Like Black Church, St. Patrick’s Day Parades Are Anti-Gay

saint patrick's day parade

And like my ancestors of the African diaspora, the Irish were once slaves a.k.a. “Indentured Servants”, and bound for the Americas by the British. King James II and Charles I enslaved them by selling 30,000 Irish prisoners as slaves, making Ireland, as was done with Africa, a huge source of human livestock. The forced interbreeding of Irish females with African males was widespread on British plantations in the Caribbean and U.S. until it was outlawed in 1681, giving birth to anti-miscegenation laws.

As a matter of fact, the Irish didn’t become “white” in America until they fully participated in the wave of anti-black violence that swept the country in the 1830s and 1840s, where unskilled Irish men competed with free African Americans for jobs.

So I ask, what would St. Patrick do in this situation?

He would unquestionably welcome Irish LGBTQ, especially in a parade named after him.

St. Patrick was a man who used his experience of struggle to effect change.

As a 5th century English missionary to Ireland, St. Patrick was born in 387 and died on March 17, 461 AD. He was taken prisoner by a group of raiders attacking his family’s estate that transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity.

Rev. Irene MonroeAfter six years as a prisoner, St. Patrick escaped, but returned to Ireland as a missionary to convert them to Christianity. As a priest, he incorporated traditional Irish rituals rather than eradicating their native beliefs. St. Patrick used bonfires to celebrate Easter since they honored their gods with fire, and he superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what we now know as the Celtic cross.

While many parade officials may think they are honoring the St. Patrick’s Day tradition by excluding its LGBTQ communities, like the Black Church, they will only be dishonoring themselves.

And, truth be told, no one knows how to throw a party or put on a parade like the LGBTQ community.

Rev. Irene Monroe

Published by the LA Progressive on March 17, 2011
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About Rev. Irene Monroe

Rev. Irene Monroe is a Ford Fellow and doctoral candidate at Harvard Divinity School. One of Monroe’s outreach ministries is the several religion columns she writes - “The Religion Thang,” for In Newsweekly, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender newspaper that circulates widely throughout New England, “Faith Matters” for The Advocate Magazine, a national gay & lesbian magazine, and “Queer Take,” for The Witness, a progressive Episcopalian journal. Her writings have also appeared in Boston Herald and in the Boston Globe. Her award-winning essay, “Louis Farrakhan’s Ministry of Misogyny and Homophobia”, was greeted with critical acclaim.

Monroe states that her “columns are an interdisciplinary approach drawing on critical race theory, African American , queer and religious studies. As an religion columnist I try to inform the public of the role religion plays in discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. Because homophobia is both a hatred of the “other ” and it’s usually acted upon ‘in the name of religion,” by reporting religion in the news I aim to highlight how religious intolerance and fundamentalism not only shatters the goal of American democracy, but also aids in perpetuating other forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, classism and anti-Semitism.”