Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How I came to support marriage equality... again.

When I was twelve years old, I came home from church and demanded to know why the prophets would tell people not to marry someone who had a different skin color. My dad tried to explain that marriage was hard enough without mixing cultures... I countered by pointing out that black skin doesn't equal different culture. I used the example of the only black family I knew. He was from Chicago. She was from Jamaica. Their kids all grew up in Utah. I had far more in common with their kids than they had with each other. (You can't get much more different than the streets of Chicago vs. Jamaica.)Yet it was okay for them to marry each other? Why??

We talked about the priesthood. There was a time when my dad would have felt concerned about his daughter marrying a black man, because he would want her to have the priesthood in her home. That policy had changed years before... so I asked again, Why? Why are they still teaching that?

By the end of the conversation, I informed my parents that the prophets and my teachers at church had it wrong. I was going to marry a black man, because there was no reason I shouldn't. (I vaguely remember the discussion taking a turn to "Just because there is no reason you shouldn't, doesn't mean that you should," but that wasn't the point. I wanted to find a way to let people know the teachings on interracial marriage were wrong. I couldn't think of any other way to get my point across.)

Over the next couple of years, I had several discussions on similar subjects. I felt frustrated and confused:

Why are all the pictures of Christ so white, when he was from Israel? Why aren't they more accurate in his depictions? Why do they teach that dark skin is akin to sin? Why did the YW leaders insist that my black friend wear a white glove when she played God's finger in the skit of "the brother of Jared"? (It took a long time for me to calm down on that one.)

I thought it was stupid that black people would be made white when they die and were "perfected"... Why would they want that? I would want to still be ME, so I assumed they would want to still be themselves.

Why did it take so long for blacks to get the priesthood? Why was the church so far BEHIND the rest of the country? Why didn't God tell his prophets that bigotry and prejudice were wrong? Why weren't the prophets leading the way on such an important issue?

No one had any real answers for me...As I got older, I was okay with not getting answers because (for the most part) things were different. I hated the teachings on the "seed of Cain", but that was talked about rarely enough, I could forget.

In 2008, the church became involved in Prop 8. In the beginning, I believed that allowing gay people to get married was wrong. Homosexual behavior was a sin. As I saw all of my friends posting "Yes on 8" signs on their facebook walls or putting them in their lawns, it felt wrong. It isn't okay for the majority to legislate the rights of the minority. It felt wrong that a church that teaches agency as the most important principle was helping to create laws that take away agency... and more than just agency... It seemed crazy to me that a people who had been so oppressed would try to create laws to oppress others and take away their rights and freedoms. Early members of the church fled the United States to get away from treatment like that... why wasn't there more compassion now? 

I started listening to the talks... the calls for "morality"... the causes and cures for "unnatural tendencies"... It just didn't sit right.

How could I help but see the similarities between the things I had heard in church as a twelve year old that I KNEW were wrong, and the things I was hearing in church as a thirty year old... I started researching. I started looking at both sides. Part of my research lead me to look at the arguments against interracial marriage... which lead me back in church history. The things the church taught about blacks were actually far worse than anything I had known. Think of all the most prejudiced, bigoted, AWFUL things that were said about or done to black people in this country. The church promoted that bigotry in the name of God. (I'm torn. Part of me wants to share a few of the quotes from Wilford Woodruff, Brigham Young, Joseph Fielding Smith, N. Eldon Tanner, Ezra Taft Benson, or Mark E. Petersen. The rest of me has decided not to share them... In 2008, still had these quotes in complete talks. In 2012, I searched all over and couldn't find them. The quotes can still be found on other places on the internet, but I don't like using quotes taken out of context, unless the rest of the context could be found. It frustrates me that they are no longer available on, and I understand it. Why would they keep stuff like that for people to find, now that they don't teach it anymore?)

The church changed. They changed their doctrine, their stance on blacks, and interracial marriage. They caught up with the rest of the country eventually. So... Now... What if they are wrong about homosexuality? What if all the things they have said about homosexuality aren't accurate just like all of the things they taught about blacks were inaccurate? What if they are wrong just like they were wrong about interracial marriage? What if they are wrong just like they were wrong about blacks and the priesthood? What if gay marriage will NOT be the downfall of society just like interracial marriage has not been the downfall of society? What if loving and accepting homosexuals AS homosexuals is the right thing to do just like giving blacks the priesthood and treating them as equals was the right thing to do? What then?

