[EDITOR'S NOTE:] This guest post comes to us from Reverend Andy Burnette. Andy, a native Hoosier, served as a minister in the Church of the Nazarene for six years and now serves the Unitarian Universalist Community Church in Danville, Indiana. He also has his own blog - Just Wondering.
He was concerned. Worried, said a member of my extended family, that if I continued “supporting the gay thing,” my family could suffer. “Just think of the names your son could be called at school,” he said. “Some people are pretty cruel.”
I’ve had a few such warnings since I’ve become an outspoken advocate of LGBT rights, and I’ve thought about them a few times since the birth of our daughter, Josie Renee, just two weeks ago. I want to address the rest of this post to those who are concerned about the welfare of my children:
I understand your worries. I know how tough it is to be a child. But there’s a fate much worse than being called names on the playground.
I look into the face of my little girl, still too young to do much more than cry, eat, and sleep, and I know she won’t be this small for long. Soon, she’ll say her first words, then head to preschool, and before I know it, she’ll be forming opinions on important issues.
I wonder if one day Josie will ask me, “Daddy, is it true that some people don’t want to let certain people marry or have health insurance?”
If she does, I’ll be able to look my daughter in the eye and say, “Yes, that’s true, but some of us are standing up against prejudice, and we’re winning.”
I can’t imagine having to admit that, while I believe prejudice is wrong, I didn’t say anything because I was afraid. That admission would teach her that self-preservation is more important than truth and justice, that it’s OK to be quiet about discrimination when speaking up could be uncomfortable.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
May we have the courage to do what is right, for ourselves, and for the next generation.