Watch what happens when a subway “preacher” tries to spread his heterosexism and homophobia and hate: A gay subway passenger stands up for himself and gets the whole car cheering for him by saying, “Jesus loves me!… Jesus is love! We can hear your falsehoods! There’s love in this train!… Love wins!”
I love this video for two reasons:
- It really reminds me of the usefulness of speaking to people in their own language, and to respect that they may be different from ourselves. Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy by Matthew Scully is an incredible book written by one of George W. Bush’s speechwriters, a conservative republican and a conservationist, not an abolitionist intersectional vegan by any means! However, his arguments have been enormously helpful to me in speaking with people who firmly believe that humans have God-given dominion over animals. I may not agree, and I might not define god in the same way they do, but I am now able to have an intelligent conversation with a right wing Christian carnist, in which I can respectfully quote all the compassionate Bible verses needed to counter the bloodthirsty ones they might feel attached to. Imagine what a different response this gay guy would have gotten if he’d said instead, “Your religion is oppressive and your Bible is lies!” By saying “Jesus is love” he effectively showed that the “preacher” was indeed a “false prophet,” at least, in the eyes of all of the people who were watching and who also want to believe that God, if s/he exists, is good and loving, and not hateful. Who are you going to agree with – the crazy bigot screaming vitriol, or the brave young man countering hatred with a reminder of Jesus’s love? I’m agnostic and more Buddhist than anything, but I’m still voting for the young man. Amen, brother.
- The other reason I love this video is because once Shira and I were on the train in NYC, and an old man and woman sat down across from us with Christian-themed baseball caps on, and started hissing hateful words at us, saying we were going to hell. We didn’t know how to defend ourselves. No one said anything in our defense. It was one of the cruelest, saddest experiences of my life. I wished dearly at the time that they could have seen me as a peace and justice activist, an ethical person who practices nonviolence in my every action, a loving person in a committed and healthy relationship, a community-minded voter and taxpayer, a fellow Brooklynite. Instead they saw something disgusting they wanted to destroy. It broke my heart. So I want to thank the young man in this video for his courage, for standing up and saying what I didn’t say. Love wins.
I also want to thank my freshman year roommate, Mer, and another one of our dorm-mates, Jesse, for having the courage to stand up one night at dinner, proclaiming, “I love Jesus!” It shocked me at the time because I hadn’t seen anyone progressive, any non-bigot, say something like that before, so exuberantly and honestly and earnestly, and from such a beautiful place of open-hearted love. If it wasn’t for those two people, and the influence of Hugh and his stories of radical Catholics (thank you Hugh!), I wouldn’t have come around to where I am now. My family has been wounded in the past by unjust and oppressive interpretations of religious scripture, and it’s taken me some time to get over my prejudice against religions and to find God in my own way. (Thanks to Josh A. for help in that department!)