Reminder as to what Martin Luther King said about acquiescence

John’s post below about their being a reckoning in the gay movement, and his assertion is correct:

Far too many of the gay “leaders” publicly defending the Obama administration’s lackluster record on gay civil rights either run lobbying firms with interests before the administration, or are looking for administration jobs. It’s readily transparent, it’s the same people every time. They are defending the administration for their own personal gain, at the expense of your civil rights.

It reminds me of AMERICAblog Gay’s post for Martin Luther King day, “MLK on three ways of meeting oppression,” and how we can not afford acquiescence in our movement for our civil rights. We owe it to future generations of LGBT citizens to exile those members who sell us out for their personal gain. It isn’t fun to do this, but it is something we have to be willing to do in order for the betterment of our entire society.

King lays out the different ways one can choose to respond to oppression which are resignation, violence or non-violent resistance. Of course, we and our supporters must replace some words like “Negro” with “gay citizen,” but the struggle to realize our rights is still the same old battle with the oppressor. On resignation:

To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor. Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. The oppressed must never allow the conscience of the oppressor to slumber. Religion reminds every man that he is his brother’s keeper. To accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right. It is a way of allowing his conscience to fall asleep. At this moment the oppressed fails to be his brother’s keeper. So acquiescence-while often the easier way-is not the moral way. It is the way of the coward. The Negro cannot win the respect of his oppressor by acquiescing; he merely increases the oppressor’s arrogance and contempt. Acquiescence is interpreted as proof of the Negro’s inferiority. The Negro cannot win the respect of the white people of the South or the peoples of the world if he is willing to sell the future of his children for his personal and immediate comfort and safety.

We should no longer be willing to sell the future of our next gay generation. If we attend any celebrations or cocktail parties unless it is to celebrate the satisfactory execution of promises made by the Obama Administration on ENDA, DOMA and DADT, we are compromising our future. It is as simple as that. If our leaders continue to sell us out, we must exile them from our resistance and reorganize.

It won’t be easy, but necessary, to do this because as John and Joe noted those who have become fat and happy, at our expense, are very visible and have become part of the systematic politics of the oppressor’s maintenance of the status quo. If someone is participating in acquiescence, for whatever reason, they must be identified and sidelined if we are going to move our LGBT movement forward.

I would expect to be exiled from the movement if I were actively working against equality and therefore, we should do so to our supposed “leaders” who’s motivations are suspect. Being a leader for our movement is lots of work and a humbling experience where, many times, the only reward is the knowledge you are doing the right thing. We can ill afford any leader who’s motivations have shifted from that of improving the lives of their fellow LGBT citizens to fattening their wallets, celebrity worship of certain politicians, and desperately trying to ensure their dance card is full. There are bigger, more important, social policies at stake here. Again, from the MLK King post,

We must do it as patriots to our country so that in his words, we “can make a lasting contribution to the moral strength of the nation and set a sublime example of courage for generations yet unborn.”

There are so many obvious spiritual aspects to working for LGBT civil rights. So I will end this homily like I did with the previous MLK post with an appropriate AMEN.

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