I remember seeing this story in the news from when Vice President Mike Pence attended a performance of Hamilton in New York, but I never took the time to read what the cast member who spoke out actually said. The media presented it as disrespectful. It was clearly not. I encourage you to read the message below and think about being the person who feels as if this may be his only opportunity for his voice to be heard.
“We have a guest in the audience this evening. Vice President-elect Pence I see you walking out, but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments. There’s nothing to boo here ladies and gentlemen. We have a message for you sir. We hope that you will hear us out. I encourage everyone to pull out your phones and tweet because this message needs to be spread far and wide.
Vice President-elect Pence we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton, an American Musical. We really do. We sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, out children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us. We truly thank you for sharing in this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men, women of different colors, creeds and orientations and we truly hope that you heard our message sir, because you all represent all of us.”
An NFL player, Colin Kaepernick, decided to draw attention to the issue of racial discrimination in the United States by using his platform. Rather than stand with the other players during the national anthem at the beginning of a football game, he decided to bow on his knee. It created a lot of controversy, here was his response:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color…This is not something that I am going to run by anybody, I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”
His peaceful protest was met with disapproval, dismissal, and mockery.
Much like the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, whose leaders failed to heed the words of the prophets about those who were oppressed, poverty-stricken, and treated unfairly, the elected leaders of the United States largely failed to listen to these messages. Israel became divided and conquered, rather than standing with their own people. They were disinterested and uncaring. If those prophets were practicing their antics today, we’d have them arrested and placed in a psychiatric ward. Fox News would rail against their actions as unpatriotic, inappropriate, and disrespectful. MSNBC would mock the religious tone of their claims from God.
Now, there are protests taking place, and some of them descend into violence. Sometimes, the violence is instigated from those opposing the protests, sometimes from within… sometimes it is from outside groups trying to further their own agenda at the expense of the message of racial equality.
What would it look like if everyone chose to listen right now, instead of hiding in fear behind a shield of ignorance, obstinance, arrogance, politics, and false Christianity? What if everyone stood together with every race declaring that injustice must be addressed… that black lives do matter, because all lives do really matter.
Maybe our nation would emerge from this time strongly united, rather than torn apart from within.
What if we chose to practice the Christianity we profess by listening to each other, instead of to the media and political leaders?
What will you do?
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