Monday, December 7, 2009

Rowan and Barack: both of you need to speak up!

I was having a really hard time this weekend.  I was in a bear of a mood.  There are more and more ties to US evangelical churches influencing legislation in Uganda; the healthcare reform public option was being watered down;  the economy is starting to recover, but it's not showing in MY budget....etc.  Then, a couple of wonderful things started happening.

  1. The Episcopal Diocese of LA elected an out, partnered lesbian as one of its suffragan bishops.  This is significant for two reasons.  First, she is only the second female to be elected as a bishop in LA (the other is her colleague who was elected in the same election); and second, she is the second openly gay bishop in the US.
  2. The Affirmation Declaration was publicized.  We need more progressive, pro-gay voices speaking out. 
  3. The New Jersey committe passed marriage equality! On to the Senate!
However, even with the positive news, there are some issues that need to be addressed.  I was struck by the parallels between Rowan Williams and Barack Obama.  Both men are highly educated, and made strong statements about equality and social justice before rising to high office.  It can be argued that those statements helped put them in that office.  Once they are in office, they back off of their strongly advocated positions for more neutral, low-key ones--Mr. Obama on multiple issues including the healthcare public option, various LGBT legislation, etc.;  The Most Rev and Rt Hon The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury on Uganda.  I find it interesting that both of them claim to be 'working on things' but when the chips are down, they are silent.

This is deplorable.  It's no wonder the religious and secular political tone has sharply shifted to the right.  The right wing knows how to motivate it's base getting them to speak out, and the more progressive voices remain silent waiting for someone else to speak up.  Because they are not speaking out to counter the conservative voices, the decision makers then think the conservative voices are the consensus, and therefore the 'voice of their constituents'.  As my mother told me when I was dealing with bullies in school who were picking on me, "Deciding not to make a decision, is making a decision." 

This non-decision to not speak out and to wait on others is simply political cowardice.  If you can't fight for the courage of your convictions, then what can you fight for?

"Those who stand for nothing, will fall for anything."--Alexander Hamilton

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