How ironic that a text from the Maundy Thursday passages so clearly applies to us on this Maundy Thursday. In John 13:30, as soon as Judas left the group gathered in the upper room to go and betray Jesus, the verse ends, “And it was night.”
Yesterday, the North Carolina legislature passed (and the governor signed into law) what is likely to be the most discriminatory piece of legislation in The United States today. By their actions, they have taken North Carolina (and the rest of us indirectly) “into the night” of bigotry. Even some who are not committed to full inclusion have been taken back at the way this was carried out. The North Carolina legislature’s GOP majority have left us with a “dark” Thursday in our nation’s history.
I am not writing to go into this mess in detail. Like a rock falling into the water, most of the ripple effects are yet to be seen. There may be times in the future when more will need to be said. For now, I choose to say only two things.
First, to my LGBTQ friends, who must (yet again) find strength to stand strong against the injustice and prejudice of the legislation and related sentiments—I stand with you in solidarity against sexism rooted in fear and falsehood. Be strong and courageous–one more time!
Second, to all who read this—we must recognize this as a “night” that enshrouds us all. If and when a society passes laws against people who have broken no laws (indeed, who live as law-abiding citizens), none of us is safe. Civil society is not (and can never be) a theocracy. It cannot be a society that protects one ideology and villifies others. To the extent we allow this to hold sway, we are all only one step short of having a legislature decide it doesn’t like us, with subsequent discriminatory laws passed to enforce their dislike. It is “night” whenever a nation legislates this way.
When Judas left to betray Jesus, it was “night.” Whenever we leave our senses to betray others, the night returns.