Ministerial Musings: No More
I am disgusted. This is the headline that greeted me when I turned on my computer this morning: “8 Men Arraigned in NYC Anti-Gay Beating Case.” Alleged members of the Latin King Goonies Gang heard that one of their new recruits, a teenage boy, was gay. In the early hours of Friday, October 3, they lured the young man to a vacant apartment and then they “stripped and beat him and sodomized him with a plunger handle until he confessed to having had sex with a man” (AP News). The gang tortured a second teen they believed was a homosexual as well. “They also invited the man the first teen had admitted having sex with to a house, telling him they were having a party…When he arrived, five of them burned, beat and tortured him for hours” (AP News).
I do not know what is more revolting — that three individuals endured such horrific abuse or that others found such joy in inflicting it upon them? What is most upsetting is that such hate crimes do not receive more attention in the media nor do they seem to distress people to the extent that similar crimes, perpetrated against a different group of marginalized folks, do.
I am also upset that such hate is often fueled by the institution for which I work: the Christian church. Of course, not all denominations, churches, or Christians for that matter promote the degradation of those within the LGBT community, but there is a stigma in society that those who are Christians believe that homosexuality is a sin at best and that gays and lesbians are an “abomination to God” at worst.
It is time to take a stand. It is time to say NO MORE with a loud voice. It is time to let the LGBT community know that such crimes will not be tolerated. It is time for the church to stand hand-in-hand and say that not only is homosexuality not a sin, but that violent crimes committed against gays and lesbians, because of their sexual orientation, is assault against all of humanity.
I say this not just on behalf of the three men recently attacked by the Latin King Goonies Gang, but also on behalf of Tyler Clementi, Matthew Shepard, and countless other known and anonymous victims of bullying and gay bashing.
We will hold a candlelight vigil at Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ on Saturday, November 13th at 7:00 pm in honor of the victims of such hate crimes and we will provide the community with information about safe places and resources available for LGBT folks. For more information, contact me at (216) 861-7388 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let your voice be heard. Join me in saying, “NO MORE!”
John Tamilio III, the Senior Pastor of Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, is finishing his Ph.D. in theology at Boston University. A resident of Lakewood, John is the Religion Columnist for The Lakewood Observer.