Thursday, March 5, 2009

Love the bigot, hate the bigotry.

The rain poured down hard at times; when I spoke, I could see my breath form clouds in the air. I would have expected a very small crowd, at best. I would have expected that they disperse in the face of the cold and harsh rain-they did not. Many of them said we need the rain! It is a blessing for California. They sang and they applauded the speakers. Many of them renewed their wedding vows before the Mayor of Los Angeles. At the end, they vowed to support the state justices if they ruled in our favor and to work to change the law via a ballot initiative if the justices ruled against us.

I went home, drank a Theraflu and went to bed. This morning, I received a phone call from one of the volunteers at California Faith Equality. Her tone was somber as she explained that things did not look too good at the State Supreme Court. I smiled and attempted to comfort her. I received many more such calls during the day.

Will the Court uphold minority rights and protect them against the tyranny of a simple majority? Perhaps, however, a short drive to the ruins of the Manzanar Detention Center just northwest of California City will remind you that they did not intervene to protect Japanese American’s rights during WWII. The water-boarding and other torture, which our government has engaged in during these last many years, is a fresh stain on our flag. Yes, it can happen here because it did happen here and it will probably happen again.

Still, there is reason to hope. Manzanar is closed. Gitmo will be closed and we can organize, elect responsible politicians and change discriminatory laws. Is this a time to be sad, to be angry? Yes, we are human beings after all but channel those emotions positively. Let them be servants and not masters of your intellect. Let them fuel your will and not cloud your judgment.

What can you do right now? Get together with some friends, console each other and then go to

Sign up. Lend your time and your talents. Many good people are working very hard to change the present unjust reality. Ultimately, we will win. In 2000 Prop 22, which denied civil marriage to same sex couples, passed by 61.4%. In 2008 Prop 8, which denied civil marriage to same sex couples, passed by 52.2%. Which means that those in favor of legal discrimination against same sex couples LOST ALMOST 10% AT THE POLLS IN 8 YEARS! That after having spent a record 38 million dollars in a well-organized and deceptive campaign, which was in large part sponsored by non-profit religious organizations especially the California Catholic Conference of Bishops (and their surrogates), the LDS (Mormons) and fundamentalist “Christians.” In 2010, we will win equal rights under civil law.

It is unbelievable but there was a time within the lifetime of many in our state, when people of different races could not enter into civil marriage with each other. It was the will of the majority. One day, people will look at us in disbelief when we tell them that we had to fight for the right of civil marriage for same sex couples. In 2010, we will win equal rights under civil law that will be a happier and better day than today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Father Geoff,

We read about you and saw you on the news and I wanted to tell you that I admire you for your courage and the strength of your faith so I searched and found your blog. We live in Madera and my fiance grew up Catholic yet felt that he needed to leave the church "intellectually" because of their stance on this and other social questions. It's nice to read about someone that doesn't parrot the party line. Recently we attended an independent Catholic church service in Sacramento and we are looking forward to exploring that tradition that has existed for 200 years. Perhaps your journey will lead you to another Catholic tradition? (Of course, this is a self-serving question, as we would love to find a congregation closer to our home.) And we must say, we enjoy your incredibly astute and pointed comment on the hypocrisy of interpreting scripture literally in some areas and not in others. Thank you and we are glad we found your blog.