In 1964 when I was 15, our priest went to Selma to march for Civil Rights. The following Sunday, high off the experience in Selma, he preached a sermon on civil rights to our all-white parish. My father was a religious man who prayed the rosary daily. But that Sunday he stood up in the middle of the sermon and herded us out the door, muttering "dirty nigger-lover" on the way to the car. Amazed, I looked at my father and wondered, what God does he pray to?
I've been on a fascinating, wondrous spiritual journey of discovery ever since.
I, too, am horrified by the vicious hate rhetoric of Glenn Beck and his rabid followers. I've responded to Beck with a song, "I'm a Social Justice Christian" to the tune of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." I put my camera on a tripod, sat down and recorded the song, and posted it on YouTube.
I'd like you to check it out. This song is just a small start, but if Jim Wallace is going to be successful in getting a nationwide movement started, music will be an important part of it. I'll happily write songs for the movement.
But back to the issue that prompted me to write. In the few days that my song's been on YouTube, I've been receiving vile, stomach-turning hate mail from Beck fans. It's very disturbing.
Beck preaches hatred, bigotry, racism and paranoia every day to millions, 3 hours on radio; an hour on prime time tv. But a person who peacefully protests the hate for 2 minutes becomes a target for more hate. And our public dialog is growing uglier and more violent by the day.
Social justice Christians have to unite, stand up and speak out.
I'm blessed by Marcy's e-mail and her gesture of solidarity. Like the video I posted yesterday of high school students and their community standing together to oppose hatred, we must stand together to defy the forces of fear. Marcy grew up in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement of the '60s. Many of us today grew up in the false sense of equality and suburban normalcy of the 80s and 90s. There is no standing still when it comes to liberation - either we move forward, or we lose what our predecessors fought so hard to accomplish.
Oh, thought you might enjoy this other song from Marcy, too!