I know there are many people who will change their beliefs if the prophets and church authorities change. I didn't want to wait. I couldn't wait.

Once again, I feel like I did when I was twelve... frustrated... and impatient.


  1. First off Jen, I know your opinion on the "sanctity of marriage" is that it's non existent, I get that. I don't believe that.

    I feel children SERIOUSLY need a male and female role model in their lives to become productive citizens. If they don't have both, it's a hurdle but not an impassable barrier. Homosexuals can most definitely be great role models for children. I know many that I love, respect, and admire.

    Divorce sucks, I frown on it in about 90% of the cases. You've asked me about that before in discussions about this. That's how I feel. Someone else's divorce is NEVER my call on whether or not the reasons were strong enough that this was better than working through them.

    Growing up in the church I never ever heard anything about interracial relationships. I've had to overcome racism in myself though, that's a fact. When I was in Hairspray I hard a time making friends with the black cast mates. They were different it was weird. That's more just the fact that I wasn't friends with any. It was strong enough that I was uncomfortable the few rehearsals I was in the minority.

    Now, loving homosexuals as themselves IS the right thing to do. That doesn't mean I feel I need to let them attack the sanctity of one of the holiest things on this earth. For me, marriage is ordained by God between a man and woman, why does a homosexual couple need that? Personally I feel that the government should not support it, but I don't feel right disallowing it either. The difficulty and battle here is that the government has institutionalized a religious and holy practice. I wish a compromise could be made where the homosexual couples can seek the recognition they deserve from their government entity, but that still doesn't mean that they have to be married.

    I would be offended if a homosexual couple asked to be married in an LDS chapel. It's not the appropriate place for it because I feel that is a place dedicated to God, that would be a defamation of marriage as ordained by Him.

    Now comes to MY big issue. Jen, the minority should not be limited by the majority, I believe that, but why should I sacrifice for them? My religion has fought long and hard for every little scrap of recognition they've received. I'll admit it much longer than it needed to because of how many mistakes it has made throughout its existence. The majority has made so many concessions to minorities that people like me are suffering for it now. I'm so incredibly average that life is much more difficult for me now than it would have been 20 years ago.

    In short, loving them as they are is a beautiful thing. They're human beings that have so much amazing potential to do good in this world. They have every right to live their life as they desire, but why do I have to give up something I hold as sacred as life? Is it not possible for them to receive the recognition they desire without assaulting my beliefs and what I stand for in my life? Is their lifestyle, whether chosen or not so much more important than one of my core values?

    I know I'm atypical(probably) but I personally feel that's the core of the issue. A minority that's screaming for its voice to be heard and rights to given and majority that is frightened and tired of letting go of something that is dear to them, frightened by if they let this go, where else will they turn? If they surrender now, will it stop? Will they continue to be assaulted until they're a minority with no rights at all? Hell, what if they're a minority with no rights at all? That's why I feel that homosexual couples should be denied marriage.

    1. First off Strider, I am absolutely aghast that people would still have this out-of-date perception on marriage. Do you really know what Jen believes? No, and neither do I, and neither of us should assume on her part, she is the one to tell us, not either of us.Children can have female and male role models other then the family, there are so many amazing, unique , fabulous and wonderfully loving role models out there that we are ignoring if we say that they don't have them outside the family. It isn't a hurdle to become a productive citizen if you have two moms or two dads, it's just as hard/easy as anyone else. To assume that just because one is attracted to the same sex they cannot parent well is a fallacy.

      The fact that you talk about GBLT people as "homosexuals" and not people is a telling sign, it makes me sad that you do not see them as people like anyone else would. They are people, their sexual preference is none of mine or your concern.I know you say you didn't hear about interracial relationships in the LDS Church, but I am here to say that it was taught. I've been taught it by my parents, my grandparents and several leaders. I was always puzzled why I was told it was better to marry in my own culture and not others…as if being with person from a different culture was proof of a divorce.

      You say you had trouble making friends with people of color…and you are laying the blame on their feet? I'll just let you think about that statement……

    2. GBLT people are not attacking your right to marry, they are not divorcing you and your spouse, nor are they doing anything else insidious that you think they seem to be doing. The fact that you even assert this without proof is grounds for that argument to be dismissed. A gay man or woman wants to be married because they love that other person, they want to devote their entire lives (like you would, I assume) to the person they love most in the world…how is that so dreadful?

