Still Praying, and Now Giving Thanks, for Jim Webb
Last week, I expressed my unhappiness about the vote by Virginia U.S. Senator Jim Webb against an amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill that mandates repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). I said I would be praying for him, and I encouraged others to pray for him, too.
The prayer I expressed then was: “for Senator Webb’s health, for his family and staff, for his wisdom in doing many good things, and for his soulful hearing—that he may hear the pleas of those more than 13,000 already discharged and all those forced into silence who protect us now—and that those pleas become so loud in his heart that he finds no recourse but to support repeal.”
That is a prayer of petition, and I continue to offer it daily. Today, however, I add to it a prayer of thanksgiving—thanksgiving that Senator Webb is more open to this change than his vote in the committee would seem to indicate.
How do I know that? Well, after my post on GayRVA, I received a message from a member of his staff with whom I have been in regular contact. She had read my comments and wanted me to know a couple of things.
First, he voted for the overall bill, as amended to include repeal, to pass the committee. That means his vote helped send repeal to the Senate floor.
Second, she shared with me an ABC News report, which I quote here: “He [Webb] said he can commiserate with the plight of gay and lesbian service members who cannot be public in their sexuality, but he opposes repealing the ban until a Pentagon review of how to proceed with it is completed by December. ‘I just don’t feel like this is the proper way to move forward, although I am pretty empathetic to the situation people are facing.’
This was the first time I was aware of the Senator expressing support for LGBT troops.
I know some will accuse me of Pollyanna-ism—after all, he still voted against the motion to repeal DADT, and he still opposes it on the grounds of process—but as a spiritual leader I know that it is important to give thanks for good things. If we only focus on the negative, the advance of the positive is slowed, if not stopped.
I am also delighted that Senator Webb’s staff pays attention to what queers are saying. My fellow bloggers at GayRVA should feel good about this: we are being heard by those we may have thought do not listen.
Oh, yes, one other thing: Senator Webb is more than a potential supporter of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act: he is a co-sponsor of the bill.
So, I learned something: I need to put my prayer out there, not for me but in service to our struggle for civil rights and equality, because I never know what may come back.
Just think what might happen if everyone prayed, and gave thanks, for him!
Rev. Dr. Robin H. Gorsline is President of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, an interfaith organization of gay and straight clergy and lay people working for equality for LGBT Virginians. Read more of his thoughts on faith and spirituality on his personal blog.
In the state of Virginia, it is currently legal to deny housing to individuals or couples because they are LGBTQ. Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church) hopes to change that with House Bill 1454, which would make discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity illegal. As it stands, neither federal nor state housing laws [...]January 8, 2015
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