After returning home from our trip, I have been reflecting on some of my impressions. One of the things that I found notable was the social climate in San Francisco. As we drove the streets in the neighborhood where we stayed, I was happy to see same-sex partners holding hands without fear of the reaction of others.
Some of my traveling companions ridiculed those who were expressing affection for each other in this way. They did this, knowing my own feelings about respecting the sexual orientation of others, and, in the interest of harmony on the trip, I said nothing. In retrospect, I wonder if I was right in holding my tongue.
This morning I read the words of the Dalai Lama when he said, "When something needs to be done in the world to rectify the wrongs, if one is really concerned with benefiting others, one needs to be engaged, involved." Would it have been an act of engagement for me to speak out when my companions made fun of same-sex couples?
I work daily to be less judgmental. I know that one of the great failings of Christians is our quickness to label the actions of others as "right" or "wrong, " despite Jesus' teaching that his followers must refrain from condemning others when their own lives are so full of "wrongs." Yet, in order to work for social justice in the world, it is necessary to condemn injustice and work to end it.
How should each of us work to end discrimination in our society, to end the practice of labeling others as "sinful" because of their love for another person? What actions can I, as an individual, take to promote civil rights for every person? Am I obligated to speak out against injustice every time I hear injustice being promoted and in every circumstance?
These are the questions that I am contemplating this morning as I prepare my heart and mind for corporate worship. I pray that God will lead me to the answers to these questions.