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Bigotry is not morality

Published January 15. 2011 09:00AM

Three cheers for the military and the courts.

The phasing out of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is good news for a society that believes in the advancement of human rights and the strengthening of morality.

Of course, it took too long to happen, and it's a shame it was an issue to begin with. In a perfect world, human rights would be universal, rather than something to be fought for by people whose only crime is being born a certain way, what the majority would term "different."

The plight of the minority is to constantly battle discrimination, such as from the likes of politician Star Parker, a California conservative activist with radical thoughts. She expressed her volatile opinions in a syndicated column published here two weeks ago. Her harsh judgement against her fellow man and our American soldiers must not pass without rebuke.

Parker said she disagrees with the overturn of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. She doesn't care that a minority in the military is gaining some long-overdue rights. Parker feels those truths somehow are in conflict with her own moral compass. She makes it clear she would rather see oppression continue.

What she said, in essence, is that she is dismayed because one of her favorite prejudices is no longer being upheld by federal courts. Despite saying otherwise, she also appears conflicted by separation of church and state.

"I believe in the truth of traditional morality as transmitted to us through our biblical sources," said Parker. She implies she would hold society and the military to biblical standards, thereby proclaiming moral victory. But would that be so? Let's take a look.

If carried through, here's what Ms. Parker's biblical America would look like:

A woman who turns out not to be a virgin on her wedding night would be stoned to death. How does that sound to America in 2011? Yet that directive is biblical truth, clearly stated in Deuteronomy, one of Parker's inspirations.

Parker's biblical sources also say that rape is acceptable in many cases, and so is incest. Also, you can sell your daughter into slavery. Perfectly fine.

Again, one must ask, does this sound like a new moral plan for America? There's more.

Her biblical sources defend slavery, and warn that you should "submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel."

In other words, you as a slave must obey a cruel master. It's in the Bible, word for word.

Does Ms. Parker, a black woman, really want to turn back the clock 250 years to a time of slavery, or a few thousand years to a time of scripture? Probably not.

Yet, she is so willing to do just that when it comes to her attitude against American soldiers and gay Americans. These types of prejudices and skewed values illustrate so clearly the reason behind man's inhumanity to his fellow man.

We fear those we don't understand, those who are different. We try to oppress those we feel aren't as good. Even worse, we try to subjugate those humans seemingly not endorsed by the most obsolete standards of a 2,000-year-old, slavery-filled belief system. And we call it morality. This is part of human nature because it's what has been handed down to us, even though much of what we were taught is dead wrong and actually harmful.

Today, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is rightfully turning a page on a shameful chapter of American history. Moreover, in the near future, the institution of marriage will expand and fulfill its mission when it becomes a civil right legally enjoyed by all, most especially gay Americans, and for the first time, to include all men and women who serve in the military. That day is coming. We can mark our calendars. It'll happen because it's right, moral and just - despite the expected protests by many fearful star parkers.

None of this represents the decline of society, as fundamentalists want us to believe. To the contrary, it might just signal the decline of bigotry. The repeal of oppression reflects the righteousness of a just cause, the powerful force for human rights, and an unrelenting push to overcome what our forefathers saw as potential for tyranny by the majority.

Last November, Star Parker ran for a congressional seat. She lost big. Some said she lost the election due to her out-of-step views. Those who cherry-pick prejudices from scripture are on the wrong side of morality and they'll be on the wrong side of history, too.

Instead, love, acceptance and inclusion will prevail. Those concepts and true, sound Christian principles are also printed in biblical sources. But bigots choose not to see it. The openness of truth cannot enter a mind that is closed.

Make no mistake, love and acceptance will define the moral standard.

Fear and bigotry will not.

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