Let’s talk about the Alan J. Ross Texas Freedom Parade for a second, if you don’t mind.
This Sunday, Midway Hills will again march in the parade, along with our sister congregations Northaven UMC, Central Congregational UCC, Cathedral of Hope, and maybe some others. We’ll see folks out in droves; we will promote our inclusive, welcoming and diverse faith; we will hopefully not melt in the heat nor get soaked in the rain. If one person learns that there is a church for them, it is all worth it.
Some controversy has been swirling around the parade that I’d like to address. Andrews Distributing is one of the major sponsors of the parade this year. Andrews Distributing has also held fundraisers for Texas State Senator Dan Patrick in his race for Lieutenant Governor. (I want to note clearly: this is not a Democrat/Republican issue, this is not a liberal/conservative issue; the following is a justice issue.) Sen. Patrick has made heavy-handed and harmful statements about the LGBTQ community in the past, he has signed the amicus brief hoping to keep same-sex marriage in Texas illegal, and rather famously, he mistyped on Twitter “MARRIAGE = ONE MAN AND ONE MAN,” before correcting it. Many interpret Andrews Distributing celebrating the LGBTQ community with one hand while backing up an aggressive agent against equality with the other to be a bit hypocritical.
Officially, Andrews Distributing says it backs up Patrick because of business interests, and supports Dallas Pride as a social issue. But it has led me to reflect the last few weeks as to if we can compartmentalize such a major issue, or if I’m blowing this way out of proportion.
My original impulse was to drop out of the parade—talking to y’all first, of course. Along with other justice-centered churches, we’d put out a press release and just not be there. Then my impulse was to protest in the parade—and some may still want to do that. But now, I’ve come to this conclusion, I think: we march to do justice. We’re one of the few churches out there—and someone may need to see we’re there. If one person feels like God is, and that God matters, it’s worth it. And I think justice will be done in that moment.
But I’m still reflecting and praying on it. I hope you’ll join me in that. I hope also to see all of you on Sunday.