Last week our nation celebrated Flag Day. Stars and stripes were waving in the breeze everywhere; they were adorned on caps, armbands, bags, T-shirts, lawns, public spaces and tiny flags on restaurant tables. I recalled that on that day, I heard a report from a colleague of many clergy who were enormously upset and disappointed with the views our President Obama expressed on marriage equality. I know that opposition to same-sex marriage had already been pounded into the wedge between progressive and conservative leaders in our nation and now it has become an explosive ever-widening the gap and I can see how we shall continue to multiply by division. The pundits will carry on their uncompromising posturing and news will make news from every bodacious remark from both ends of the spectrum.
However, as I reflected upon the flag and remembering when I was a child we were required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, standing up, with our right hand over our hearts, shoulders back, talking serious and proud. It astounds me that it ends with the phrase…with liberty and justice for all. The pledge declares and the flag symbolizes the willingness of citizens to make the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that people of this nation are treated justly, fairly, according to proper law and principle. This has for so many years not been true for same gender loving Americans of all races, classes and religions who have been ostracized, demonized and denied equal rights. I am proud of our President for his courage; he has voiced an unpopular position but it is one that is on the side of justice. His having the strength of his convictions will echo through the history books that our children will read for generations to come. The record of his position will inspire songs, stories, lesson plans, debates, reports, theses, volumes that will expound on what “justice for all” truly means and examine the practice of compassion and fairness under the law.
I am not sure what will happen in the weeks ahead. I presume there will be much debate among the clergy and other religious leaders. People will be asked to declare where they stand, what they will or will not do. But the older I get the more I realize that down the long road of life, of history/herstory, once a door to new consciousness is opened it can never be fully closed again. Everything must change and transformation begins in the hearts and minds of the people—that’s a fact. As a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I am living in the hope that the whispers of love continue to visit us and inform our private and public pursuit to do ministry with a temperament towards liberty and justice for all.
Rev. Dr. Mariah Ann Britton
CEO and Founder, The Moriah Institute