Faith In America today wishes to remind Faith and Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed of a self-evident truth – the Republican Party is the party of religion-based bigotry toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. In an exchange last night on CNN's Crossfire about the recent public disagreement between Liz Cheney and Mary Cheney over gay marriage, Reed was asked by show co-host S.E. Cupp if perhaps it was not time for the Republican Party to make room for people who embrace marriage equality. Since the GOP stands strong for family values, Cupp suggested the GOP should stand against the division playing out in former vice president Dick Cheney's family.
Reed's response was no. After an astonishing denial of marriage equality's current and recent progress, Reed concluded by saying how unfair he thought it was for individuals to be labeled as bigoted for being against gay marriage and suggested "anti-religious bigotry" might be at play.
Reed stated: "I think it is unfair and I think it can even smack of anti-religious bigotry to suggest that if you have a view different, if you believe marriage should be defined as a man and a woman, that you are ipso facto a bigot."
"In his statement, Ralph Reed laid bare the anti-gay religious industry's strategy for its future attempts to oppose gay marriage and LGBT equality in general," said Brent Childers, executive director of Faith In America. "They are attempting to paint the LGBT community and its straight allies as bigoted toward religion and LGBT equality as a threat to religious freedom. Their strategy at this point could not be more clear and neither could it be more misguided and plainly wrongheaded."
Childers said the anti-gay religious industry for the previous three years has been busy incorporating this "anti-religious" and "threat to religious liberty" on their web sites, programs and projects. On Reed's Faith and Coalition web site, one of the goal's listed is to "Protest bigotry and discrimination against people of faith."
Childers said there are large numbers of people of faith, faith-based organizations and churches who support LGBT equality and it is impossible to label those individuals and groups as being bigoted toward religion or people of faith for that matter.
"Ralph Reed knows full well that the Republican Party has been a guardianship for a very unique form of bigotry toward gay and lesbian Americans – it's a form of bigotry that has been given a religious and moral stamp of approval by the Republican Party, its anti-gay religious allies and unfortunately segments of faith communities," Childers said.
"Religion-based bigotry is unique in the fact that it carries a moral and religious stamp of approval and it is unique because of the immense emotional, psychological and spiritual harm it causes gay and lesbian Americans, especially gay youth and their families."
Childers said telling someone that you consider their religious belief misguided and misinformed – and more importantly why – doesn't demean that person nor their faith.
"But telling a gay or lesbian individual that your religious belief deems them unequal, unworthy and morally inferior indeed does demean that gay or lesbian person and such derogation is uniquely harmful," Childers added.
"And using the anti-religious label on those who may strongly disagree with your religious view makes a mockery of all religious traditions – especially the Christian evangelical faith tradition."
Brent Childers once aligned himself with the anti-gay religious industry and now serves as executive Faith in America, a nonprofit organization which works to educate the public about the immense harm caused to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people when certain church teaching is used to promote and justify stigma and hostility.