Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I apologize

Last night as I was watching the election returns, a commentator told a story from his childhood. In 1964, at age 10, his family visited Washington DC and some of the surrounding areas. They stopped to have a meal at a diner and on the table were printed place mats that said something to the effect of "We apologize for our government that has removed the traditional right to refuse to serve colored people." He said that message underscored the racial divisions in our country in a way he had not experienced before or after. With Obama winning the election, that scar would finally heal.

And then last night in multiple states laws were passed to institutionalize discrimination against GLBT people. On the night when we finally embraced the fullness of American promise for people of all colors, we shut the door on those of differing sexual orientations. I apologize for that.

I am doubly ashamed of those who call themselves Christians and yet used lies and fear tactics to push through this legislation. It was a strategy below the standards of anyone who calls themselves followers of Jesus.

I don't know what comes next. I don't know whether the law can or will be challenged in the courts or if we will once again have an initiative on gay marriage in the future. I do know I am heartbroken for friends who have been told that they are not deserving of full rights. I feel angry at a government that has told me how to practice my ministry in presuming to tell me who I can and cannot marry (FWIW, I won't listen). I am frustrated at the African American community who do not see the parallels here to their own experience and voted overwhelmingly to institutional discrimination. Still, I am hopeful because the arc of history and the movement of God through the years always moves towards justice. I am resolute in standing with those whose love must withstand not only the prejudice of some of the surrounding population but also the weight of unjust laws.

4 comments:

Michael Mahoney said...

I submit the apology is not yours to offer; you clearly did what you can on this issue.

I must point out that it is not the government that did this - it is the people of your state. They are the ones who decided - twice now - that this is what they want.

I would also point out that the state does not tell you how to conduct your ministry. Not even your denomination (who opposed same sex marriage) can. You are free to conduct weddings as you see fit; they just will not be recognized by the state.

I know this is a bittersweet day for you, Roy. I think it is telling, though, that though every other single ballot and initiative in the country went to the liberal side, and democrats won the White House and many seats in Congress and state houses, all the same-sex marriage bans passed.

I suppose this is far from over. I know there will be legal challenges (though I am at a loss how one can call a constitutional amendment unconstitutional, and I have no doubt that ultra-liberal activist judges are not done with this.

gen said...

An excerpt from something I came across today:

"That the desires of the majority of the people are often for injustice and inhumanity against the minority is demonstrated by every page of the history of the whole world." - John Adams

"Bing! Yesterday those who oppose gays and lesbians won in Florida, Arizona, Arkansas and California because that’s the way it’s always been. The majority has scant historical record of voting in favor of the minority...

Do you need an example? Okay. How about inter-racial marriage? In 1959 when the California Supreme Court legalized it, only 4% of American approved. When the Federal Supreme Court legalized it nationwide in 1967, only 20% of American approved. It wasn’t until 1997 - that’s only eleven years ago! - that a true majority of 61% approved of inter-racial marriages. (Gallup Poll resource). If the Supreme Court hadn’t intervened and called inequality for what it was can you even begin to imagine how long it might have taken before inter-racial couples could have married? Would it have even happened by now?"
-Anita from Grace Unfolding Ministries

Change is difficult...I am being patient.

Mike said...

Oh get off your soapbox...damn! Such a bleeding heart! The people sent a clear message to the judges that decided they alone had the power to over rule the will of the people who had already made clear their decision on the issue!

roy said...

Michael, Yes, I think you are correct, this issue is not finished and wouldn't have been regardless of what happened at the polls. In either case, lawsuits were likely.

Mike, clearly you don't understand the role of the constitution. As Gen pointed out, one of it's major roles is to protect the minority from the majority. God help us all, if we allow majority opinion to write a constitution. Minorities all trough history bear testimony to what happens when that is the case. Fortunately, the framers of our constitution knew better even if the state of California does not.

And as I have said before, the judges did not and do not have the power to override the will of the people, their power is in interpreting the constitution. It is the constitution that overrode the will of the people... just as it did in the cases Gen mentioned.