      The fact of the matter is, "traditional" marriage has never been traditional. There are so many things it has been that you could hardly consider it traditional. Take for example Genesis 2:24 (Man + Woman), Genesis:6-10(Man + Brother's Widow), Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (rapist + his victim), Genesis 16 (Man + woman + woman's property), Exodus 21:4 (Male slave + Female Slave), Numbers 31:1-28 and Deuteronomy 21:11-14(Male soldier + prisoner of war) and many other places. There has never been just one view of marriage, even in scripture.

      I don't think you are going to get a single gay man or woman asking to be married in the temple, and even if you did, the LDS Church as a religion has the right to deny them a spiritual marriage, not a civil one.Minority? You do realize that black people were once the minority, women were once the minority, the Christians who came to this country were once a minority. It doesn't matter, if they are a minority or not, they need to have the same equal rights that every other citizen has, the right to marry who they love.

      Why should you sacrifice for your brothers and sisters? I don't like to lecture religion at people, but take a look at the founder of your religion (Christianity), that should explain it to you.You say you're religion has fought long and hard for your rights, well guess what, so has GBLT people. There is a long history of queer people fighting for their rights, please take some time to educate yourself on the subject (start with the Stonewall Riots).

    3. I'm concerned that you balk at the idea of helping people who are a minority or different then you out. I was always taught to help people no matter who they were.You aren't giving anything up by allowing them this civil opportunity. Nothing at all, and if you think that your marriage is going to be affected by that, then you have to do some thinking about your marriage

      .Please understand that no one is taking away a single damn thing from you. If If I or any other person gets married it is in no way going to affect you, at all.

      Now, I may sound angry, but I am sorrowful that a Christian could feel this way about another person, let alone a whole group of people who should be their sisters and brothers and be treated as such.I will always fight for the right for my brothers and sisters to marry whom they love in loving, adult and consensual relationships. <3

    4. Adding to Becky (thank you for eloquently saying everything I wanted to, Becky)...

      As a child who grew up without a male role model, being left out of the category of "productive citizens" is offensive and troubling, not just to me, but to many other children of situations other than the nuclear family. Converse with anyone who has grown up without a mother and father present, and you will see that life is not about the cards you're dealt, but what YOU personally choose to do with that hand. I feel I've accomplished much in my life as a person, and have personally found the lack of a male role model freeing, insightful, and a blessing. Just because I didn't have a male role model does not mean all that I have accomplished in my life goes to waste, and that I don't have something to offer this world. Personally, I've felt no hardship of not having a male role model present. Just the opposite, actually.

      From reading your comment, I applaud your noticing of the greatness of LGBT role models, and the need to love them and accept them. However, I would urge that these feelings be built upon and expanded into other beliefs about society. As of now, it sounds like "Yeah, yeah. I guess gays are cool, I just don't want to have to deal with them and their issues because it means I have to give up the privileges I have with being heterosexual." I suggest reading up on Christ's teachings, keeping in mind his second greatest commandment: to love everyone as we love our Savior. Focusing on this, the real doctrine behind our church and not the social construction/institutionalization of our religion carried out by human, not-always-perfect, and capable-of-mistakes leaders, will foster more genuine and Christ-like views on this topic. At the end of the day, we are to love and accept each other, only God can judge us. We are all created equal, why should the world have to take that away from God and us?

    5. Jus - I haven't read the rest of the replies yet... I wanted to respond to you first. (And I am pretty sure that my need to protect my baby brother will get me contradicting myself all over the place, so I'm going to respond to the things you said, and then see what others had to say.)

      It's true, I don't believe in he sanctity of marriage. I don't believe that God ordains marriage, or that marriage is necessary. My life has pretty much shattered that idea. I believe marriage is a legal contract. Having a way out of that legal contract when it wasn't working for me anymore was a miraculous gift.

      I''m not sure how I feel about children needing male and female role models... When I think about couples having children, I think the most important thing parents can offer is a desire to be parents, and awareness of what they are doing.

