|Intimidation using religion|
Despite the fact that it went well for us, there were some odd additions this year that I don't remember being there last year. One of them was a woman who stood in front of the entrance bearing a sign warning everyone that entered the festival that god was out to get them. Most people ignored her but a few took the time to complain about her obviously unwelcome presence.
I've heard many times that people have a 'right to their beliefs', used most often to silence criticism of religion. While people obviously have a legal right to their beliefs and free speech, no set of beliefs should be shielded from scrutiny. This kind of thinking is rather common and it springs from the false notion that beliefs alone cannot harm anyone.
Our beliefs inform our actions; we will act according to our desires and intentions given our beliefs about the world. Any action a person takes necessarily involves them believing something about the world. Furthermore other people are influenced by our beliefs because we express them and communicate them to the world. These people's actions may later be affected by being exposed to the beliefs of others, this is most easily seen in children but it holds true for all of us. Whether we like it or not, beliefs have consequences and are every bit as important ethically as actions.
What each of us can do is to be ready to subject beliefs of any kind to the same kinds of scrutiny and judgement that we do actions. This can be uncomfortable, especially when those beliefs are the basis of another person's religion. But if we want to create a better society we need to find the intellectual and moral courage to be active in shaping the beliefs of our society.
One of the consequences of the anti-LGBT religious sentiment we see so often is that it leads others to believe that there is a moral problem with LGBT people. This belief that is slowly fading in our society has led to a great amount of material harm for LGBT people and their communities that goes beyond legal fights for civil rights. An example was seen on Sunday at this pride festival where a young man was attacked by a large number of anti-LGBT people.
The beating of a gay man was caught on tape at Detroit’s Motor City Pride, a gay and lesbian friendly event, held over the weekend.The video shows 20-year-old Christin Howard, a gay man, fighting off attackers Sunday along Detroit’s Riverwalk as the gay pride festival happened in nearby Hart Plaza.Howard says five to eight men attacked him. At one point, all the young men joined in on the attack as Christin was on the ground, helpless.