April 24 Mail: Hate Is Unchristian

I just read the letter from Luke Frederick in the April 17 issue [“Opposed to ‘LGBT Lifestyle’“]. I find several things about these comments interesting. Frederick’s criticism of Folio Weekly for seemingly supporting LGBT rights seems a strange indictment in a nation with a constitution and a history of support for civil and human rights. It’s an odd criticism and in fact, Folio Weekly, unlike its bigger, richer “friend” The Florida Times-Union, should be commended for its support of the United States Constitution and freedom in general.

It’s always odd and disgusting when people claim to be for human rights and the beliefs generated by the life of Jesus Christ, and then say “but.” The reality is, there is no “but.” Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Unlike this guy, King truly did believe in “his lord Jesus Christ” and understood what that meant. Despite Frederick’s “vast knowledge,” someone who knew King quite well, his wife, wrote her last public document explaining that King would clearly be a supporter of equal rights for LGBT Americans.

Jesus spent his life with the poor, prostitutes, lepers and the dispossessed. How is it that those who “claim” to believe in Him spend their lives in hate-filled contempt for the poor, dispossessed and, of course, the LGBT community? It seems quite “unchristian” to me. America is a nation where anyone has the right to believe any silly thing they desire. What they don’t have, however, is the right to inflict those beliefs on the rest of us. Mr. Frederick can have his hate-filled, bigoted and misinformed beliefs, but he doesn’t have the right to restrict the civil rights of other Americans based upon them.

Jacksonville is a city in which LGBT citizens who work and pay taxes here can be denied their rights to work, to live where they want and even to eat in a restaurant just because of who they are. This bigotry and violation of civil rights is supported and justified by the hate-filled beliefs of people like Mr. Frederick and churches like First Baptist. What they preach and teach within their tax-deductible hate palaces is their freedom. When it comes out of their buildings and spews into the public domain to hurt other Americans is when all “real” Americans should be horrified and remember the separation of church and state.

King also said he would not remember the words of his enemies (people like Frederick), but he’d remember the silence of his friends. History teaches us that when good people remain silent, terrible things are done by hate-filled bigots, often motivated by religious beliefs. Will the good people of Jacksonville allow bigots to be enabled in their denial of equal rights to all citizens? It seems the Human Rights Ordinance 296 debate clearly delineated those interested in equality and those motivated by religious bigotry. The bigots won the first battle. Will the good people of Jacksonville allow them to win the war?

S. Lance Stoll