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Republicans falling back on religion-based bigotry
Lack of participation in LOGO forum shows insensitivity to equality for all Americans

by Anna Gohmann

‘Republicans must abandon religion-based bigotry.’
— Jimmy Creech
executive director of Faith In America
RALEIGH, N.C. — Jimmy Creech, executive director of Faith In America, a civil rights advocacy organization, said Aug. 16 that the Republican presidential candidates’ refusal to participate in a recent presidential forum is evidence of religion-based bigotry in the Republican Party.
The Visible Vote ’08: A Presidential Forum, held Aug. 8 in Los Angeles, was co-sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and LOGO. It was the first time in American politics that presidential candidates have met to discuss LGBT issues.

“The fact that not one single Republican candidate participated in the forum is unfortunate and telling,” Creech said. “The Republican Party has been hijacked by right-wing groups which hide their politics of fear and division under a religious banner. The consequences have hurt not only lesbian and gay citizens, but American society as a whole. The Republican candidates’

rejection of the forum says they prefer to perpetuate bigotry and discrimination in the name of religion, rather than promote justice and equality in the name of democracy.”

Creech said his organization uses historical precedents of religion-based bigotry, such as the way religious teachings were used to support slavery, racial segregation and gender inequality in this country, to help Americans understand how misguided religious teachings are used in the same way today to justify discrimination against gays and lesbians.

“Most Americans agree it was wrong in the past examples,” Creech said. “Once Americans understand the parallels, they recognize it’s just as wrong today.

“Using religion to justify discrimination not only hurts people, it also hurts American democracy,” Creech said. “Our Constitution says all American citizens are entitled to full and equal rights. To allow the religious beliefs of some people — even of a majority — to deny any group of citizens their rights undermines the Constitution and hurts us all.

“It was clear to me at the HRC/LOGO forum that the Democratic presidential candidates recognize that it’s wrong to use religion to deny any group of citizens full and equal rights, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans,” Creech said. “It’s time the Republican presidential candidates abandon religion-based bigotry if they want to serve democracy and uphold the Constitution for all citizens. The politics of fear and division are neither religious nor patriotic. They offend the sanctity of religion and true American values.”

Faith in America Inc. is a civil rights advocacy organization whose mission is to end legal and spiritual discrimination against LGBT people in America and to gain full and equal rights for those citizens. Faith In America is not a religious organization but works to educate Americans about the harm caused by religion-based bigotry against LGBT individuals. The organization in April announced a series of grassroots campaigns in five cities across America. In June, the organization lead a campaign in Washington, D.C. that included numerous other civil rights advocacy groups in honoring the 40th celebration of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision that struck down all remaining bans on interracial marriage.

info: www.faithinamerica.com

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