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On May 18, 2016, a NC Clergy Unite Against HB 2 press conference was held in Charlotte. Three of the five speakers were Baptist pastors related to BPFNA~Bautistas por la Paz. One of those was Greg Jarrell, who is a member of our Centering Black Lives Working Group and will be one of our musicians at the 2016 Summer Conference. Greg is also a director of QC Family Tree, which focuses on building and sustaining community amongst the residents of their West Charlotte neighborhood.
As a child in North Carolina, I was taught our state song which contains this refrain:
“Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great, Here’s to my home, the Old North State.”
What we face in Raleigh today is a regime of our fellow citizens and neighbors who have taken this basic affirmation of life in North Carolina and obliterated it. Today the strong do not grow great – they have gone to Raleigh to bully the weak. Their goal seems to be to make sure that the weak can never grow strong. HB2 is but the most recent evidence of that goal, which is being enacted by immoral policy and by their being just plain mean.
We know from every faith tradition that this immoral policy is wrong. It seeks to harm not only persons who are transgender, but also every LGBTQ person and their families. It harms the poor, minorities, the disabled, and every worker who wants a safe place to work. These people are the weak trying to grow strong. They are the strong ones trying to grow great. They are us, and for their neighbors and fellow citizens to continually put barriers in their way is immoral, unjust, and unfaithful to the faith traditions that many of our leaders claim.
An unjust law is no law at all, Dr. King taught. HB2 must be resisted in every way. Three weeks ago, I went to Raleigh seeking to instruct our legislators on the immorality of their actions. Instead of having an opportunity to speak to them, I was arrested and offered a chance to spend the night in the Wake County jail. You can see clearly from jail, and here is what I saw: The injustice done by the state legislature is destroying bodies and families and lives. But it can be undone by loving resistance. We can win neighbors, friends, and even those in power in Raleigh to the side of love. Love is not the law of our day, but it still can unite us – transgender, gay, lesbian, disabled, poor, and even powerful politicians – to sing together again: “Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great, Here’s to our home, the Old North State.”
In the name of love, Repeal HB2.