We Owe Our Youth More Than Condemnation For Their Sexuality

Over the past few weeks, five young gay people have taken their own lives. Campus Pride, an organization that promotes LGBT rights on college and university campuses across the country issued the following statement”

“…the recent pattern of LGBT youth suicides is cause for grave concern. Campus Pride demands national action be taken to address youth bullying, harassment and the need for safety and inclusion for LGBT youth at colleges and universities across the country. We must not let these tragic deaths go unnoticed. Together we must act decisively to curb anti-LGBT bias incidents, harassment and acts of violence. “

Our young people have a difficult enough time trying to cope with the stress of college and of being out in the world on their own without also being ostracized by many of their peers and, worse, fearing for their very safety

Societies seem to have a habit of needing something to fear. Much of this fear is irrational and is often justified by religious beliefs. Many of these people merely give lip service to the oft repeated phrase, “Hate the sin, love the sinner”, when the fact is, the “sinner” is ostracized, ridiculed, threatened with violence and in some cases physically harassed or attacked. Before the current wave of homophobia, it was (and often still is) Muslims; before that it was communists; before that, Nazis and the Japanese; further back it was anarchists, blacks, masons, mormons, witches, jews.

The thing that almost all of the bigotry and hatred of these various groups had in common was either a religiously or a nationalistic and patriotically justified fear. And in America, patriotism and religion are virtually inseparable.

As long as we allow ourselves to use religion and patriotic nationalism to justify bigotry and hate, innocent people will die, either by their own hands or by others. Every time someone is ridiculed, ostracized, threatened, attacked or has their rights infringed upon, we, as a society are weakened and lessened. Our supposed moral superiority is undermined and made laughable by our acceptance of bigotry and hatred.

Every person has inalienable rights and none of us has a right to infringe upon those rights just because we don’t agree with their choices or lifestyles. Our thoughts, desires, feelings, hopes and the way we live our lives are ours and ours alone except if we pose a danger to others or attempt to infringe upon the rights of others.

We must demand that the rights of all be respected. To do any less is an affront to our very humanity.

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