As a bisexual man, and a committed Christian, I have significant concerns with House Bill 2. I am deeply concerned when people are discriminated against who have been granted ever-broadening legal and constitutional rights. I am also concerned when political parties make promises and enact legislation which mask a completely separate agenda. Both of those activities may be occurring with HB2.
As Americans, we are guaranteed many freedoms by our Constitution. However, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness will, inevitably, bring different groups into conflict. Individual beliefs and preferences make people who they are, and can t be avoided. What must not be avoided is the rule of law, and the democratic process, which allow us to compromise, and live together, even if we disagree.
When any group chooses to subvert those ideals, for whatever reason, then law and democracy have become prostituted. When our most fundamental institutions are so ignored, a moral trust has been violated, and the legitimacy of the perpetrators must be questioned.
As a member of the LGBT community, it is important for me to pursue the truth of who I am with boldness, but also with sensitivity to the truth of the world around me. When my right to be who I am clashes with someone else s religious rights, which is the case with HB2, the only hope to work through those disparities is within the court system, and open debate and voting through the democratic process.
LGBT rights have made significant and gratifying progress over the last few decades. The U.S. Military now permits LGBT individuals to join any branch of service. The current nominee for Secretary of the Army is gay, and is fully expected to be confirmed. Most notable of all, in this steady march of progress, is the Supreme Court passage of same-sex marriage.
There will always be people who think that homosexuality is wrong. I have no desire to force anyone to change a deeply held belief. What I do expect, and demand, is that rights and privileges that have been given to me by the most authoritative institutions in this country be respected. As a Christian myself, I have come to question what may be a hidden agenda in HB2. A personal experience, for me, of betrayal, may demonstrate how far those in power are willing to go.
I had been a member of one of the largest Evangelical churches in Charlotte for 10 years prior to the 2004 presidential election. The pastor at my church began to promote the Bush Administration’s policies toward the Iraq war, and to demonize liberal support for gay rights, and abortion, exhorting the congregation to save America by denying Democrats the presidency. This message from the pulpit was delivered every week for the whole year leading up to the election. My church had become defacto lobbyists for the Republican Party. I resigned my membership after about six months of listening to what I felt was totally inappropriate behavior by our clergy.
Sadly, after Bush was re-elected, he failed to follow through on promises he had made to the American Church, which is why the churches had advocated so hard for him. Bush s ratings were down because of the unpopularity of the war, and he needed to energize his base. The strategy worked, as the churches turned out the vote.
The pastor at my church published an article in The Charlotte Observer in early 2005, after realizing he had been duped, apologizing, and expressing dismay at the unscrupulous behavior of leaders he had trusted. Bush was given four more years, and a war that had begun under a fog of disinformation, raged on.
This being an election year, I am forced to question what all the motives are behind HB2. Is Governor McCrory really so concerned with protecting religious rights, or like President Bush, is he using the bill to disguise a hidden purpose. With resistance to the bill coming from all over the world, HB2 is now looking ill-conceived, and hastily created, to be rushed through a favorable State Legislature. As a result, the election year timing of HB2 cannot be ignored.