One week from today will be the beginning of Pride Month, and I have grave concerns for the nation, especially for the LGBTQ community. Pride Month is meant to be a time for celebration, a time of great joy for people who have been repressed and suppressed for centuries and are finally getting the respect we all deserve. But this year … this year feels different, for there are threats of violence against the LGBTQ community … threats stoked by politicians like Ron DeSantis, fueled by religious leaders and media outlets such as Fox ‘News’. There was that ludicrous “scandal” about Bud Lite beer, and more recently employees of Target stores nationwide have been threatened and harassed, ultimately causing Target to remove or relocate some of their Pride merchandise. I am incensed … everybody should be!
There are two “men of the cloth” for whom I have great respect. One is John Pavlovitz, whom most of you are familiar with, and the other is Padre Steve Dundas, a recently retired lifetime Army and Navy Officer and Chaplain. This morning, Padre Steve posted the following on his Substack account, and his words simply must be shared. He is angry, as am I, that humanity and caring for others seems to be taking a backseat in this nation to prejudice, hatred, and violence.
25 May 2023
It seems that emboldened Christian extremists in the South, read MAGA States are making headway in their efforts to force major retailers to remove LGBTQ+ merchandise from their stores. Their efforts are criminal. They have wrecked displays, damaged merchandise, and threatened employees at Target stores throughout the South. In response, Target has removed merchandise from some stores or relocated it to less visible places in their stores. See this article: https://apple.news/AK07RIGLTR3u1RTJNdp6wIA
The attacks are being driven by intentionally misleading reporting from Fox News, other Right Wing propaganda outlets, as well as Republican political leaders and Right Wing Christian Nationalist “Pastors”, and organizations like the American Family Institute.
My thoughts. First, I don’t think that Target or any other retailers should bow down to hate filled violent anti-LGBTQ+ persecutors. I think that they should call Law Enforcement and have those that damage property, and threaten or harm employees or other customers arrested, and press charges. Not to do so is to embolden them to commit more acts of violence and vandalism, in other words to precipitate an anti-LGBTQ+ version of the Nazi Kristallnacht. It is no different, it may be smaller in scope, and not yet back by the police power of the State, but in every State where these attacks are happening multiple laws are being passed to limit the civil rights of LGBTQ+ citizens.
Second, if the shoe was on the other foot, and people opposed to Christianity went into a Target and vandalized specifically Christian religious merchandise in seasonal Easter or Christmas sections, or went to the “Inspirational” books section and destroyed Bibles or books on the Christian life, what would happen?