The March 9 column by Tim Wildmon, president of the only group in Tupelo labeled a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is a shameful rant.
He labels those liberals who dare to believe that all people deserve to be treated equally as “Gay Gestapo” wearing jackboots to squash freedom of conscience. He claims that “Christian” businesses ought not be required to do business with people they don’t like or agree with. He claims that some states have forced businesses to close when they would not provide their services to LGBT people and he decries this as forcing them “to violate a sacrament of their faith.”
Personally, I don’t think government ought to tell a business who to do business with. If a baker won’t bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, so be it; but, so be it also if people who believe in equal treatment of all people decide to boycott that baker. Those who boycott such a business are unlikely to wear jackboots nor do they deserve the label “Gestapo.”
When Tim and the AFA boycott businesses do they apply that label to themselves?
Just what “sacrament of faith” is it that permits Christians to celebrate bigotry? I have studied several translations of the New Testament and nowhere do I find a sacrament or command to celebrate intolerance of another group or person.
Instead I find commandments such as “Love your neighbor as yourself,” “Judge not” and words that endorse getting along in an inclusive community.
Asking, or requiring a business to be open to all customers is a very reasonable rule.
We do not permit businesses to discriminate against people of color or people who are mobility challenged. We must not permit businesses to refuse service to people based on who they love.
This state has many people who claim to be “God Fearing Christians” but far too many of them preach about Jesus and love while practicing bigotry and prejudice – Tim Wildmon and his AFA being principal among them.
Founder of Give Hate a Holiday
Member of Equality Mississippi
Member of PFLAG Tupelo
Lay minister of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tupelo