I am uncertain as to how our society has become so out of touch with the reality of the pain and injury that is the predictable, indisputable outcome of discrimination. Measurable, undeniable harm is imposed on living, breathing human beings when we are treated as second-class citizens. The harm extends to our families, workplaces, communities, and - inexcusably - our children.
I am well-traveled in the world of activism. I have been seasoned by narrow minds and an abundance of clearly enumerated sins enacted against LGBT Americans. Quantifiable abuse is repeatedly inflicted; generally by people who lay claim to some “greater truth” that literally contradicts the precise beliefs they use to support their misguided version of love.
It is not just the fight for dignity and respect for LGBT Americans. I have moral responsibilities to publicly acknowledge the existence of widespread, systemically-entrenched racism in America, and to devote myself to participate in bringing about an end to its existence. These responsibilities extend to every ism and every phobia.
It is the very nature of prejudice and discrimination to not recognize the humanity of its victims. The continual assertion that any human beings are lesser human beings plants the seeds of destruction, and not just for those who are targeted. This kind of destruction does not discriminate. It consumes the air. It demands the extermination of knowledge and light. It is poison to the souls of everyone involved, and the only antidote is unconditional love.
Love is the light that cannot be extinguished. It carries the seeds of hope. It promises, in the middle of despair, that there will come a different tomorrow. It stands firmly in the face of fear and builds the foundation upon which the timbers of change will be raised.
My hope comes from seeing the love that is given freely, without expectations, and without conditions. I see amazing things every day. One of the great gifts of being a person who is trying to make a difference is seeing the multitude of people who are doing it too.
In the face of the un-restrained racism and indefensible homophobia that infiltrate America today, and in spite of the tumultuous struggles oppressed people endure every day, I know a new day is coming. And I know that these words from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King are true:
Well, I don’t know what will happen now; we’ve got some difficult days ahead. (Amen) But it really doesn’t matter to me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. (Yeah) [Applause] And I don’t mind. [Applause continues] Like anybody, I would like to live a long life – longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. (Yeah) And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. (Go ahead) And I’ve looked over (Yes sir), and I’ve seen the Promised Land. (Go ahead) I may not get there with you. (Go ahead) But I want you to know tonight (Yes), that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. [Applause] (Go ahead, Go ahead) And so I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. [Applause]
The path to the promised land is paved with unconditional love. The place where we are, at this moment in time, is a fork in the road. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. We have choices to make about which path to take. The truth will either be realized, or revealed.
If we choose the path upon which we have been traveling, when the truth is revealed, when the veil is finally lifted and we see the reality of what we have done, we will see our shame. We will claim that we didn’t understand, but it is not that we didn’t understand. It is that we didn’t love our neighbors.
If we choose the path that is paved with unconditional love, the truth will be realized. Perfection is not required. We are not asked to do more than we can do. We might wonder, as individuals, if we have the power to make a difference. I mean, what power do we truly have? Perhaps, the power of unconditional love. l