“In such a toxic environment, the poor, the minorities, and the politically vulnerable populations will be the first to exhibit signs and symptoms of the deteriorating immunological picture. It is the canary-in-the-mines syndrome. When miners wanted to know if a particular mineshaft was safe from poisonous gases, they sent a canary in first. If the canary returned, the miners felt safe to go in. On our planet today, poor people, people of color, women and children, and gays and lesbians are the canaries (or sitting ducks if you prefer). Those who have any kind of privilege (gender, race, class, sexuality, age) are better able, for a time, to buffer and insulate themselves from the toxic environment — from AIDS, cancer, and other diseases. But not forever.

“There is also a moral and religious toxicity in reaction to so much upheaval, change, and worldwide political challenges. This phenomenon is called in many religions fundamentalism. In a century of increasing relativity in values, morality, and religion, fundamentalism provides absolutes and identifies the enemies. It is a kind of collective mental illness that includes obsessive thinking, tunnel vision, and functions much like other addictions.” 

– Rev. Nancy Wilson, Our Tribe: Queer Folks, God, Jesus and the Bible