The American Transformation II

Laus, Praise and Kudos to the Reverend Amos Brown and the NAACP

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Why? Because they stood up for human rights in denouncing Prop 8!

At an annual fund raiser in my neighborhood, at the Cathredral Hill Hotel, five blocks from where I live, there was a lot of emotion and commotion the other night because many members of the NAACP decided to boycott the annual fundraiser for the important work the NAACP does in promoting civil and human rights.

Why? Because they said:

 A Moral Wrong Is Not A Civil Right – Black Pastors Fight ...

To that I say: bologna!

A human right cannot be a moral wrong

and your mos ain't necessarily my mos!

mos, moris  = habit or custom > moral = habitual or customary

But then, comes a true civil rights hero from

Third Baptist Church of San Francisco:

Rev. Amos Brown on Baptists Refusal to Perform Gay Marriage: "Though I am a Baptist, I refuse to be a bigot."

and I just wanted to thank him for restoring my confidence in solidarity!

Rev. Amos C. Brown

OK, now back to my second installment of reflections on the American Transformation.

It is remarkable that President-Elect Obama may appoint Colin Powel to the post of Secretary of Education. Cf.: Colin Powell: Secretary Of Education?  Remarkable, because it would be counter-intuitive to appoint such a great general to that post rather than say, to Defense.

But upon reflection, I think it would indeed be a stroke of genius and surely send a very  significant message to the world: education--not military might is the most powerful agent for change and transformation!

The Powel doctrine moreover has been to use overwhelming force in military endeavors.

Just so, what we need now most of all is overwhelming force in transforming the educational level of the American electorate. We need a total overhaul of our K-12 educational system.

Powell might just be the perfect man for the job. 

You may recall the quote on the Spanish poet Gracia Lorca at the end of my journal entry 

a quote which I obtained from

Along with his poetry and plays, Lorca was also attacked for his homosexuality. In his plays and poetry he increasingly drew the conclusion that problems of sexuality could only be resolved through liberation of society from poverty and cultural and religious backwardness.


In a democracy human rights cannot be fully implemented as civil rights in any society still largely driven and controlled by a culturally and educationally deprived electorate.

This is true for Iraq and Afghanistan as well as for our own United States of America. The tenets of the Declaration of Independance have only been partially implemented. The American Revolution and the American Civil War amounted to an inchoate quietus:  incomplete settlement, unfinished business

Transformation is an ongoing process.

We will need great teachers and preachers, educators and theologians to help implement the promises made in the Declaration of Independence--only partially implemented in the American Revolution and the American Civil War - what we do not need is backwardness.

Such transformation comes in stages, and what comes in stages often is prone to many  inconsistencies. Few human beings are always consistent--I certainly cannot claim consistency for myself in many ways, as those who know me would be ready to testify to.

Thus I have to report that the Reverend Amos Brown has another less favorable side:

Amos Brown from which I will quote only one less virulently negative blurb:

Some African American religious organizations are brazen in their open rebuke of African American Buddhists. In an article titled, "Buddha's all-American,” featured in San Francisco's July 11, 2001 issue of the East Bay Guardian Reverend Amos Brown is reported to believe that African Americans who leave their church to explore Eastern spiritualities are, quite simply, traitors. Brown is quoted as saying, “The Baptist church is synonymous with black history." It's important to note that Reverend Brown is a former San Francisco supervisor as well as senior pastor of Third Baptist Church of San Francisco - [From] Black Buddha: Living Without Fear 

I simply don't know enough about the the Reverend Amos Brown to come to a solid consclusion--but his stance on Prop 8 is right on--so I will just leave it at that. We need to gather support as we may, always aware of the inconsistencies in human nature and hopeful that eventually humanity will grow up.

Christianity does not have a monopoly on backwardness. Many Buddhists and Hindus themselves need remedial education when it comes to the human rights of gay people as well. To say nothing of Islam or Judaeism. In general, traditional conventional religion has had a bias against homosexuality. That does not make it right. It simply reflects the bias of heterosexual majorities in all societies, a bias which needs to be overcome.

Remember that interracial marriage was considered a moral wrong not that long ago. Certainly someone with the intellect, awareness  and sensitivity of an Obama need not be reminded of that. But most Americans do, because like most people, Americans have a very short memory--and an even shorter attention span. 

Interreligious marriage is still considered a moral wrong by millions of people in the world.

That doesn't make discrimination on the basis of race or religion in marital law right. Nor does the fact that marriage between two human beings of the same gender is a traditional nono in traditional societies it make it a moral wrong in progressive societies that recognize the evolutionary nature of our human value system. The Pope and Scalia have it all wrong.

Absolutist fundamentalism, not cultural relativism is the greatest danger we face today.

Hurting and demeaning people is not right. It is a moral wrong to do so.