I viewed with jubilation the August first marriage celebrations of dozens of Minnesotan same-sex couples. It would be nice to believe the fight’s been won for equality, but disturbing news from around the country belie this wish. Not just for same-sex couples, but people of color and different (non-Christian) religions.
Ron McCoy and Chris Bowers flew in to Albuquerque two days after SCOTUS’s rulings for that city’s GLBT PrideFest. When the shuttle driver spotted them holding hands he said, McCoy told station KRQE, “Okay, if you’re going to do that, you’re going to the back of the bus.”
Back-of-the-bus thinking is alive and well, and not limited to the deep South or Southwest. On August 8, the vandals drew a swastika and wrote, “die n—-r,” and “Hitler” on the statue of Jackie Robinson outside New York’s Brooklyn Cyclones stadium. Robinson made history in 1947, joining the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first African-American in major league baseball.
When Reza Aslan was interviewed on Fox News, concerning his new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, host Lauren Green could get no further than questioning the suitability of a Muslim to write about things Christian. Aslan came to the United States from Tehran with his family in 1949, holds a BA in religions from Santa Clara University and an MTS from Harvard Divinity School.
We’re not perfect here, but we do work to redress wrongs. An Albuquerque airport spokesman declared, “First and foremost, it is absolutely unacceptable… [the driver’s employer] acknowledged this was a mistake on the part of the driver.” The Daily News has offered a reward in the Robinson case, and Aslan’s Fox interview went viral on the Internet titled, “The Most Embarrassing Interview You’ve Seen On Fox News.”
Very different from the hate unleashed by Russian President Vladimir Putin through new, draconian laws against GLBT individuals. Gay-bashing is tacitly condoned: A teen was recently tortured and filmed–and later died. If the Winter Olympics are held in Sochi, suspected gays–athletes, supporters, and visitors from around the world will have reason to fear reprisals.
When I get discouraged about our own failures, I remind myself that in the main,we are striving to build up, to better; not tear down.