From a Time of Great Awakening, Now is the Time to Unite All Religions Whether They Like it or Not

Sunday Feature

Stephanie Donald

By Stephanie Donald

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I can truthfully say that I’ve had a thirst for knowledge in my life so I’ve pursued learning about many subjects and today I’m wearing my Theology hat.

Jack_NicholsMy mentor, Jack Nichols, was an atheist and despite his complete disbelief in any higher power he managed to chair the Washington Society's Committee on Religious Concerns in 1963 when he sent out a letter to more than 1,000 clergymen in the Washington D.C. area. The conference worked out better and more civilly than he expected. Of course the more fundamentalist ministers agreed to disagree but he did get the support of more ministers than he expected.

 

Fifty years later, we’re observing ministers and believers in preserving traditional marriage shrinking to a minority and it has become evident to even the most strident believer in traditional Christian values in the United States (and Great Britain for that matter) that marriage equality is inevitable and their battle is at an end.

Many in the LGBT community would dance and even go so far as urinate on the grave of those who have tormented us for years but that’s no way to handle this victory. We have been through decades—even centuries of endless humiliation, gay-bashing, hate crimes and it has resulted in all sorts of self-inflicted wounds on ourselves including suicide, low self-esteem and my favorite: LGBT Teen homelessness. In my opinion there is nothing worse criminally than kicking your own kids out the door because they’re LGBT. In my mind, that beats rape or murder.

But the worst obstacle we’ve had to overcome through all these years was people like Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell, Anita Bryant and her “Save Our Children” campaign and now we’ve got hate groups like BryanAnita Bryant at Save Our Children Press Conference Fischer’s American Family Association and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

We have now reached a turning point that’s absolutely amazing. Some polls say that 55% of the American people now support equality for the LGBT community while other polls say 53%, but the point is that on the average, only 25% are totally opposed to granting equal rights to our community and most of that resistance comes from the Southern states and Republican registered men over 65-years-old.

This is a time for all of us to be bigger and show more heart than has been shown to us. That’s not to say we will we ever forget what has happened but we must forgive because we have no time for revenge and what would be the point to it? If we did try to “get even” then we would just be playing into the nest of diatribe and lies we’ve been accused of trying to do from Bryan Fischer accusing us of trying to “outlaw religion”, to Glenn Beck accusing us bringing back the Nazi Party.

To paraphrase Nelson Mandela (one of my personal heroes): LGBT Americans must recall the terrible past so that we can deal with it, forgiving where forgiveness is necessary but never forgetting.

Now is the time for us to reach out to the Pat Robertson’s, Bryan Fischer’s and Glenn Beck’s and let them know that we forgive them, that we wish to meet with them civilly and open up a dialogue between us so that we come to an understanding between us. Even if they refuse, at least we were the ones who offered the olive branch.

By doing so, only then may we both find some measure of peace and reclamation once the LGBT community takes its place as equals in the United States.

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