The Rev. Dr. Scott Jones of Oklahoma City, pastor of Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ, is certainly having an interesting week.
The Oklahoma Gazette of 2/11/2009 has a column written by Jones, The real ‘gay agenda’ in which he responds to the latest nonsense by Sally Kern — her recent jaw-droppingly stupid speech to the John Birch Society citing a 20+ year old bestselling book After the Ball as the top secret “gay agenda” for obtaining equal rights.
Jones explains about the thousands of rights, large and small, that are denied to GLBT people, and that the only agenda they desire is to be regarded equally under the law.
That would be an accomplishment, and a good week’s work, for most folks, but wait … there’s more.
Invited by Rep. Al McAffrey to give the prayer in the legislature, Rev. Jones was there today and gave a Christian call to community.
… So, today, with abiding faith and calm assurance
We invoke your presence on these precedings.
You are the Creator and Parent of us all.
In your divine majesty you have made us each and every one an image of you,
Our splendid diversity reflecting your infinite glories.
You are our Redeemer and Liberator.
Companion to the poor,
You have promised to
Lift up the powerless and cast down the powerful,
To gather the outcasts,
Heal the brokenhearted,
And bind up their wounds.
You have proclaimed release to the captives,
Recovery of sight to the blind,
And to let the oppressed go free.
You Sustain and Comfort us
Filling us with your Holy Spirit
And thereby uniting us with all creation in every time and place
A fellowship of solidarity
A beloved community
Reminding us that what we have done unto the least of us, we have done unto thee. …
Much to my consternation, official prayers like this are a daily occurrence in the halls of our government, from local to national. They are, it seems to me, mostly ignored, maybe even unheard, by those present.
But that wasn’t the case today in Oklahoma, though. Because Scott Jones is a gay man and in introducing his prayer, he made that fact clear — although I am sure the remark about his family, and “loving partner, Michael Cich” did not come as a shock to the legislators, who get wind of these symbolic invitations in advance, and you know they have a gossip mill just like any other workplace.
Anyway, after giving his fairly inoffensive prayer (we’re not anywhere near Jeremiah Wright territory here, we’re not even rocking the boat on civil rights a la MLK in ’67), one Republican legislator objected to adding the prayer to the record — just a stupid bit of parliamentary business — and called for a vote on it, and then 20 voted against.
20 of our finest citizens, ladies and gentlemen. See, this is Oklahoma, and these are rightwing conservative Christians we are talking about. They are proudly ignorant, mean-spirited and childish, and they think their faith calls them to that kind of thinking and behavior.
Stand up proud now, y’all, because history will not be kind to you:
Kern (yeah, what’d you expect?)
Maybe, in 48 years, these people will be ashamed of themselves as Elwin Wilson was earlier this month when he tearfully apologized to John Lewis, now a U.S. Representative, for being a bigoted shithead in 1961 when he beat Lewis up for violating a Whites Only sign.
Jones didn’t get beat up today, not physically, but the rude and disgusting behavior of 20 Oklahoma congresspersons was a public statement of hate and intolerance, and they meant for Jones to feel it with the same force as a physical attack. They may consider their vote a symbol of their Christian faith, but in fact it only represents their own smallness, and Oklahoma’s major problem
They better hope their god is one of mercy, because they will need a lot of it.