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If you're pro-gay marriage, here's a thought...

Many folks who are pro-gay marriage liken their fight for equality in marriage to the civil rights movement. I don't happen to agree, as I believe there is a difference to the way one is born (dark-skinned, homosexual, near-sighted, etc.) and the way one chooses to behave. However, for the sake of this discussion, let's go with the gay-marriage/civil rights comparison.

As a nation, we just spent some time reflecting on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech at the Lincoln Memorial 50 years ago. I consider Dr. King a personal hero, a flawed man, but surely led by God to do some great things. He also knew a thing or two about how to change the mind of people who hated him and everything he stood for.

Recently, a Christian couple in Oregon (Melissa Klein and her husband) chose not to prepare a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. Their business, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, was founded, the owners said, on their Christian beliefs, and they believe that marriage is ordained by God to be between one man and one woman. Thus, they turned down the order.

In response to the complaint, the bakery's co-owner Melissa Klein argued that turning away the couple was "definitely not discrimination at all."
"We don't have anything against lesbians or homosexuals," she said in August. "It has to do with our morals and beliefs. It's so frustrating because we went through all of this in January, when it all came out."
It turned into war: a lawsuit (which the Kleins lost) and an spewing of hatred towards the Kleins. Here's just a little sample of what came the Kleins' way:

Klein told me he received messages threatening to kill his family. They hoped his children would die.
“You stupid bible-thumping, hypocritical b**ch.  I hope your kids get really, really, sick and you go out of business,” read one e-mail.
You get the drift. The Kleins have chosen to close their bakery, partly because of the threats to their family, and partly because other bakeries in the area were also being targeted, and they did not want others to lose their businesses as well.

Now, some thoughts from Martin Luther King:

Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence described in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom. The six principles include:
  1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is a positive force confronting the forces of injustice, and utilizes the righteous indignation and the spiritual, emotional and intellectual capabilities of people as the vital force for change and reconciliation.
  2. The Beloved Community is the framework for the future. The nonviolent concept is an overall effort to achieve a reconciled world by raising the level of relationships among people to a height where justice prevails and persons attain their full human potential.
  3. Attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil. The nonviolent approach helps one analyze the fundamental conditions, policies and practices of the conflict rather than reacting to one’s opponents or their personalities.
  4. Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve the goal. Self-chosen suffering is redemptive and helps the movement grow in a spiritual as well as a humanitarian dimension. The moral authority of voluntary suffering for a goal communicates the concern to one’s own friends and community as well as to the opponent.
  5. Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence. The nonviolent attitude permeates all aspects of the campaign. It provides mirror type reflection of the reality of the condition to one’s opponent and the community at large. Specific activities must be designed to help maintain a high level of spirit and morale during a nonviolent campaign.
  6. The universe is on the side of justice. Truth is universal and human society and each human being is oriented to the just sense of order of the universe. The fundamental values in all of the world’s great religious include the concept that the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice. For the nonviolent practitioner, nonviolence introduces a new moral context in which nonviolence is both the means and the end.
If the right to marriage for homosexuals and the civil rights movement REALLY are connected, then why are the proponents of gay marriage not following the person most responsible for moving forward the quest for civil rights in this country? Why are they not looking to his directives, his thoughts, his philosophy as their guiding light, as it were?

I wonder what the Rev. Dr. King would think of the Kleins. I wonder if he would have sent them an email, calling Mrs. Klein a bitch, or saying that he hoped their children died. No, we all know he wouldn't have. He would have done now what he did then: embraced them with love, prayed with them and for them, and called for a nonviolent solution.

Of course, this is only speculation on my part. Of course, this only makes sense, as well, if gay marriage and civil rights really ARE connected. Just a thought....


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I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
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the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.