*Words Delivered at Hope for Peace & Justice’s “I’m Queer and I Care Rally” at the Legacy of Love Monument in Dallas, Texas
Good evening, my name is the Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, Minister of Social Justice for Hope for Peace & Justice. I am grateful for this opportunity to be out here tonight talking about issues that have impact on the wider queer community…beyond same-sex marriage. Certainly same-sex marriage is an important issue that we spend much time on, but we want to take this opportunity tonight to talk about some other issues. An issue that is near and dear to my heart is the death penalty. Here in Texas, we are executing more people than any other state in the country. Since the death penalty was reinstated in the late 1970s, we have had 100s and 100s of people executed…some of whom were guilty of their crimes and some of whom were not. Regardless, as a person of faith, I believe that Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as our selves and our enemies. I don’t believe that you can do either while killing or executing someone. I am here tonight to push Texas to stop the cycle of violence…from the top to the bottom. The State of Texas cannot expect people to stop killing each other due to gun violence and other violences if the State continues to set the example by killing more people and perpetuating more violence. I struggle against violence because I believe that God is love and love is ultimately what can bring us together. We must work together…so that at the end of the day…love not only wins with regard to same-sex marriage but love also wins as we abolish the death penalty here in Texas. Amen.