Freedom Writer |
March 1996 |
Five tips for social action
Mel White is the national minister of justice for the Universal
Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, the only Christian
denomination with a primary outreach to gays and lesbians. For 30
years, Dr. White served the evangelical Christian community as a
pastor, seminary professor, best-selling author,
prize-winning filmmaker, communications consultant, and ghostwriter to
some of its most famous and powerful leaders, including Billy Graham,
Jerry Falwell, Dr. James Kennedy, Ollie North, and Pat Robertson. In
1993 he was installed as dean of the Cathedral of Hope
Metropolitan Community Church in Dallas, Texas. With 14,000
congregants, it is the nation's largest gay and lesbian congregation.
Dr. White is the author of Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and
Christian in America.
Dr. White delivered the closing address at the "Spotlight on the Right
Conference," sponsored by the Institute for the Study of the Religious
Right and the MultiCultural Collaborative held at Holman United
Methodist Church in Los Angeles on November 21, 1995. These five tips
for social action are excerpted from his remarks.
© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.
- Never be silent or inactive in the face of injustice. Never.
- Secondly, a belief that the Creator, Allah, God, your higher
power, the highest power is, at its heart, at her heart, at his heart,
pro-justice. When you are doing something for justice, to make things
fair for God's little ones, you are on the side of the universe! You
have to believe that. Ghandi was not a Christian. He said, "I might
have become one, but I never met one." Whether you are reading the
Buddhists or the Hindus or the Christians or the Jews, at the heart of
their understanding is that the Creator is — at the heart —
Jeremiah says, "Justice is where God sits." Micah says, "Justice is
the place God lives." When you do justice, something happens to
transform your life. Ghandi says he started out working to get the
British out of India. But then he realized that what was happening to
the people who got the idea, was that the captivity was getting out of
them, whether the British left or not. Once you discover Soul Force,
no one can keep you in chains.
- The third rule is, we have an amazing ability to change. Our
adversary has an amazing resilience to change for the good. You should
read the correspondence of when Martin Luther King Jr. came out saying
that Governor Wallace could become an integrationist. He got dumped
on. And when I was in jail in Virginia Beach, Gary got me a newspaper
photo of Mr. Wallace sitting at the bridge at Birmingham saying, "I
was wrong." And King, from wherever his eternal soul rests, says, "I
told you so."
- The fourth rule is that the only thing we have to counteract
misinformation is truth. Truth and love, relentlessly.
- Fifth, don't confuse the adversary with the adversary's ideas.
Separate the person from the idea. "They are victims of misinformation
just like you were, Mel!" Pat Robertson has simply not caught on yet.
He will catch on. He's a victim of misinformation. See him as that.