Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Our Children Will Lead Us

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
Isaiah 11:6

On Monday Barbara Bush appeared in a video supporting marriage equality.

No, not the original Barbara Bush, her granddaughter, one of the twin daughters of George W. and Laura Bush.

Perhaps the best thing about this is how little excitement it has generated. No one is surprised. In a television interview this past May, Laura Bush responded to a question about gay marriage by saying, “When couples are committed to each other and love each other” they should have “the same sort of rights that everyone has.” Cindy McCain and her daughter Meghan have been even more outspoken in support of marriage equality. Which makes some of us wonder whether the male politicians in those families hold the same views in private that they espouse in public.

There is a gender divide on this issue, but even more significantly, there is a generational divide. For younger people it is simply a non-issue. This is a place where our children will lead us.

The Barbara Bush video, and the lack of response to it, carries a sense of inevitability about it. This sense of inevitability can be a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that it encourages us to trust the future. The curse is that it may cause us to forget that we still have a role in shaping that future.

As Martin Luther King said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” He took that idea from another great preacher. Theodore Parker was a 19th century Unitarian preacher in Boston, an abolitionist and a fierce champion of social justice. In 1853 Parker said, “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eyes reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

The Barbara Bush video reminds me that God is still at work, and Theodore Parker was right.

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