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Prejudice is Wrong, No Matter Who it Targets September 1, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in communities of color, lgbt Issues.

Bishop Harry Jackson, Chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, wrote a USA Today op-ed criticizing an earlier column that argued same-sex marriage is a civil right. Here is what Bishop Jackson had to say:

Sheryl McCarthy’s recent commentary grossly misrepresented what many African-Americans think about gay marriage. In fact, it presented people like me as anti-gay bigots. Nothing could be further from the truth…

In addition, her projection that the black struggle and the gay struggle are similar is laughable. The persecution of gays in the USA has never been as violent or as long-standing as the black struggle. Prejudice against gays and lesbians is real, but most of them struggle because of personal choices and preferences. In contrast, blacks historically coped with an entire national economy that attempted to justify its immoral gain by dehumanizing the black community.

McCarthy’s mischaracterizations are not only an insult to African-Americans and Christians, they are also an insult to what our civil rights leaders have fought to achieve.

Bishop Jackson is correct on one point: African Americans have faced much more prejudice, oppression and violence than any other minority group in America, including gays and lesbians. However, his acknowledgement of prejudice against gays and lesbians and his ignorant “blame it on the victim” response is the classic scapegoat for prejudice.

Jackson claims gays and lesbians face harassment and violence because of “personal choices and preferences”. The vast majority of honest research shows sexual orientation is not a choice and that gays and lesbians cannot change their attractions. But Bishop Jackson, who likely does not know gay people and has relied on his religious beliefs instead of science, somehow believes he is qualified to say otherwise. The reality, however, is that gays and lesbians face prejudice because of who they are, not because of “personal choices”.

For the sake of argument… even if sexual orientation was a choice, would people really deserve to face harassment and violence for it? Religion is a choice… should we allow discrimination and harassment based on religious beliefs because it is someone’s “personal choice”? I would say no, and I am guessing Bishop Jackson would agree.

Bishop Jackson’s bigotted beliefs are the ones insulting to civil rights leaders of the past. That is why African American civil rights heroes like Coretta Scott King supported marriage equality… she knew everyone deserves equal rights and equal opportunity to live a happy life.



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