Saturday, April 2, 2016

NO HATE IN OUR STATE: Decide to Love

Transcript of a speech given at a "No Hate in Our State" Rally, in response to the homophobic message of Franklin Graham, in Sacramento, CA March 31, 2016:

We are here today, because we want to show the world that Franklin Graham doesn’t speak for all Christians. We are here today because we are committed to a state and nation where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons and their families receive equal protection under law as straight and cis-gendered persons and families. We are here today, because we will resist evil, injustice and hatred in all the forms they present themselves, and we will fight back boldly and beautifully through the power of love.

The Christian faith I was born into and have committed my life to is one that embodies the great commandments that Jesus taught: to love God with all of who I am, and to love my neighbor as myself. We are to love God with all of who we are: in the fullness of our gayness or straightness, in the fullness of our whiteness or our blackness, in the fullness of our abilities. There is no part of us that should be held back or kept closeted, away from God. And we are to extend the love that we feel about ourselves to those around us, whether they are like us or not. To do anything less, is to fail to live into the faith that Jesus has set before us.

For God is love, and love is of God. When the church, when a faith leader, when Franklin Graham fails to see or recognize love, yes, even that love between two men or two women, I believe they have failed to live into the faithful example that Jesus embodied. Love is the heart of Christianity. It ought to be evident in the work we do, the positions we take, the relationships we build. It ought to manifest in breaking chains of hate and shame that have ensnared our brothers and sisters from living into their full selves.

We who are religious leaders have a responsibility to let folks know that they are beautiful, just as they are, and never beyond God’s loving embrace.

Franklin Graham is not leading with love when he calls marriage equality “detestable”. He is not leading with love when he says that when lesbians and gays live out their love openly it is “moral corruption.” He is not leading with love he claims that lgbt rights and advocacy are the works of Satan.

I will say this: Franklin Graham, who is on a Decision America tour, is right: it is time to make a decision, America, but not the decisions he thinks:

·       There is a decision to make, America: will we continue to fan the flames of racism or will we live into the beauty of diversity found in the human family?

·       There is a decision to make, America: will we ignore the cries of the poor or will we seek economic justice?

·       There is a decision to make, America: will we allow transphobia to become legislated into law, or will we seek to ensure that every person be allowed to live into their full gender expression?

·       There is a decision to make, America: will we roll back the great legal strides that the lgbtq community has made, or will we remain vigilant, so lgbtq children can grow up without fear, without shame, without bullying or violence?

·       There is a decision to make, America: will we build walls that divide, or will we build crosswalks of hope at the intersections of oppressions?

I will not allow hate to fester in our state. I will stand up and speak out, on this day and every day, for justice, for hope, for love.

Will you stand up and speak out with me?

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