Friday, April 17, 2015

What the Hell? - Alabama Judge Who Fought Marriage Equality Wins "Letter From A Birmingham Jail" Award.

Birmingham is in Alabama. So, evidently, is irony. (image from here.)

Okay, I don't normally rant, but really, this press release I just received really pissed me off!

"April 16, 2015 -Today, Rev. Williams Owens, President and Founder of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), announced that Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore would receive their first ever “Letter from a Birmingham Jail Award” in recognition of Justice Moore’s principled stand in defense of traditional marriage."

... “Justice Moore is an example for all of us,” stated Rev. William Owens, President of CAAP. “By making a principled and persuasive stand for marriage, Justice Moore has singled himself out as someone who is ready to defend our most cherished values and help lead this new civil rights movement. By his words and actions, he has helped preserve marriage, the family, justice, and the spirit of democracy. This is what it means to be a ‘Letter from Birmingham a Jail Courage Award’ recipient. [sic] We hope that his example inspires others to take similar action to defend marriage in their own communities.”

There is so much to be offended by here;

the presumptive posturing that they speak in one voice for the African American and religious communities,

the co-opting of the "new civil rights movement" to be about equality only for heterosexual people of color,

the false claim that keeping people you don't like from having marriage is "preserving" it,

likewise the denigration of any family that doesn't look like their heteronormative ideal,

the twisting of 'justice' to celebrate a judge urging officials to disobey a law giving equality to more people,

using the term 'spirit of democracy' as coded language to celebrate prejudice,

but I think what may rankle the most is that they've named this award after an amazing letter written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter From A Birmingham Jail."

Maybe Rev. Owens and his group should re-read that historical document, because it includes the famous line:

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Injustice - continuing institutionalized prejudice - against LGBTQ people is a threat to justice for everyone else, including people of color, the disabled, immigrants, and religious communities.

In the United States of America, we hold an ideal that children and teens in school recite as our Pledge of Allegiance daily: "With Liberty and Justice For All." I said it all the years I was in school. My husband said it when he was in school. And our daughter says it every morning. We believe in it.

It's hard to find a more succinct statement of what threatens that vision than
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
As simple - and powerful - as that.

You can read Dr. King's letter in its entirety here.

And you can find out more about how Justice Moore, Alabama's top judge, has been "calling for state officials to defy a marriage equality ruling" in this article at

Thanks for reading, and standing up for equality for everyone!

1 comment:

Jeff Baker said...

I remember when Judge Moore was running for office and caught flack for putting the Ten Commandments on his wall and then when he won he took the Ten Commandments off his wall and stuck them in a closet or a garage someplace. Then when the far right started suggesting he may have been just stringing them along and playing them for saps, Moore foisted upon the citizens of Alabama a Ten Commandments monument the size of a Buick.