FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22nd, 2007
A response to recent remarks made against the Fort Lauderdale Gay Community (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/broward/sfl-821naugle,0,1222411.story?page=1)
Homophobia is not Love
by the Reverend Durrell Watkins, M.A., M.Div.
We read in the Christian bible “Slaves obey your masters…” and “Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.” I do not believe that either of these biblical passages justifies the evils of slavery or misogyny, and I do not believe that finding these sentences in the bible “proves” that God condoned slavery or that God privileges men over women. In my theology, any text that dehumanizes people cannot stand alone as if it were a message from on High to be uncritically embraced. Similarly, when the bible is quoted to promote prejudice against gay and lesbian people, I must object.
The mayor of Fort Lauderdale continues his anti-gay verbal assaults. But what concerns me even more is that religious leaders are suggesting that the mayor is somehow speaking for God! It’s an age-old trick for a group to say that their enemies are also God’s enemies, but I hope in the 21st century none of us will fall for that anymore.
Those who dare to suggest that God shares their homophobic prejudices claim they are motivated by love. The targets of their inflammatory speech, however, probably disagree. You see, you can’t judge me to be a sinner and then claim to love me. You can’t use language that dehumanizes me and claim it is for my good. As the saying goes, “Please don’t spit on my boots and call it rain.” There may be a lot in this world I don’t know, but the difference between being loved and being condemned is easy enough to figure out.
Those who are spewing the homophobic rhetoric lately may believe they are right, and they are certainly entitled to their opinions, but they can’t believe that what they are doing is kind or loving. You see, according to the very bible they use to justify their anti-gay rhetoric, “Love is patient and kind…[and] never rude…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
Let’s be clear - the venom being spewed at the gay community in Fort Lauderdale is not about love, righteousness, or even public safety. The recent attacks are just what they appear to be: unkind, prejudicial, divisive remarks meant to justify homophobia; and homophobia is not love.
[Rev. Durrell Watkins is the Canon Precentor and Canon Pastor-elect of Sunshine Cathedral MCC in Fort Lauderdale. He is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City and is in the doctoral program at the Episcopal Divinity School.]
Rev. Canon Durrell Watkins, M.A., M.Div.