It’s gay pride month. Lots of parades. A few years ago I attended my first while visiting my twin granddaughters in Albuquerque.
We found ourselves standing next to a group shouting and waving large signs. JESUS HATES FAGS. HOMOS GO TO HELL. REPENT OR PERISH. One of the bellowing men had a gun on his hip.
We moved away but not before the “God squad” spotted us and turned to call us “slime bags” and “horrible parents deserving hellfire.” As they saw it, we were exposing children to a despicable display of immorality.
Other than that, Reverend, how was the parade?
The parade included the most exuberant people I’d ever seen—in all sizes, shapes, ages, genders, and colors; decked out in hats, dresses, leather vests, balloon pants, and teeny tiny sparkling shorts; moving on foot, roller skates, roller blades, scooters, bikes, motorcycles, unicycles, pogo sticks, and stilts; riding on floats, horses, buses, and double-decker buses; sitting in Model Ts, sleek convertibles and wacky pickup trucks; swinging on rainbows; singing, skipping, dancing, and prancing while tossing kisses, beads, and pounds of candies.
(My granddaughters remember it as the “Candy Parade.”)
The parade rolled on even as that gaggle of self-righteous men kept yelling threats and condemnations in the name of Jesus.
And then something happened.
A colorfully festooned marching band entered the parade route and stepped sprightly down the boulevard. When it came to the site of the frothing protesters, the band stopped and pivoted smartly toward those hate-filled faces.
The director lifted her arms and tapped her baton. The band began to play: Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.
The crowd cheered and joined in singing. Little ones to him belong they are weak, but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.
Then the band politely waved at the protesters, blew kisses, pivoted, and marched on down the boulevard.
I felt tears running down my cheeks. (Yes, I have issues with Christianity but not with Jesus!) That’s it, I thought. That’s what the gospel of Jesus is all about—a creative, nonviolent, compassionate response to hatred.
I saw one example that day. And I’m pretty sure it’s not the only way to meet hate with love.
Let us count the ways.
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PS: I hope to see and meet many of you at the book launch & signing event, Sunday, June 13, at 2 p.m. Bavarian Inn gazebo (or in the large tent, in case of rain). Copies of 80 Dispatches from the Devil’s Domain are available in advance at Four Seasons Books or on-line here.
See Paula’s photo montage on the home page. Posted June 6.
Thanks for the morning boost on this sunny hot Sunday. I can just see [the whole scene] in my mind’s eye.
When Swiss theologian Karl Barth, known for his multiple volumes of words, visited America for the first time, many reporters swarmed him, asking questions. One reporter inquired, “Dr. Barth, if you could summarize your theology in a few words, what would you say?” He quickly responded: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” It seems to me that both Barth and the band in your story hit the right note!
How wonderful to see the shift in attitude growing in our Land. Jesus and Love, reminds me of the parable of casting seeds upon the soil. Seeds that are receptive will respond to the fertile ground and with a little water sprout and grow, while others will slowly wither away. From the acorn sprouts a mighty tree. Gay Pride Week/Month – Respite for a weary people who have suffered for too long.
Lately I’ve seen a bearded, self-righteous man at the traffic light corner near Home Depot off Rt. 9 and near Sheetz off 340. He carries a banner saying something like “Burn in Sin” while holding a Bible under his arm. I heard him spouting through a microphone, “If you have an innie you are a woman, an outie you are a man, PERIOD!” I thought to myself, “what is he so angry about?” I also thought there is nothing that I could say to this guy to change his mind, but maybe the next time I’ll roll the window down and sing, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Thanks for that!
What a picture you paint! Just finished mindfulness practice, and truly saw & felt this jubilant parade experience, the venom, and the band’s loving musical response. That song is in my soul from years as a child…& truthfully – it wasn’t my immediate response – so I keep learning and growing to thoroughly understand how to live & love in the face of fear & hate. My brother was a gay man in rural Wisconsin when it wasn’t safe to come out. He kept to himself, except for a few friends he made (& a very few old friends he kept). Celebrating pride in being who we are is so affirming. I am grateful my brother trusted me with his truth; and I only wish he had experienced such a celebration. Long live truth & love.💕🎶
Some time ago you told us that you could interchange the name Jesus with love. I’ve used that phrase many times. Your story brought a tear to my eye. Then I heard openly gay Secretary Pete B. speak so eloquently on tv and I smiled with joy at the welcome changes in our country.
Randy, while your story tells a wonderful “love rules hate”, I’m afraid the time between your story’s originally being seen by you, and the writing of the stories, there have been major divisiveness coming to fruition in our country! It is so sad to live today and see day to day the hatred that fills every day life. If Jesus were alive today he certainly would have his/her hands full! Thanks, for sharing a wonderful picture 👏🥰🙏