Creation of a Manuscript 02: Racism, Homophobia, and Civil Rights

With this post I continue my Sunday series about the creation of my present manuscript by touching on one of the themes of the story. Technically there are two stories unfolding here if I’m doing my job right. My main character, the protagonist, is Rhys Morgan a writer of best-selling horror who also happens to be gay. As the story unfolds you get a glimpse of his past growing up in a small West Virginian town and how he came out as a teenager. I don’t get to deep into it, but I do make comparisons within the context of the story between his experiences as a gay teenager in a Bible thumping community and the genesis of the historic murders in Jericho where he finds himself haunted by the spirits of the victims.

Now I know the idea of comparing racism and homophobia is not a popular one with a lot of people, yet for me the comparison is a valid one. I’m not writing this to see what type of reaction there will be or the drama that may follow. That’s the last reason I would write it because frankly I have enough drama in my damn life as it is. I am writing it because there is a similarity in both subjects, enough to create an understanding in my protagonist when it comes to the whys of how an entire family was murdered in cold blood.

Civil Rights as defined at Dictionary.com are as follows:

Rights to personal liberty established by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. constitution and certain Congressional acts, especially as applied to an individual or a minority group.
Now the 13th amendment is as follows:
Section 1:“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.Section 2:

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Okay, so I’m not an attorney or a law student, but the 13th amendment came into being to outlaw slavery after the Civil War and this defines part of the term Civil Rights. Yet, the 14th amendment defines Civil Rights as well.
The 14th amendment has five sections as seen below:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

The section though I’m emphasizing is Section 1 which does not mention race specifically or any link to race. This section just mentions the rights of citizens natural-born or naturalized and that covers the entire country and any place considered under US law. To me that covers the rights of all, including the LGBTQ community. Of course my opinion is only one and as I stated before I am no expert in the law only a average person.

From this I derive the similarities between what I consider the horrors of racism and homophobia. Both the African-American and the LGBTQ communities have and are fighting for their basic human rights. Ignorance is the main reason for both situations which have and do involve hate crimes, suppression of rights by the moral majority, and untold suffering. I get if you don’t agree with how someone lives their life–I do–yet that in my eyes does not give you the right to persecute them.

Being a Pagan I live by the creed: Do as you will as long as it harms no other. The idea is to live and let live, something I heard growing up in the Bible Belt along with Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. At some point the hate needs to stop or we will destroy ourselves from the inside out. Whatever higher power we believe in whether Pagan, Christian, Buddhist, Islāmic, Hindu, etc. would never wish us to destroy one another with rampant hatred–right?

Back to the point though. Rhys Morgan, the protagonist of The Cottage understands about the hate of a person whether it be because of their skin color/heritage or who they love. He get’s it at the core of his soul and thus he is drawn into the mysterious deaths of the Whittier family by an understanding few others might have. Being persecuted because of who you are can either open your eyes to humanities flaws or destroy you. For him he finds reclaiming his life not easy as he becomes entangled in a decades old web of hate, deception, and destruction.

Until Later…Blessed Be

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