The motive for last week’s murder of nine African-Americans attending a Bible study in their church was racism. (This is inarguable, unless you’re a Republican running for the presidential nomination.)
The alleged shooter, Dylann Roof, left one survivor unharmed so that she could tell the world that Roof said “you’ve raped our women, and you are taking over the country … I have to do what I have to do” before executing his victims.
Roof even left a manifesto, citing his conversion to the cause of white supremacy, thanks to the ravings of a group called the Council of Conservative Citizens.
If you think that the world of white supremacy is confined to racism, you are wrong. It traffics deeply in virulent homophobia as well.
The Council of Conservative Citizens’ statement of principles proclaims the traditional family “the basic unit of human society” and condemns “homosexuality and other perversions.” Such luminaries as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council have happily appeared before the CCC to give speeches. Mike Huckabee taped a video message for the group in 1993, which was “extremely well received.”
CCC and like-minded groups have been among the loudest opponents of marriage equality in the South. At a protest outside the headquarters of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has labeled CCC a hate group, CCC members proclaimed that the Founding Fathers would never have accepted same-sex marriage.
Brad Griffin, a CCC board member, told the Montgomery (AL) Advertiser, that marriage equality was a “novelty. The idea that it is against their constitutional rights, I just don’t think it is true. I don’t think it holds water,” Griffin said.
In fact, a lot of the opposition to marriage equality relies upon many of the same arguments that Confederate leaders used leading up to secession. Chief among these is nullification, in which states can choose not to follow federal laws. That’s the argument being used by religious right leaders who seek to disobey a favorable Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.
At the same time, the right invariably casts itself as Dred Scott, the slave whose quest for freedom the U.S. Supreme Court denied in 1857, and equates marriage equality to slavery. Not surprisingly, the preponderance of folks happy to toss around this claim so lightly are white. Chief among them is Mike Huckabee–the same Mike Huckabee of the well-received speech to the CCC.
The link between racism and homophobia can’t really comes as a surprise to anyone. But in the wake of the Charleston tragedy, it’s worth remembering that what affects one group affects all of us.
Hatred believes in equal opportunity.
Photo credit: Jamie