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http://current.com/shows/viewpoint/videos/john-fugelsang-prop-8-doma-and-why-easter-matters/

 

From the March 28, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”

John Fugelsang:

Easter’s always a special time; a time when parents teach their children the story of Jesus by convincing them a rabbit entered their home to leave teeth-rotting candy. It’s a time when pro-death penalty Christians can mark the execution of anti-death penalty Jesus and it’s all irony free.

But whether you regard the Bible as ancient poetry, literal fact, parable — like the way Jesus spoke — the Easter story does have relevance for all of us. It’s a story of pain and suffering, of death and rebirth.

In the story of course, Jesus shows up in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, gets a hero’s welcome. Over the course of the week he preaches love, drives the money-changers who are exploiting the poor out of the temple.

The conservative religious bosses, the Pharisees, get very nervous and conspire with the occupying European imperial government to have him arrested. And by Friday, the very people who welcomed him have been spin-doctored into demanding his death.

And almost everybody abandons him. He’s locked up by the soldiers, sold out and abandoned by his friends. He’s executed by the state, a naked, bleeding, humiliated, outcast, criminal loser.

And of course, as the story goes, he rises from the tomb on Sunday and does not seek any kind of revenge, just keeps talking about love.

Now we’ve just witnessed what may have been the most powerful few days in the history of the struggle for LGBT rights in America — and it happened during Easter week.

With not one, but two anti-gay laws going before the U.S. Supreme Court, an American public decidedly on the side of gay marriage, and a seemingly endless procession of politicians from both parties who once opposed equality, but have now come to view it as an essential human right.

And none of this would’ve happened without the unspeakable tragedy of the AIDS crisis.

Kids born after the mid ‘90s have no memory of those awful first few years of AIDS, when people suffering from HIV were targets of scorn and cruelty and ignorance. Scientists begged for funding, politicians did nothing and thousands of people died. And if you’ve ever been close to someone who died of HIV-related disease, you know it’s a painful, degrading and demeaning way to go.

But gay people didn’t give up. They organized. They came out of the closet. The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP, was formed and began leading demonstrations designed to make the rest of America very uncomfortable. People didn’t wait for their rights; they demanded them.

And as more people came out, more Americans realized they didn’t really hate gay people. They already knew some.

In 2012, the first openly gay and openly bisexual Americans were elected into Congress and that same fall the president of the United States came out in favor of marriage equality before an important election. No doubt the White House had focus-grouped this thing to death and they knew the reality: that America was ready to be on the right side of decency and the right side of history.

And what did we see through this revolution of culture, this evolution of the heart? The greatest, swiftest advancement for civil rights for any minority group in the history of the human race. And all this good happened because of a plague.

That’s the story that led us to this particular Easter week. And that’s the story of Easter

 

 

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