They say they love us, but their words get in the way.
Commentary by Bob Vitale
One by one they walked up to the microphone at City Hall in South Euclid. They stood before the mayor, city clerk, city attorney and seven City Council members to share their thoughts about a proposal to outlaw discrimination based on someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
“I can speak truthfully and say I love everyone in this room,” the second speaker of the night said.
You know what usually comes next after introductory disclaimers like that.
“But it’s about right and wrong, and you can’t make rights out of wrongs,” he continued.
“I think it’s great that people shouldn’t be discriminated against,” the next man said.
But here comes the but…
“I don’t want their belief system being imposed on my children.”
It continued on and on that April night in South Euclid, as it went on and on in so many other communities where LGBTQ civil rights have been up for discussion. It goes on that way at the Ohio Statehouse and in Gov. John Kasich’s office, in the offices of the Family Research Council and the Christian Broadcasting Network, the U.S. Department of Education and the Oval Office.
“There’s a certain freedom we all should feel right now in seeing the moral acrobatics of those who’ve demonized us for years as perverted, predatory monsters.”
“Tolerance is important,” another speaker acknowledged in South Euclid. But he said a nondiscrimination ordinance “isn’t in the common good.”
“Everybody has a right to work,” someone else said right before her big but was followed by how she opposed a law guaranteeing the right to work for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ.
The only person who didn’t profess love and peace and goodwill for all on the night South Euclid became the latest Ohio city to enact a nondiscrimination law was the priest from Sacred Heart of Jesus, a beautiful Catholic church right down Green Street a block or two from City Hall.
The South Euclid City Council approved an ordinance that began by stating how the city “benefits from a diverse, open and inclusive community.” It continued with the wish that “no person should live in fear of discrimination.”
It vowed that city leaders are “committed to fostering an environment that is welcoming to people of all races, backgrounds, beliefs and identities.”
Father Dave Ireland didn’t acknowledge any of that foofaraw. He told city officials that he had been a proud resident of South Euclid for 13 years—”up until now.”
These last 18 months haven’t been easy on those of us whose wishes for justice and acceptance aren’t immediately followed by statements of belief in the exact opposite. But there’s a certain freedom we all should feel right now in seeing the moral acrobatics of those who’ve demonized us for years as perverted, predatory monsters.
The president they elected—and a Pew Research poll in March showed 78 percent of white evangelical Christians still support Donald Trump—has been accused of an extramarital affair with a porn star and paying her off to shut up about it.
A self-righteous U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama was accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl in the 1970s. A married Pennsylvania congressman voted to restrict abortion rights on the same day news broke that he urged his girlfriend to get one.
“I have a very simple admonition at this point,” former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said earlier this year of those who are having a hard time reading their moral compass these days. “Just shut the hell up and don’t ever preach to me about anything ever again. I don’t want to hear it.”
I can say without hesitation that I love everyone who passes judgment on LGBTQ people.