Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Times Keep Changing- Thankfully!

Two scenes from the last week for me have shown how great a change continues to be happening in our society.

Scene One: Saturday evening, "Independent Lens" on PBS, the Academy-Award nominated documentary, How to Survive a Plague. It took me back to a time over 25 years ago when AIDS was a terrifying plague, when my friend Donald was dying, his partner already gone. Political inaction was the word in Washington; judgement and fear were the words in many parts of the country. Homosexuality was still ghetto-ized and many Americans could claim they knew no gay people. The documentary gave a painful, in-depth view of what was a painful, paranoid, even hate-filled time.

Scene Two: Four days earlier, Mall of America, Minneapolis, MN. As we walked along the east entrance two young men walk by us and, moving together, held hands as they walked into the main mall area. If they hadn't walked right in front of us, we would never have noticed. They were just another couple, showing caring for each other by simply holding hands. What a joyous sight for someone who would never have believed that would be possible in my lifetime.

Much has been written about the incredibly quick change in perspective and acceptance of same-sex marriage in the past several years. The difference between the story of the movie and a couple in Minneapolis 25 years later speaks the same seismic shift. There are still those who are arguing for Old Testament-style handling of gay people in general. There are those who believe that this is a sign of how low and sinful the society of the 21st Century has become.

But perhaps it is more a sign of how compassion and love can win the hearts and minds of a nation.

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