      Now for racism. The fact that you didn't hear anything about interracial marriage shows that it changed in just eleven short years. I heard about it in YW. It was talked about a lot, and maybe that was because Trine was in class... but then... why would they say that stuff with her right there?? My leaders were quoting prophets and apostles telling her that she could only marry a black man. They told her she was inferior, that she hadn't been as faithful in the pre-existence as the rest of us. They told her she would be made white when she was perfected. I feel all sad and riled up all over again. And I haven't talked to her in twenty years... i don't know how she felt (except for the white glove thing. She was really upset about that.) I think about how devastating that would have been for me...

      There was a point in history when church leaders taught that we needed to protect the sanctity of marriage, by not allowing the seed of Cain to mix with the pure seed. That was as important to the leaders then as this is now. They stood up in conference and spoke about it then just like they are now. People felt as strongly about being justified in their racism as you feel about your beliefs now. People felt afraid and attacked. They felt like the government was forcing them to accept something awful. They believed they would suffer if black people were given the same rights. They were afraid of what they would lose, but did they really lose anything??

      Eventually, it became a non-point, at least in the church. Which was really my point. They were wrong about those things, and they eventually changed...

    6. I have not found any objective evidence to date that children raised by gay parents are any worse off than children raised by straight parents. On the contrary, it's virtually impossible for a gay couple to "accidentally" have a child, which means that unless a partner brings along children from a former relationship, a gay couple is nearly always raising children because they've made the choice. There IS research that shows children of gay parents ARE more emotionally stable, better adjusted, etc. than unwanted children of heterosexual unions.

      I have never been able to get a straight (pun intended) answer on how, exactly, two gay people being able to marry would negatively affect someone else's marriage or religion. Gays can marry in six states and ten countries, and I'd LOVE for someone to show me objective evidence from any of those places that it's infringed on their right to worship.

      Really though, "Someone else's divorce is NEVER my call" is the best response. I'd argue that the same applies for someone else's marriage as well.

    7. Jen- I don't know the racists that were in your ward growing up, but it wasn't in my ward. I dated a black kid for several years and no one said anything to me about it. that breaks my heart you telling me that people were being mean to a young girl. I am so sorry that you had to experience that.

    8. Strider, if you're so worried about children having good role models, consider the horrible example you're setting to them. Especially to gay children, where the message you're telling them is "please disappear. You make me uncomfortable."

      Know why gay kids commit suicide? Because that's the message they get, loud and clear, and they finally give in and oblige.

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  3. [---Please understand that no one is taking away a single ***bleep*** thing from you. If If I or any other person gets married it is in no way going to affect you, at all....]"

    Becky- If marriage is going to be a constitutional right, freedom of religion and worship will be infringed upon. Equality for All is the main organization that has been pushing for same sex marriage and for proposition 8 to be repealed. Equality for All is an organization that was started by disenchanted mormons that didn't feel that they should be denied marriage in the temples. In an interview that I saw (I tried so hard to find it so that I can paste it on here but it was removed) it stated that they were going to try to change the Mormon church's views or they would shut down our temples. I did find a youtube clip of Equality for All where they are chanting "tax the mormon church".
    After the interview, I started to think "how can they shut down the Mormon church?" I realized that the wording for prop 8 is that it would be a constitutional right to be married. If it is a constitutional right, any organization that does not honor constitution rights would be up to losing its tax exempt status. Without its tax exempt status, all church's that didn't change its opinion on homosexuality would not be able to afford the temples and church buildings. Therefore, we would not have a clear defined seperation between church and state. Already, people are trying to make the Bible hate literature and anyone that would be using hate literature could be arrested for hate speech. I used to support gay marriage. I think that if the wording was different so that it would protect everyone's rights to believe what they want without infringing on other people's rights it would be wonderful. We do need to protect rights no matter what their beliefs are and whether we agree with them or not. Civil unions can give all the same benefits as marriage. I think both sides of this heavily debated issue should have tolerance with each other. I think its a shame to see strider's belief's ripped to shreds-- [First off Strider, I am absolutely aghast that people would still have this out-of-date perception on marriage] -- It is all about respect and I see Strider giving that respect and tolerance. We need to give him the tolerance back.'hate_literature'.htm

    1. I believe we need to sacrifice a virgin to the Sun God to ensure a bountiful harvest. If not being sacrificed is going to be a constitutional right, freedom of religion and worship will be infringed upon.

