Saturday, December 03, 2005

Judge Hamilton's Father Prayed At State House To End Discrimination Against Gays

WISH-TV political reporter Jim Shella’s blog mentions that several news stories on the federal court ruling against non-sectarian prayers at the Indiana House of Representatives point out that the man making the ruling, Judge David Hamilton, is the son of a minister himself.

Shella observes that Rev. Richard Hamilton, retired pastor of North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, has delivered the opening prayer before the House on previous occasions and has appeared at the State House regularly to fight gambling proposals.

What Shella doesn’t mention is that Rev. Hamilton joined other ministers from across Indiana at the State House for an annual prayer gathering in solidarity with those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

A open letter to legislators dated September 10, 2000 and signed by Rev. Hamilton among others read in part:

Scriptures impose a sacred obligation on people of faith to stand with the stranger, the alien, and the one who is misunderstood and falsely vilified by society. This is why we are gathering. We will be praying for truth, courage, and justice.

Discrimination against GLBT people is driven by the stereotype that they are immoral, faithless, and a threat to the family and traditional values. Historians tell us that the same stereotype was used in the past to justify hatred against other marginalized groups. We know from personal interaction with GLBT people in our congregations and communities that this stereotype is false.

The vast majority of GLBT people are good, decent people who work hard, value stability in relationships, are integral parts of their extended families, and are active in their faith communities. We are convinced, from our study of Scripture, that God welcomes and does not condemn GLBT people. We call upon our legislators and people of good will across the State to speak the truth about GLBT people . . .

House Speaker Brian Bosma has pursued the most anti-gay policies of any speakers in recent memory. He would do well to take Rev. Hamilton’s words to heart. As for Rev. Hamilton’s part, Shella reported that he had no comment on his son’s ruling against Bosma.

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