Admittedly, I haven't posted much of anything substantive of late, I've been mired down with my own sh*t (as a line in the musical Rent goes) and haven't felt the needed inspiration to be, well... inspirational. I'll write more about that later.
I found an article that I want to share with you now. As anyone who is gay or lesbian can attest, one of the loudest counter-arguments we hear is the disdain and frustration some white and some black folk have when anyone in the LGBT community dares to associate their discrimination with that of the experience of the African-American/African community.
You may have heard or read where I have equated the two communities. And I have. I have done it to remind us that discrimination has been experienced by many people in many generations. Just when you think we've "moved beyond that", a simple example or correlation demonstrating that it's happening again is, often times, very appropriate.
To give you an example, several years ago I was manning a LGBT information table at a UCC State Conference in New York. That was the year the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns, NY Metro Chapter (in which I was the founding president, ..ahem..) had proposed to the Metro Association to declare itself Open and Affirming, a statement that would let everyone know that in the Metro Association, no one would be condemned for their sexual orientation, whether in politics, in the ordination process, or other arrangements. As you might imagine, such a resolution was a big deal and their was much discussion. The proposed resolution eventually passed. But before the resolution passed, there was some mighty tense moments in conversation.
Anyways, back to the table I was manning. I was approached by an African American pastor who verbally confronted me and dared to ask, who the (heck) did I think I was!? and, "Can you dare to even slightly suggest that the plight of the African American can even be slightly compared to you gays?!" And I said, "Well, yeah, actually it can and does." I should have thought of more witty things to say... but those witty things didn't come to my mind until 15 minutes after the man walked away. Grrr...!! I hate it when that happens.
The thing is, in many States, you can be fired from your job, based solely on the realization or information that you're gay. You can be kicked out of your apartment, if the landlord finds out. In the state I am from (Oklahoma), those laws weren't even challenged until the one is Texas was struck down when the police broke into an apartment of two lovers to discover them sleeping together (and they were subsequently arrested for it). Fortunately, those two particular gay men had balls and, with the ACLU, challenged Texas' sodomy laws and won! (If you are unfamiliar with that story, go here.)
But here's my point: We really can compare the two--even if slavery was (and is) a more hideous crime. Stealing people from their lands and making them slaves for two hundred years is immoral, sinful, and evil. And the continued racism that exists today (because of that old slavery) is immoral, sinful, and evil. And discrimination that exists today, whether based on gender, disability, economic situation, or sexual orientation is immoral, sinful, and evil. No one person has the sole monopoly on discrimination and no one people are entitled to confront the systems of injustice. In fact, as Christians we are all entitled and empowered to do so, regardless of ones race, gender, religion, economic situation, or sexual orientation. As Jesus went about dismantling the systems of discrimination (remember the non-Jewish women he associated with?) and calling to the minds of everyone that in God's eyes, we're all equal. The Apostle Paul even reminded his readers that neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, we're all equal in God's eyes. Sure, Paul didn't get the whole gay thing- but he did lay the foundation that in God's eyes, we don't judge each other by the color of one's skin but by the content of one's character. Whether such a view is expressed by Paul or Dr. King, there are some truths that are eternal and thereby God-centered. Emancipation and anti-discrimination are other such eternal and universal truths.
And I am not the only one to think so. So did Coretta Scott King, the late wife of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And according to her, both she and Dr. King were just as adamant in the 1960s (and later after Dr. King was assassinated) that LGBT persons not be disparaged as African-Americans were and are. Standing with such icons of human equality, we can all learn the lessons that discrimination isn't just a color issue, it's a universal one.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Posted by Bo at 12:43 PM