Monday, November 17, 2008

Pot, Calling Kettle Black

Leaders of the U.S. Mormon and Catholic churches are upset because they believe they are being targeted for supporting California Proposition 8. All they were doing, they say, is "exercising the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States--that of free expression and voting." How unfair to target them for just urging their members to vote!

Oh please. Can you say "millions of dollars" poured into the campaign? A well-orchestrated effort to get their members out knocking on doors and making phone calls to spread fear?

On Saturday after the Farmer's Market we stopped by the massive rally in the park blocks. Rallies were held all over the country in opposition to Proposition 8. The sound system was pretty awful, but the crowd was massive. Current Portland Mayor Tom Potter (who has a lesbian daughter) spoke, followed by Portland's openly gay mayor-elect Sam Adams. Add to that the fact that very RED Silverton has its first transexual mayor-elect...and you've got a pretty diverse mayoral group in Oregon!

What I loved about this rally was my 12-year-old's questions. I was explaining the whole Proposition 8 story to him and explaining signs such as "I love my gay Mormon husband." Chris just could not understand what anyone would have against same-sex marriage, or why any one's church would urge their members to discriminate against gays and lesbians. He remembers attending the same-sex wedding of friends years ago, back when Multnomah County legalized marriage for a few months. Gay and lesbian families are just another kind of normal for him and for all of our kids. This gives me hope.

Coincidentally, on Sunday during our adult forum at church we discussed the life of the amazing Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who stood up to both Lutheran and Catholic churches in Germany during the Nazi era. He even took it one step further by collaborating to assassinate Hitler. Bonhoeffer founded the Confessing Church in Germany, along with Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller.
Niemoller was the one who wrote this famous poem, a commentary on the fanatical support Germans and other Europeans gave to the Nazi terror (90% of German citizens voted for the Nazi party). Here is the poem in its original translation:

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.
Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.
Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.
Als sie die Juden holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Jude.
Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.
And in its English translation:

If we do not speak up for the rights of others, who will be left to speak for us?

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