JIM O’HANLON: And why do we even care what the Bible says, these stories from thousands of years ago? If you look at our society, we’ve made so much progress just in this generation, in terms of our understanding of homosexuality.
The medical community, just a generation ago, was describing homosexuality as a disorder. They’ve rewritten those manuals to no longer describe homosexuality as a disorder.
Now, it’s one of a different range of sexualities. Legally and politically, we’ve come so far. Just in the past couple of decades, just in this time now, just in the lifetime of these high school students, the Supreme Court has overturned laws that were against sodomy, the Supreme Court’s said there’s marriage equality.
Why would we go back thousands of years, tens of thousands of years, when we’ve made so much progress just in the recent time in our understanding of human sexuality? The reason is because people still continue to base their values and their morality on these old scriptures.
People still look to their religious traditions and to the understandings they get from these religious traditions, they continue to undergird, they continue to be the foundation of our science, of our laws.
So we need to understand what are the beliefs and values that people are coming with. And we see there are still people whose beliefs and values lead them to discriminate.
This congressman who stood on the floor of the House of Representatives last month doesn’t want people talking about equality for same-sex couples. He doesn’t want people talking about gender identity as something that can be defined different from biological gender. And he wants to use the Bible because he believes he can use that to push across his point and tell people that they can’t argue with that.
We need to be looking at the Bible and understanding the values and the morality that people should be getting from it, because people continue to discriminate and people even continue to use violence. We see gay and lesbian and transgender and homosexual people, young people, high school people, continuing to be discriminated against, harassed, ridiculed, tormented.
We continue to see stories like Tyler Clementi, 18 years old. Just back in 2003, his roommate thought it would be fun to videotape him having an intimate moment. He ended up taking his own life.
And there are many stories like this, so that’s why this is important. In Greenwich Village, just in 2013, a man went around, harassing people, giving people a hard time because he thought they were gay or lesbian, confronting them and tormenting them.
Finally, he goes up to one man and starts to interact and to have an altercation with him, until he finally takes out a gun and shoots him. Mark Carson, 32 years old, killed because he was gay, walking in Greenwich Village, just a few blocks away from the Stonewall Inn, where the modern Gay Rights Movement began.
That’s why these scriptures matter, and that’s why it matters that we look at them and that’s why it matters that we take them seriously.
We take these stories seriously, and we take the lessons that we draw from them seriously. We see the story of Lot, a man who stands against an entire city that believes that they can discriminate against people because they’re outsiders. He stands against them for their discrimination, he stands against them because of their violence, because they want to violate these people sexually, and we see this as a very serious story for us, that we can learn from today.
And that’s why we stand here today, saying that we believe that being gay is not a sin. Period.