Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An Open Letter To Tony Perkins: Why I Celebrate Gay Pride Month And Not Self-Righteous Pride Minute

The month of June is Gay Pride Month. Now, I have not yet seen where they have declared Adultery Pride Month, I have not seen where they have declared the Drunkenness Pride Month.
- Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, in response to a caller on American Family Association radio.
To: Mr. Tony Perkins
From: Rev. Dan Vojir

Dear Mr. Perkins:

For twenty years, you and the Family Research Council have demonized the LGBT community, comparing homosexuals to drunkards, adulterers, drug addicts, child molesters and even Nazis.

Where is your pride? What's more: do you celebrate it?

I know where my pride is:

It is in the courage of the hosts who overcame the prejudice instilled by fear-mongering and righteous arrogance.

It is in the creativity of people who gave us quilts and red ribbons to instill compassion and courage against hatred and bigotry.

It is in the audacity of people who loved each other openly, thereby creating more love for fellow man.

It is in the beauty of people who had a higher percentage of caregivers than your "righteous" families.

It is in the vitality of people who kept fighting for the civil rights of themselves and others.

It is in the humanity of the thousands of people who gave enormous compassion to those AIDS victims whom you unceremoniously evicted from their homes, while they were sick and dying,  during the worst epidemic our country has ever seen.

And it is now in the President who came to terms with his own conscience and declared that love for one another is a human right, one that should be celebrated and not be restricted by laws.

Mr. Perkins, you demonize the people and the celebration of all these things because you cannot believe that people can be good without your distinct imprimatur, masking it, of course, as "God's will". But in what love, compassion, and humanity you demonize and hold in contempt, I and millions of others have a deep sense of pride.

And I ask you again, where is your pride? Perhaps ...

It is in your ignorance of the love two people can for one another, regardless of gender.

It is in your self-righteousness which overshadows respect for humanity.

It is in your intolerance towards people who are different from you.

It is in the disdain you feel for diversity.

It is in the man-made authority vested in you by a group of people who share in your pride.

It is in your acts of destroying rights, livelihoods and yes, families.

It is in your fear-mongering and pronouncements of a fictional "homosexual agenda"

For twenty years your pride has been placed in these things.

As I witness Pride parades and celebrations throughout the country, I see the joy at knowing who we are and who we have been. I witness the effervescent streak of humanity. I witness the survival of the human spirit, the kind of spirit that cannot be put down by the demonizing you and your cohorts so arrogantly proclaim to be the "Word of God."

Mr. Perkins, over the last few months I have been nurturing a Rainbow Garden to grow for Pride Week here in San Francisco. It resides in the Juan Bautista Community Garden in Park Merced. Far more than just a tiny bit of flowers and sparkle amongst the other more staid garden beds, it has garnered respect as a small quadrant of Pride in beauty, and beauty in Pride. People recognize it as a celebration of life, love and survival. They have pride in it, and, I am happy to say, pride in me.

Yes, I know where my Pride is, and after twenty years, the country knows where yours is.

I feel sorry for you, Mr. Perkins. Very sorry. When I conduct a small ceremony in the garden this Sunday in celebration of San Francisco's Pride Day, I will say a prayer for you.

Very Truly Yours,

Rev. Dan Vojir
San Francisco

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