9. If we do not do the right thing in our day, our grandchildren will look at us with same embarrassment we look at racist grandparents.
Some respondents found it offensive that to compare the struggle for civil rights for American Blacks with the struggle for GLBT rights. I would agree that there are major differences in the two movements, but I also think that all forms of oppression have some things in common as well.
We all like to think we would have marched with Dr. King or Gandhi had we been in the right place and time. Hindsight is 20/20 so it is easy to think we would have been brave at key moments in history, but social issues are not always that clear at the time. We forget that some of the most passionate defenders of slavery came from the church. At the time, many Christians looked at the biblical passages on slavery and saw that whereas several passages condemned slavery, no where did the Bible specifically condemn slavery.
If we could go back in time hear we would hear the same kind of excuses about why we should be patient and work within the system. In our praise of prophets from the past we conveniently ignore the fact that what made them prophetic was a vision unshared by the people of their time, and a courage to cross the line to do justice even if that meant they would have to break unjust laws. There comes a time when mere acceptance is not enough. There comes a time when, if we do not respond in our own place and time, we have failed to be prophetic.
Those of us who are old enough remember the racism of our teachers and family members. We can still love them for who they were to us. We can understand how they were a part of the culture of their day, but we cannot respect them as fully as if they had found the courage and the vision to get ahead of the curve and stand on the right side of history.
It is easy to say we love and accept everyone, but if our love is to mean anything to the oppressed, there are times we must leave our place of acceptance and safety in the hierarchy of our culture and stand with the oppressed of our day. This is the message of prophets, but church is usually the last to get on board. On the topic of homosexuality, it is humiliating to realize that the marines got to this insight before the church did. If the struggle for human rights were a train, the church would always be the caboose. It is time to change that.