We're pretty accustomed to hearing middle-aged, married, conservative white guys spout off about how gay people are a perverse abomination and deserve to be shunned from society.
Boring! I mean, it’s easy to ridicule a disenfranchised and oppressed group when you have never been a part of something similar. And that’s to be expected, really. I mean, who can with a straight face mock a group simply fighting to be recognized as full human beings, if one has had a similar experience?
Nobody, that’s who. Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr., president of the Iowa-Nebraska chapter of the NAACP, that’s who.
Specifically, Rev. Ratliff said that gay people are hijacking the civil rights movement, and that “[d]eviant behavior is not the same as being denied the right to vote.”
First, it's a bad analogy because he's not comparing apples to apples. He's comparing "deviant behavior" -- the cause of discrimination -- to curbing voting rights - an effect of discrimination. He should compare cause to cause or effect to effect. So he could say that curbing marriage rights is not the same as curbing voting rights, or he could say that being gay is not the same as being black. It doesn't make sense to compare a cause to an effect. It's apples and oranges.
But he can’t say any of that. The right to marry and the right to vote are both rights affirmed by the Supreme Court, and so-called “deviant” behavior is looking not so deviant at all, but just the natural variation of human sexuality. So, in order to hide the inherent similarities behind LGBT and racial discrimination, it makes sense to confuse things by making a crummy comparison.
Second, hijacking the civil rights movement? Really? What was the civil rights movement about, anyway? Sure, it was specifically about black people being recognized as full and equal citizens of the country. But any student of history could tell you that it was – and still is – about so much more than that. It serves as a constant reminder that individual people should not be defined by such superficial characteristics as race, gender or whom they love.
On some level, I feel kind of bad for Rev. Ratliff. He’s active in the civil rights movement, which, logically, would make him sympathetic to the equal rights cause. But he’s also a man of God, which all too often means rabid homophobia. The cognitive dissonance must be mind-bending.
But the dissonance is not only in his head. The NAACP has made a concerted effort in the past five years to include not only members of different racial and ethnic groups, but members of the LGBT community as well. And this makes sense. While there is still a great need to fight against racial discrimination, we now recognize other forms of invidious discrimination. This type of expansion is perfectly consistent with the spirit of the NAACP. And it's a spirit that Rev. Ratliff is flagrantly flouting with his recent comments.
Rev. Ratliff is not only tarnishing the reputation and hampering the mission of the NAACP, he is also diminishing the meaning behind the civil rights movement so far. By denying that the gay rights movement is a bona fide extension of the civil rights movement is to belittle what it means: that every person is entitled to equal rights under the law, that those rights are worth fighting for, and that, with hard work, victory is not beyond reach.
Because that is the legacy of the NAACP and civil rights movement, but it is not the legacy promoted by Rev. Ratliff. Don’t let him misrepresent NAACP values with his anti-gay statements.
Rev. Keith Ratliff misrepresents NAACP values!
Greetings, NAACP National BoardRev. Keith Ratliff is completely misrepresenting NAACP, a organization the LGBTQ community has turned to as a supportive and embracing national organization.
Ratliff’s anti-gay actions also go directly against the teachings of the NACCP’s president, and Chairman, Benjamin Jealous, and Jealous’ predecessor, Julian Bond. Not to mention nationally released statements from the NAACP supporting LGBTQ rights.
Love between two people is not "deviant behavior" and being denied your right to marry who you love IS a CIVIL issue!
The LGBTQ community is NOT hijacking anything. We have turned to NAACP's past movements for advice. You are a respected national leader for liberty, justice, and equality! Don't let Rev. Keith Ratliff misrepresent that.[Your name]