Weekly Message from T. J.

Winds of Change

Greetings and Aloha, my friends.

I hope you’ve been enjoying some of the shifts in the weather this week. I know that the swell we had in the ocean made for some very happy surfers, boogie boarders, and fans of those sports. Yesterday I was able to see more than a dozen kite surfers in the waters of Kailua Beach Park—what a sight! It is amazing what a shift in the winds can bring.

Changes We Can See

I hope it did not go unnoticed last week on October 11, National Coming Out Day, that the Boy Scouts of America decided, at last, to admit young women to their organization in a way that allows young women to work toward and achieve the level of Eagle Scout. And at first glance, we might not see how National Coming Out Day and this decision are connected, but they really are. They must be. As we embark this week on our preparations to participate in the parade for Honolulu Pride, one of the most important things we can remember is that shifting winds, whether by an administration or by the voting population, always affect all of us.

One of the most important civil rights cases of our generation is before the Supreme Court currently, and it will decide whether it is legal to discriminate against a person in the workplace based on their sexual orientation. Currently, only twenty states prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Thirteen more states have some level of protection based on sexual orientation.

It is a bit shocking for some to learn that there are great swaths of this country where this kind of discrimination is legal. But the lack of these kinds of protections is not the end of the story. Remember that we still actually need laws throughout this country preventing discrimination based on one’s gender and one’s ethnicity. Workplace discrimination against women and persons who have certain ethnic or cultural heritages remains so prevalent that entire federal offices are kept busy investigating and adjudicating these instances of discrimination even today.

Changes Yet to Come

See, as a society, the only ways we might really understand or experience liberation for some is if we work for and achieve liberation for all. This is the cornerstone of a justice, of a peace that truly serves the inherent worth and dignity of all persons. Our efforts as a church this weekend to prepare and participate in Honolulu’s Pride Parade are not limited to achieving one or two goals. Our efforts must be part of a greater, a more dedicated movement for the liberation of all from discrimination based on ethnicity, affection, gender identity, and so many other factors. For the winds that shift, and for the tide that swells the currents of change to carry any of us on this journey toward justice, we must be sure the same currents carry all of us.

And may it ever be so,

T. J.