Playwrights withdrew their permission for the theatre to perform their works; a "prominent" lesbian actress declared she would boycott working in the theatre; and she convinced many other actors to do the same.

Because of this, Monday the director issued an apology. Tuesday he "resigned." It does not take a genius to know the resignation was not his idea but an agreed upon face saving action by the theatre owners to save their wallets.

What I am going to say is going to be unpopular. This has gone too far: it is McCarthyism and it's just plain wrong. The man is being persecuted for his religious conviction. His employment was terminated because of his religious and political activity. What has happened in this instance is just as wrong as the removal of GLBT civil rights on 4th November. Whether we like it or not, he has the right to his opinions.

I support boycotts of companies who gave obscene amounts of money to the yes campaign, but I do not support causing a person to lose his livelihood for his religious views and his political donation.

This is beneath our dignity as a community; we are better than that. This is beneath our dignity as people of faith.

We are better than this, my friends. The GLBT community should stand to defend his rights just as we stand up for our GLBT rights. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Pray for this man, friends. And pray that the GLBT community finds its centre and moves away from the very bigotry it decries.