LGBTQ Rights

‘Thoughts And Prayers’ Can’t Cancel Years Of Spreading Hate

  Rob Boston

In a horrifying incident that is all-too familiar in the United States, a heavily armed gunman stands accused of murdering five people and injuring 25 others at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs Nov. 19.

It’s common to see statements condemning violence and expressing support for the affected community at a time like this. (You can read Americans United’s statement here.) But not all statements are created equal. Some are more sincere than others.

Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family (FOF), issued a brief statement condemning the attack and offering prayers for the families of those killed. The statement might have more meaning if FOF and its political front groups hadn’t spent the last 30 years supporting legislation to strip basic rights away from members of the LGBTQ community, reassuring parents that’s it’s all right to kick their gay children out of the house, promoting bogus “ex-gay” ministries and denying that transgender people exist.

‘Thoughts And Prayers’

Similarly, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) issued a tweet vowing to pray for the victims and their families. But as U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was quick to point out, Boebert has a history of spewing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. “You don’t get to ‘thoughts and prayers’ your way out of this. Look inward and change,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez.

In the wake of a tragedy like this, it’s easy to issue a statement. Anyone can do it. What’s more challenging is to work every day to ensure that all our family members, friends, neighbors and others are free and safe to live their true lives, no matter what religious extremists think.

If you haven’t done that work – if you have, in fact, actively opposed it – your thoughts and prayers are of no value.

An American Original

Is the separation of church and state in the Constitution?

Absolutely. The separation of church and state is baked into our founding documents and our system of government.

The “wall of separation between church and state” is an American original. It’s an American invention. We should be proud of that fact. And we should fight any disinformation that threatens this ideal.

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