Friday, November 22, 2013

Civil Disobedience

One of the most powerful tools to push social change is civil disobedience - a non-violent refusal to accept a law in the face of injustice.  In Montgomery County PA, D. Bruce Hanes defied Pennsylvania law and began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.  Rev. Frank Schaefer defied Methodist church law and officiated at his son's same sex wedding.  Both believed they were defying unjust laws and acting on greater authority.
Hanes believed he was acting on authority of the Supreme Court and his oath to preserve the constitution. Rev. Schaefer believed he was acting on the authority of Jesus Christ.  Both knew they were headed for a direct conflict with those who feel they must protect laws preventing same sex marriage.  They chose civil disobedience.
As we watch their stories play out in the court systems - secular and religious - we are seeing history in the making.  This is a new twist.  No matter the outcome in their particular cases, more civil disobedience will follow.  What is appealing about these two cases is that they acted as though the unjust law did not exist.  They simply did what they believed was the right thing to do.  Of course they knew there were laws that would be applied to their actions and were supposed to prevent them from doing what they did.  They did it anyway.
To the best of my knowledge neither is personally gay.  They stood and they acted on behalf of others.  This takes great courage, conviction and heart.  No one would have thought less of them if they said their position prevented them from taking this stance or acting in this way.  They personally had nothing to gain and much to loose.
These are interesting and amazing times.  It's encouraging to see examples of such courage.

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