Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Once again religious groups are being allowed to act in a discrimiatory manner.  As a parish priest and Governor of our Diocesan Comprehensive, I view with alarm the proposal to allow Faith Schools to opt out of teaching certain aspects of Sex Education. In particular, I am concerned that this will allow such schools not to promote equality for gay and lesbian people. It is clear that many gay and lesbian children already suffer abuse within their schools: any opt-out will only underline their vulnerability and help create a divided society. 

I deeply regret that, once again, the Church of England is supporting discrimination: whilst it may excercise a more liberal approach in these matters, I fear that other relgious groups - fundamentalist Christian and Muslim, for example - would emphasise that gay and lesbian people are rejected by God, thus lending support to those who would bully and persecute them.

I think this poem, by Maya Angelou, should be sent to all our relgious leaders.  I know it's written about black women, but it seems like a cry for all whose identities are suppressed, who suffer abuse and who would be silenced by these religious leaders.  It might make them pause and consider...

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

No comments: