Monday, November 10, 2008

From Skeptical Brotha:

proposition 8: a triumph of bigotry

[thanks to Elizabeth Kaeton for pointing me to this blog post from "Skeptical Brotha ...]

As some of you know, one of Skeptical Brotha’s longtime contributors has posted that he succumed to the cacophony of lies, hatred, and fear peddled by the homophobic religious right, and voted to ban same sex marriage in California. In so doing, he defecated on the legacy of many gay and lesbian people who fought for the rights of African Americans and similarly situated people of color for full equality in this country.

Without community organizers like Bayard Rustin, a gay black man who traveled to India to study and bring back the nonviolent tactics of Mahatma Ghandhi, the civil rights movement would have suffered in this country. The remarkable thing about the multi-talented Rustin is that he was always upfront about his sexuality, he didn’t hide who he was from anybody.

For a man born nearly one hundred years ago in 1912, that little factoid is a big honkin’ deal. In addition to his civil rights activism and his methodical planning of the 1963 March on Washington, he was also a dedicated labor organizer. You remember the March on Washington, right? I believe Dr. King said somethin’ about a dream–a dream that his only living sibling has said has now been realized with the election of Barack Obama.

The late Mrs. Coretta Scott King was clear in her support for equal rights for all:

I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice… But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King, Jr., said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ … I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”

“…Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida, and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions.

…Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.”

If the First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement could be for marriage equality, what is your problem?



Sandy said...

Mr. Rustin was a friend of my mothers's - a labor, peace, and civil rights activist back in 1960s and 70s New York. He was a remarkable man. Several times I fell asleep as a little girl listening to the two of them arguing about the nuances of speech and inclusion - more often than not, that entailed what the public could "stomach."

"Will all of us ever really have full civil rights, Lucille?"

"Probably not, Bayard."

I imagine them both today, among that great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, standing with us in recent days.

"Will all of us ever really have full civil rights, Lucille?"

"Oh, most definitely, Bayard!"

john said...

Susan, one of the most abysmal failures of the No on 8 effort was the failure to get this message out into the Black community. It's not doing us a lot of good talking to each other about it.


John ... couldn't agree with you more! We are TOTALLY preaching to the choir on this blog ... but here's my thinking on choir practice:

It gets the choir ready to go out and sing for a wider audience!

Stay tuned and blessings!

john said...

Susan, good point.

Like I said elsewhere, interview your parishioner in some detail and YouTube the results all over the place. Great free publicity that might reach an audience that ought to hear it.