Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Symbolic Gesture: Harvey Milk, Billie Jean King, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom

I've written a book on gestures in the life of communities of faith. Gestures matter, whether they are personal or communal. A shake of a hand in fellowship--or the refusal of a handshake of welcome or peace--matters in the fabric of a community.

Public gestures matter as well to a society. In this case, the public gesture of honoring Billie Jean King the tennis star, and Harvey Milk, the slain gay activist, with the Presidential Medal of Honor, matters. While I would like to see the Obama Administration also lift DADT and DOMA, the honoring of King and Milk matters for the good of all in the public square. It is one more sign that we are not second class citizens.

Of course, it is the White House trying to win our support as a voting block. Let's call it what it is.

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