Just as bigots have resisted changing their standpoint on gender discrimination, racism, ageism, classism, and ableism, some individuals resisted the development of technological inventions such as electricity, especially electricity in homes- they feared electrical leakage from the wires and believed it could cause harm to the body and even death!
Then there was people’s apprehension toward telephones. Today, it seems ludicrous to even comprehend how anyone could think of the telephone as evil, but not all people unanimously agreed with its invention. Some people, especially the “elderly,” did not want to touch the phone. They were afraid they would get an electrical shock
Fear is the forestalling of change.
Change threatens our lifestyles—good, bad, or otherwise—and for the most part, humans recoil at the idea of change, especially when it tests our personal viewpoints and opinions.
Take the prophets in the Old Testament. They continuously tried to elevate man’s thoughts about Elohim but barely made a dent. They were ignored, jailed, mocked and one was torn into pieces! When Jesus began his ministry, he too tried to bring forth change to improve the conditions of people’s life. by introducing man’s ability to be healed through Christ, as well as teach them about love, but again to no avail. Even most of his own people refused to accept a higher and better way to relate to God.
When Jesus realized the resistance of his own people, he told this parable in the gospel of Luke 20:9-19 “9 Then He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard,[a] leased it to tenant farmers, and went on a journey for a long time. 10 And at the season, he sent a servant to the tenants so that they would give him part of the vineyard’s fruit. But the tenants beat him up and sent him away empty-handed. 11 So he proceeded to send another servant. They beat him too and treated him shamefully, and they sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he proceeded to send a third one. They wounded this one too, and they threw him out. 13 “Now the master of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love. Probably they will show him respect.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they discussed the matter among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir! Let’s kill him so the inheritance will be ours.’ 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the master of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”But when they heard this, they said, “May it never happen!” 17 Then Yeshua looked right at them and said, “Then what is this that has been written, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone’“ (TLV)
The pharisaic attitude did not yield to receptivity-hence the inability to become transformed. And not just then. It continued.
Marin Luther, who wrote the “Ninety-five Theses of Contention,” was a German, Augustinian monk. He was passionate about the idea that the Holy Writ should not be held back by clergy but rather distributed among the people so they could read it for themselves.
He was also disturbed by the Roman Catholics’ position on indulgences. Indulgences were certificates signed by the pope that released someone from guilt or sin. The belief was that by purchasing an indulgence, a person was granted entrance to heaven.
Martin Luther protested this practice, along with other ways that the Roman Catholic Church was doing business, so after he wrote the “Theses,” he nailed the document to the door of the Wittenberg Church on Halloween in 1517, even though he knew he would be accused of heresy and possibly burned at the stake, alive!
William Wilberforce, politician and philanthropist turned Christian, fought Parliament for twenty years to abolish slavery, and Abraham Lincoln followed that avenue here in America whereby he succeeded in 1863 when slavery was abolished; in the end, however, Lincoln paid for that accomplishment with his life (see more at http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1701-1800/william-wilberforce-vs-slavery-11630303.html and http://www.history.com/news/5-things-you-may-not-know-about-lincoln-slavery-and-emancipation).
In India, Mohandas (Mahatma, “the great souled one”) Gandhi continued the fight for equal rights, leading his country to independence by adhering to his strict philosophy of nonviolence and truth, and he too paid for that with his life (read more at http://www.history.com/topics/mahatma-gandhi).
We have Susan B. Anthony to thank for taking on the fight for equal rights for women in America from 1848 to1920 (check out http://www.infoplease.com/spot/womenstimeline1.html).
The more famous Martin Luther King Jr. took up the fight of equality for African Americans in the American Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until April 4, 1968. King was another great thinker whose life was taken because ignorance thought it could stop progress (see http://www.thekingcenter.org/about-dr-king).
Harvey Milk was a gay activist in the 1970s who fought for the equal rights of gays. He too was assassinated. Despite Milk’s work, homosexuals still experience hatred. In 2016 a homophobic gunman went into a gay nightclub in Orlando and shot 103 people, killing 50 of them, in the deadliest mass shooting in America (see more on Harvey Milk at http://www.biography.com/people/harvey-milk-9408170).
A growing concern for animal rights has evolved in America, but it is not a newfound idea to Hindus and Buddhists, who believe in a “vegetarian diet for ethical reasons.” In 1975 the “Animal Liberation” was “the catalyst for the modern American animal rights movement.” Today, there are several organizations to protect the rights of animals (see http://animalrights.about.com/od/animalrights101/a/TimelineModern.htm).
The most recent battle for equal rights fought and won in the United States was for legalizing same-sex marriages, while another battle for equal rights is unfolding for transgender people. “Transgender is a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex the doctor marked on their birth certificate. Gender identity is a person’s internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (or someone outside of that gender binary). For transgender people, the sex they were assigned at birth and their own internal gender identity do not match” (http://www.glaad.org/transgender/transfaq).
The Washington Post reported that thus far, eleven states have filed lawsuits that challenge the Obama administration’s direction that schools “allow transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identities” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/05/25/texas-governor-says-state-will-sue-obama-administration-over-bathroom-directive/?utm_term=.182b248bcb14).
Self-righteousness seems to be the dictator while judgment and condemnation seem to be the jury and executioner. They claim to know what truth and justice is, but they are all blind to what equality really is.
“Equality is fairness and fairness is the quality of making judgments that are free from discrimination.” (“Equality” The American Way of Truth and Justice by William Spencer)
So we uncover that above the dictator is a false god called the discriminator. This is the opponent to unconditional love.
This is the detractor who believes that being right trumps being tolerant of variation. Self-righteousness is as overrated as being loving is underrated.
Does the world really need more “right” people or more loving people?
I suspect the ones who think I am wrong will say, “The world needs more right people,” but right does not equal love and love can never be wrong.
In Christianity, we are taught by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” (NLT).
This saying was derived from the vine Christ Jesus, who gave us two new commandments: “Jesus replied, ‘“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments’” (Matthew 22:36–40, NLT).
These commands are not only for Christians, rather Christians are supposed to be the example of such commands. However, I know many people who stand on their Bibles with wide-open mouths orating judgments as though they are the All-Knowing Mind, God, while their hearts are sealed off from divine love. I also know atheists and agnostics who have demonstrated more love and compassion than some clergy.
Love is not a religion, nor does religion define love. Love is meant for everyone, and it always has been and always will be the only equal rights for all, and even if we disagree with one another, let not pride override tolerance. Let us implement the statement theologian John Wesley made in a sermon in 1770: “Agree to disagree,” a phrase that is definitely understated.
NLT-New Living Translation
TLV-Tree of Life Version
Please note that the sequence of facts regarding those who have fought for the rights of others are listed in chronological order.