One day in the summer of 1984, a 23-year-old gay man was walking near Kenduskeag Stream in Bangor, Maine with another man when he was attacked by three teenagers. They kicked and chased him and eventually threw him to his death off a bridge.
In 2009, the town built a memorial in a small flower garden near the site of his death, and it was maintained by a few residents. Two weeks ago, the memorial was vandalized with a spray-painted slur.
But the town of Bangor is unfazed. About 75 people from the community gathered to rededicate the memorial this weekend. In spite of stormy weather, representatives from churches and other organizations gathered to show strength in the face of hate. From the article linked above:
Engraved on the stone near the spot where Howard died are the words: “May we, the citizens of Bangor, continue to change the world around us until hatred becomes peacemaking and ignorance becomes understanding.”
Absolutely inspiring. I wish more publications covered this and other examples of immense strength in the LGBT community and in its allies. This is what we need right now.
I suspect that what Harry Knox says at the beginning of this video is true. He refers to two polls that have been done of mainline protestants. (Unfortunately, he doesn’t mention what these polls were, who conducted them, how they were carried out.) One poll was of clergy and 2/3 said that they wanted to be more welcoming of lgbt members, and to support same-sex marriage rights, but that they were waiting for their congregations to accept it. The other poll, of church members found 2/3 supported lgbt equality but were waiting for their church leaders to come out and lead on the issue.
"All life is precious. What will it take to reverse the trauma that we inflict on others that produces permanent, indelible scars? When will we see the injustice in the social, emotional and psychological harm that we impose on others?"
-Rev. Dr. T Anthony Spearman, pastor of the Clinton Tabernacle AME Zion Church in Hickory, NC, speaking on behalf of Equality North Carolina, in opposition to an amendment that would ban marriage between same-sex couples in North Carolina, and potentially go much further by imperiling basic domestic partner benefits for those who are lucky enough to get them from an employer.
…maybe homosexuals really are born that way. Maybe they don’t have as much of a choice as our theology says they must. Or maybe God has unfairly laid upon them a requirement that’s almost impossible for them to meet. Their very existence, not to mention their recent flourishing and acceptance within mainline Christian denominations, is a vivid reminder that our theology just might be wrong. We have to come to grips with the fact that not all of those who are committed to picking up their crosses and following Christ will also carry all of our own convictions with them. Jesus makes our own burdens light: how wrong is it of us to insist upon placing burdens on the back of others? Where we are wrong, we trust our loving Father to correct us. And so we must encourage one another’s faith, entrust others’ commitment to error to God, and work on getting the planks out of our own eyes.
"I believe that today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it: we must search for fragments, splinters, toe-nails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and soul."— Henry Miller