Fear is one of humanity’s most powerful tools; it is particularly hazardous when used by weak-minded individuals. A poor leader can control people simply by introducing the fear of judgment, the fear of pain, or the fear of losing power, the three biggies. A friend recently spoke on the tenants of good leadership to a group of college business students, and the underlying message was simple, make sure everyone is valued. (Notice I didn’t say “feels valued.”) An employee, a student, a soldier, an athlete, or a parishioner will bust through a wall for a leader if they feel seen, heard, and appreciated.
June is PRIDE month. Pride Month honors the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Riots began when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village. The raid triggered a riot leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement. While several minor uprisings and pioneers existed before Stonewall, significant social and legal victories resulted from the 1960s Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.
Being that I am a product of the ’60s, I naively believed that human rights in the United States would always move in the direction of progress, but fear appears to have a larger voting demographic. In the first half of 2023, 491 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the United States have advanced or passed into law, with only 153 defeated. This fear-based political climate sends us back to assaults, harassment, and “socially conscious” policing in neighborhoods, businesses, and schools. What’s happening?
My friends, I don’t pretend to speak for the entirety of the LGBTQ+ community; I’m just a country mouse with a computer. But lest we forget, God created a rainbow of people full of variety, spiciness, expression, and talents. The United States also loved and invited delicious diversity with “Give me your tired, …your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” (The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.) So if you are an American Christian…we don’t have any business excluding anyone.
So what are we so afraid of? If your political or spiritual beliefs cause another person to want to harm themselves, fear for their safety, or limit their access to rights you enjoy, then you are not doing God’s work. Instead, let’s lean into good leadership and ensure everyone is valued.