The Long Arc [Landrum]

Yesterday marriage equality momentum was halted in four states as the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.  I hear friends talking about moving out of state, and I don't blame them for wanting to live somewhere where their families are acknowledged, and, even more importantly, protected. 

Amidst the grief for my friends and congregants and colleagues affected by this, I keep repeating to myself, "the arc is long, but it bends towards justice."

We don't know that it does, of course.  This is a matter of faith.  But I believe it.  And the nature of an arc, is that if it is very long, and if you are standing on it, it will feel flat.  And you will not be able to see at times how it is bending toward justice.  It may feel like it is in fact not at all bending toward justice.  It feels like it's bending the other way in Michigan and Ohio and Kentucky and Tennessee right now. 

Theodore Parker spoke to this.  Our eyes can only see a little ways.  We cannot see the whole curve by sight -- we have to see it by conscience rather than sight, he explained.

It doesn't make things any better for the people whose daily lives are affected right now.  That is still painful, and still unjust. 

But I remind myself it took a hundred years for women to get the vote, and Susan B. Anthony didn't live to see it.  It wasn't by one march that civil rights were were won.  It was 95 years from the fifteenth amendment to year that saw the deaths of Jimmie Lee Jackson, James Reeb, and Viola Liuzzo, and then saw the passage of the Voting Rights Act.  

I can't see the arc right now very easily.  My eye reaches but little ways.  But I am sure it bends toward justice. 


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