Faith-based organizations should be able to operate in a way that is consistent with their missions.
In an op-ed written this week by NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond titled “Religious liberty and inclusion,” he proved, once again, that he and the NAACP are slowly becoming an irrelevant organization that is more focused on a far left political liberal agenda than fighting for racial justice.
In the column, Bond reiterated his belief that the struggle of today’s LGBT community is equal to that of the African-American civil rights movement of the '60s. That comparison is grossly inaccurate on many levels, but that’s not my major concern. He used the column to criticize churches and faith-based organizations for wanting to make hiring decisions that are consistent with their religious beliefs.
Religious liberty is one of the founding principles of this nation, and something that has made America unique, but the NAACP’s sudden embrace of the LGBT agenda in contrast of the Black church is extremely disappointing.
Forcing faith-based organizations who disagree with homosexuality to hire gays and lesbians is like a Catholic Church hiring an atheist priest, or a Temple hiring a Christian Rabbi. Muslim, Christian, Sikh, and Buddhist groups, among others, should all be able to operate their organizations in line with their religious rights. These practices are not discrimination, but rather the carrying out of religious convictions that are consistent with the mission of their church or faith-based organization.
If an atheist applied for a position to teach one of our grade school’s Bible classes, we would not hire that person. We would love that atheist like any member of our church, but that doesn’t mean that we should hire him/her as an employee.
Let me be clear. I love gays and lesbians just as much as I love other Christians. I have gays in my family, and I love them very dearly. God has called Christians to love everyone and show compassion for His creations, no matter if we agree with them or not. But my teachings on marriage and sexuality should be respected just as much as the LGBT community’s beliefs on marriage and sexuality. No politician, poll or law will change my mind or change what the majority of the world’s religions teach on marriage and sexuality. So, we should focus on how we can live together in harmony, rather than force everyone to subscribe to the beliefs of one entity.
I respect Mr. Bond’s experiences. He lived through a violent and racist time that fortunately I never saw. But just because one group feels discriminated against doesn’t mean their discrimination is the same as the ones fought during the African-American civil rights movement.
Sexual orientation and ethnicity are different. And the measure of inequality is very different. The wide-spread government-approved race-based violence and denial of basic human rights, like the use of bathrooms, is not being experienced by the LGBT community. Gays and lesbians aren’t being denied access to the ballot, or access to public schools, or access to hospitals. Gays and lesbians aren’t being beaten in broad daylight, or not able to stay at certain hotels. The two struggles are totally different, and it is offensive to our ancestors to say they are the same.
Please understand this basic principle. Religious liberty doesn’t just mean that people can have certain beliefs. It means that they can actually practice their faith in their everyday life. The LGBT agenda goes beyond procuring rights such as marriage licenses or adoption. The agenda wishes to force everyone to publicly approve of their lifestyle or else be punished. This is not tolerance or inclusion. True tolerance means that everyone has the right to peacefully practice their faith, even as others disagree.
Maina Mwaura is a registered Democrat and Pastor at Greenforest Community Church in the Atlanta area.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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