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Friday, April 17, 2009

An open letter to Glenn Beck from Faith In America

Dear Glenn,

On a recent segment on marriage equality in which you appeared with commentator Meghan Kelly, you stated you believe marriage equality is about going into schools and churches with a message that "gay marriage" is OK.

If you believe there is something which makes a gay American undeserving or unworthy of enjoying a lifelong relationship with someone they choose to spend their life with, we would expect that you would want to instill such prejudice in places of education and places of worship.

And the semantics of civil union versus marriage does not apply to your position. Whether same-sex parents of a child who visit their child's class are united in a civil union or marriage, their child's classmates will not compute the difference in their minds. Whether a same-sex couple who visits their parents' church for Easter services are there as a couple united in civil union or marriage, the other church congregants would not know if they were united in Oregan or married in Iowa.

The question here, Glenn, is what response do you expect from your child when a same-sex couple joins their child for lunch at your child's school? What is the response you want you child to have when a same-sex couple joins their parents for a service at your church?

Do you want your child to look upon them with an attitude of rejection and moral condemnation?

If you want your child to look upon gay Americans as equal in every sense, then you are correct – marriage equality is about going into churches with the message that gay marriage is OK.

If you go into schools with a message that marriage equality is not OK, you are promoting a message of exclusion, prejudice and discrimination. But worse, you are promoting a societal climate that makes gay youth believe they're better dead than to grow up gay in America.

The pain and trauma that brings a young person to such a terrible conclusion early in their life is inflicted upon them within many facets of the society in which they live – their own families, their peers, their teachers, their elected officials and even their pastors.

These words were shared with Faith In America in an April 17, 2009 email from a college student in Charleston, S.C.:

"When I was 16 I began contemplating suicide, I thought it was the only way to make the pain stop, I told myself that if I killed myself to stop a life of homosexuality then it wasn't wrong. I researched a pill cocktail that would have killed me in my sleep, I stood in the garage several times with a knife to my wrist, I thought about running off a bridge in my car everytime I went for a ride. When some suicidal pictures I had drawn surfaced at my art school the guidance counselor informed my parents. I hated her at the time, but now that I reflect on it, her bringing to light my self-destructive behavior probably saved my life."

It can no longer be acceptable to discuss the rejection, condemnation and discrimination as the problem. It is imperative that the new conversations must focus on the underlying motivators of the oppression. It is equally imperative that religious belief be identified as a prime motivator behind the prejudicial and discriminatory attitudes found within all facets of American society.

So yes, Glenn, these conversations must take place in our schools and our churches.

The lives of precious young children depend upon it.

P.S. We also agree with Meghan Kelly in her position that President Obama in his heart is for marriage equality...because we seriously doubt he wants his daughters to look upon gay Americans as unworthy or undeserving of the same rights and privileges he and Michelle enjoy.

Brent Childers
Executive Director
Faith In America

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