“I belong to a culture that includes Proust, Henry James, Tchaikovsky, Cole Porter, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Christopher Marlowe, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Tennessee Williams, Byron, E.M. Forster, Lorca, Auden, Francis Bacon, James Baldwin, Harry Stack Sullivan, John Maynard Keynes, Dag Hammarskjold… These are not invisible men. Poor Bruce. Poor frightened Bruce. Once upon a time you wanted to be a soldier.Ned, in The Normal Heart, by Larry Kramer
Bruce, did you know that an openly gay Englishman was as responsible as any man for winning the Second World War? His name was Alan Turing and he cracked the Germans’ Enigma code so the Allies knew in advance what the Nazis were going to do — and when the war was over he committed suicide he was so hounded for being gay. Why don’t they teach any of this in the schools? If they did, maybe he wouldn’t have killed himself and maybe you wouldn’t be so terrified of who you are. The only way we’ll have real pride is when we demand recognition of a culture that isn’t just sexual. It’s all there—all through history we’ve been there; but we have to claim it, and identify who was in it, and articulate what’s in our minds and hearts and all our creative contributions to this earth. And until we do that, and until we organize ourselves block by neighborhood by city by state into a united visible community that fights back, we’re doomed. That’s how I want to be defined: as one of the men who fought the war.”
These words written by Larry Kramer from The Normal Heart and spoken through his character Ned (based on himself) are forever etched in the deepest places of my heart—the space that yearns and beats for justice. Larry—thank you for your furiousness, your willingness to fight for justice with your entire body and soul, for being “one of those who fought the war.”
Larry, you are a hero. My hero. May you now rest in peace and find complete and full healing…but continue to work through us all as we ACT UP against all forms of injustice!
Sermon preached at Danville Congregational Church United Church of Christ, Sunday, August 23, 2020. The text was Exodus 1:22, 2:1–10. The full transcript is below. As the child of a woman who faced a difficult choice regarding her newborn child, I feel a particular resonance with the story of Jochebed and Moses we heard earlier. […]
This sermon was preached at Danville Congregational Church United Church of Christ on July 19, 2020. The new Pharaoh in the beginning of the story of the Exodus, believed by historians to be King Ramses II, was the head of state of a thriving kingdom. But this ruler had become threatened by the Israelites, a thriving people […]
Whose injustice do you remember? Whose cause do you uphold today? Is it solidarity with modern-day Rizpahs Mamie Till, Tamika Palmer, Geneva Reed-Veal whose children Emmett Till, Breonna Taylor, and Sandra Bland were murdered as a result of systemic injustice and hate? Is it the lives of any number of unarmed Black people killed by […]