      In that case, I think the issue is clear - when my beliefs infringe upon another's right (in this case, to be alive) - their rights take precedence over my beliefs. I can't murder in the name of religion, Nephi and Laban notwithstanding.

      However, I've still never seen any credible evidence that gay marriage infringes on straight religion. Does people drinking alcohol or coffee infringe on your right to abstain? Do couples living together without getting married infringe on your right to marry heterosexually? Do interracial marriage infringe on your right to marry someone of your own race? If not, I don't understand how gay marriage will work differently.

    2. I like your statement --- [In that case, I think the issue is clear - when my beliefs infringe upon another's right (in this case, to be alive) - their rights take precedence over my beliefs. I can't murder in the name of religion, Nephi and Laban notwithstanding.] I even appreciated the humor at the end. I whole heartedly agree with your statement.

      You are right that there is no credible evidence that gay marriage infringes on straight religion. The thing that stops me from supporting gay marriage is that legally it COULD. When you look at all those that hate religion and want organized religion to be stopped (sometimes for good reason), I do not believe that it is too far off to think that this could happen. Why put our country susceptible to our freedom of religion to be taken away. If we were to look at history, we would find that in most cases, whenever government got involved in religion, freedoms were taken away. Freedoms to worship as a whole is good for our nation. The key phrasing is "constitutional right". When we put marriage in the same level of importance as worship, court rulings will give both equal weight. It doesn't take much imagination to see where this leaves religion to be vulnerable.

    3. Catholic priests aren't forced to marry people who have divorced. What makes you think your church's priests will be forced to marry gay people in their religious ceremonies?

      Unless, of course, they work in civil government as well, and are fulfilling its functions by performing a civil wedding for a same-gender couple. In which case, I'm so sorry your freedom to be cruel and take people's rights away is being infringed on.

  4. Jen- I absolutely love you and respect your love for all people. I am so sad for those that have had to go through unnecessary trials because of gender attraction. I think that the greatest commandment is to love God and the second like unto it is to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we had more love for our neighbor, I think most problems in the world will go away. I love your honesty and respect.

    1. Once I realized the depth of the tragedy of God's plan of salvation -- that gay people had to be celibate their whole lives, go their whole lives without hugging or holding hands or dating or marrying or being with someone they love -- and that God was going to split up all the loving gay and lesbian couples around me, including my friends, in the next life, and make the people in them straight, and keep them from having romantic attraction to each other any more, and literally tear families apart ... including in this life through laws that hurt my kind, wonderful friends ...

      I prayed and asked God why, really why, things had to be this way. For the first time, I wasn't desperately asking him to confirm church teachings for me ... I realized how awful and tragic they really were, and needed to know what could possibly make this okay.

      I didn't receive an answer.

  5. I am pro-gay-marriage as I do not believe that the government should have any say in who can and cannot have the benefits of marriage. However, where I draw the line, is if the government makes my church marry anyone they do not wish to marry. There are plenty of churches that will, and there are plenty of court houses and non-denominational people licensed to marry couples outside of the church.

    Gay marriage does not hurt me, my marriage, or my morals and values. It does not impede on my rights and does not affect me in any way. I know many gay and lesbian couples, several in my family, and they are all in committed long term relationships that have outlasted many heterosexual marriages. JMO

  6. I'm for some sort of Civil Union, I respect and admire a desire to commit yourself to someone for a lifetime. They have every right to be recognized by the government, where my grief is where it's a religious institution. Same sex couples can raise good people. Families with a father and mother can have horrible children. Single parents can and have raised some amazing people that I love dearly. None of those families have a monopoly on raising good children or horrible children. I just feel that a family with both mother and father stand the best chance to raise a child to fulfill their own potential.

    Same sex marriage is just one thing on what feels like an all out war on religion in America. I feel it's just where Christian religions have chosen to stand and fight.

    Where marriage is a sacred institute between a man and a woman and only that it is a powerful beacon. I know I'm going to get a lot of flak, but the more families like that the better it is for society I believe. The more the idea of marriage is torn down the worse it will become for society.

    Currently I live in a society where that is the goal, I appreciate that. I know there are pit falls full of fear and hatred for those that live otherwise. I wish that rather than fear and hate we can respond with love and acceptance. I know I struggle with that. I'm trying to find that in my self without sacrificing what I believe in the process.

