“President Obama has shaken his fist…at the same God who created and defined marriage.” - Franklin Graham, American Evangelical, May 10, 2012
Let us hope that the quote (frequently misquoted as “the arc of history”) made famous by Martin Luther King, Jr. and often cited by President Barack Obama has not reached the level of cliché. For when words, however profound or true, reach that level of familiarity they cease to possess the power of their intended meaning. They may be pleasant to the ear but they fail to pierce the heart and soul where change begins.
Theirs is the same god that once decreed slavery the natural order of human nature. It is the same god that once justified the murderous misadventures of the Crusades. It is the same god that directed manifest destiny to the attempted genocide of the Native American peoples. It is the same god that led men in robes to torture free thinkers who did not match their certitude of faith in the Inquisition. We should have little doubt it is the same god that informed the Third Reich in the Holocaust not only against Jews and Gypsies but against homosexuals as well.
It is a god of a thousand wars and cruelty beyond belief, a god of hatred, intolerance and bloody vengeance.
In the third millennium we have enough of these gods that divide us and lead us in violent conflict. We are tired of brutal, racist and homophobic gods that lack the common decency of ordinary people. These are divine; they are the creations of men.
It is time to recognize that the gods they are a changing. You can keep your old prejudiced religions and house them in temples of gold or chapels adorned in sequin but the gods of a new moral universe, the gods that speak to this century, will be gods of tolerance and kindness, gods of justice and equality, gods that uphold the universal creed of human dignity.
You who preach hatred and oppression (whether railing to the rafters or gently spoken), your time is past. Go back in your caves and castles, your gated communities, your prisons of demented thought.
We are all god’s children or we are none and if you cannot love equally then you cannot love at all.
We choose to bend with the arc of history just as those who came before us fought for our rights and dignity as human beings. You are the past and we are the future. We have a vision of a time when rights are not conditioned on gender or color or sexual predisposition. We see a time when all men and women are free of prejudice under the law.
We know that every minority and oppressed community has had to fight for decades and centuries against entrenched and powerful oppressors before change could be accepted. We know also that change is inevitable and that it will get better as long as people are willing to stand up and be counted.
We know as well that the fight will never really end. The struggle will go on through this generation and the next.
We know that black citizens and women have never achieved equity in opportunity or pay. We know that minorities are not afforded equal treatment in the workplace.
We know that schools in neighborhoods where the majority is of darker skin are under-funded and inadequate. We know that millions of immigrants survive as a permanent underclass in the shadows of American society, their rights trampled and their status uncertain.
Yes, those of us who believe in a world freed of its former prejudice recognize that the struggle will go on, must go on, but at least in this case the line is clear: Gays and lesbians cannot achieve equal rights without full access to the institution of marriage.
JACK RANDOM IS THE AUTHOR OF THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES (CROW DOG PRESS) AND GHOST DANCE INSURRECTION (DRY BONES PRESS). THE CHRONICLES HAVE BEEN POSTED ON NUMEROUS CITES OF THE WORLDWIDE WEB, INCLUDING THE ALBION MONITOR, BELLACIAO, BUZZLE, COUNTERPUNCH, DISSIDENT VOICE, THE NATIONAL FREE PRESS, GLOBAL FREE PRESS AND PACIFIC FREE PRESS. SEE WWW.JAZZMANCHRONICLES.BLOGSPOT.COM.