There are those who love to play the ‘my oppression was worse than your oppression’ game. In his attacks on LGBT Americans, Reverend William Owens certainly is one of those. Of course, in order to play that game, one has to ignore history. Somewhere, someone has been more oppressed than someone else.
Owens formed the group Coalition of African-American Pastors with the sole reason to attack the NAACP for standing up against oppression and injustice. Owens has vocally attacked President Barack Obama for endorsing marriage equality, and held a press conference yesterday attacking the NAACP for doing the same.
Owens also equates homosexuality with bestiality. He also believes that homosexuality is caused by people being molested. In other words, it isn’t natural. He stated yesterday that “This is supposed to be an organization for black people who were beaten, who were mistreated and who were enslaved. You’re advocating for something that’s not normal, that’s not natural. It’s still out of line, it’s against moral law. Gay marriage is leading us down a bad path. Our young people are already hurt. They’re already damaged.”
Of course, he, like so many, never bother to enumerate how homosexuality damages the youth of today, and ignores that homosexual behaviors exist in nature with surprising regularity. He also ignores the fact that homosexuality, when suppressed or repressed by society, leads to situations like with former Senator Larry Craig, former Representative Mark Foley, or current Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll. Simply, oppressing, suppressing and repressing homosexuality actually leads to immoral behavior.
Of course, then there is the company that Owens keeps. Josh Glasstetter of RightWingWatch notes that:
I wasn’t surprised then, to learn that Owens is affiliated with the National Organization for Marriage, whose internal planning documents talk of the need to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks.” Owens was once a heroic civil rights leader in Nashville, but these days it’s hard to know – apart from NOM – who or what Owens’ constituency is. For instance, Owens is a collecting signatures for an anti-marriage equality pledge at 100000signatures4marriage.com (that’s with a 1 with 5 zeros). But he wrote in a May 31 letter that “over one thousand” people had signed (so close, just 99% more to go!).
Glasstetter also noted that the African Methodist Episcopal Church not only does not side with CAAP, but was upset that Owens also decided to try and link them to his personal crusade. Owens had said that the AMEC and CAAP would call on Black pastors to “withhold support from President Obama because of his ongoing disrespect for the views of many of us in the black church.” Unfortunately for Owens, Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, chair of AME’s Commission on Social Action issued a statement that “contrary to the report, neither the AME Church nor its leadership is involved with or partnering with the Coalition of African-American Pastors.”
During a May press conference attacking President Barack Obama, Owens relied on the usual hate speech saying:
A few months ago, the Commercial Appeal carried an article with a young man’s picture in it. He was charged with having sex with a dog. Now I wonder was that his civil right? Will we go down that road where whatever we choose to do, we’ll call it our civil rights? Well if it’s a civil right for a man to marry man, and a woman to marry woman, what’s the difference of a man deciding he wants to have sex with a dog? […]
When people that you don’t know they’re homosexuals, and they get caught into something, they will tell you it was early childhood that they were molested. Sometimes by a family member, sometimes by their father, or sometimes by a friend. It starts in early childhood. […] Homosexuality spreads because somebody abused children.
As noted before, much of Owens’ speech is similar to the kinds used to oppress and justify the hatred of Blacks in the past, and even the present. Otto Weininger, an Austrian, in 1906 that “A genius has perhaps scarcely ever appeared amongst the negroes, and the standard of their morality is almost universally so low that it is beginning to be acknowledged in America that their emancipation was an act of imprudence.”
And to just be clear, this is not isolated to the Germanic peoples. Scottish philosopher David Hume stated “I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilised nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or in speculation. No ingenious manufacture among them, no arts, no sciences.”
During the 1800’s and right up into the 1960’s, these were common beliefs about Blacks wherever they lived. During the excavations of Great Zimbabwe, the archaeologists were convinced that the local tribal nations could not possibly be responsible for the creation of such a city and worked feverishly trying to find any evidence showing that it was created by someone else. They even theorized that it was created by the Queen of Sheba.
When you justify the hatred of one group, you justify the hatred of all. It matters not what Owens may believe about lesbians and gays, but the fact of the matter is that his justification of his personal hatred of lesbians and gays not only mirrors those who would attack Blacks in this country, but gives those haters carte blanche to justify their hatred.
And what we know is that hatred is the killer of minds, and abhorrent to their God.