    1. War on religion?

      Try being bisexual and transgender and nearly killing yourself for it, over and over again, because of the things that are so sacred -- like the body you're supposed to have, and the voice you're supposed to have, and a relationship with the person you love -- that someone awful and evil and immoral and inferior like you should never be allowed to have them. Who's warring on whom? Who's destroying whose families? Literally?

      Powerful beacon? More like a slice of cheesecake that you're holding over the head of someone who's smaller and weaker than you, and you're crying about being oppressed while she's whimpering and nipping at your ankles.

      Society becoming worse? This fight is bringing out the worst in people, because it's showing how people I thought cared about me actually hate me. It's showing how people I loved and trusted and depended on are willing to throw me away, watch me kill myself and then blame me for the awful depair they inflict. Because of a medical condition and orientation I didn't choose, and wouldn't wish on anyone.

      Except maybe you, and everyone like you, just so you could know what it's like. Just so you could know what you're inflicting on others. What the cost of your "sacredness" -- which is really just meanness, stinginess, and a refusal to empathize and consider the consequences of your actions -- is.

      God damn you to the punishment you deserve. God damn you to be gay and transgender in the next life, the same way you think he's going to make me straight and cis. I'm sorry my breathing and living and wearing gender-appropriate clothes and being affectionate with my loved ones is causing you such emotional anguish, and descecrating things you hold sacred. MAYBE I'LL JUST GET RID OF MYSELF SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH ME ANYMORE.

      And then maybe you'll blame it on me for not understanding that God could have removed my burdens for me. The same God I spent years and years and years begging to do exactly that. When they wouldn't have been burdens to begin with, if not for you and if not for him.

      May a real God damn yours.

    2. If you're may I be damned, no doubt about it. But as I said I personally have no problem with a legal union between two people of the same gender. Marriage as I know it is more sacred than my life.

      I never in any of my posts said any desire for you to stop living your lifestyle. Know that the sacredness of marriage as a religious covenant between a man a woman and God is as important to me and the person that I am as anyone's sexual orientation. I wish not to deny you any legal rights you have as a couple who loves one another.

      Know that I wish you this life and whatever way they come.

  7. Jewel- I am sorry that religion and society has made you feel unloved and unwanted. I am sorry that my posts have made you feel that way too. I am happy that you are going on your own journey to find happiness and I hope you find it. No one deserves to be made to feel the way you have. I recognize that my beliefs can be interpreted as uncaring and hurtful. I am sorry for that. I do believe that everyone is going on their own unique journey and no one should tell you what your journey is. No one should make anyone feel less of a person because of how they are born. I do not believe that you are damned in this life or the next. I am sorry that our ignorance has led you to feel this way.

    I love the BYU student's video "It Gets Better". There is a student that says that he prayed to God about his same sex attraction and he just felt God's love for him and the peace that it was going to be okay. I cannot deny God because people have hard times in their lives. Maybe, people have been born this way to educate us. I believe that we as a society are becoming more informed and tolerant. I think it is through the many prayers like yours. Please don't give up on God and us. Maybe God is answering your prayers in ways you cannot see.

    I have gone through my own hell and can relate to your own undeserved feelings of worthlessness. I have wondered if God hated me or that if it was better if I was gone so people wouldn't have to deal with me anymore. I have felt born different than others and damned before I tried. I know what it is like to pour my heart out in prayer without any answer. I have also have after much patience or desperation finally received my answers. It is why I relate with the BYU student's peace and love that he received in his prayer. I haven't been given the same hand as you, yet I know God loves everyone. Through my own soul searching and through my own unique journey I have come to the conclusion that maybe life is all about love for others.

    People interpret surroundings based on our own experiences. We cannot judge others as hateful just because they have different religious beliefs as our own. We have to give them the same benefit of the doubt that we would want. My beliefs are my beliefs. I put much thought in things before I can state my beliefs. I would hope you would know that my beliefs have come with pain. What if my child has to go through the same feelings you have had to go through? Do I believe in that God? Yes, I do. No matter how painful, I cannot deny there is a God. It is this one fact that changes how I feel on these matters.

    We have to protect other people's journeys. If this journey is organized religion, we cannot allow government to take it away, even if bigots can use religion to fuel and justify their own hatred.