Standing before the forces of power in Alabama

26 Nov

“They told us we wouldn’t get here, there were those who said we would only get here over their dead bodies. All the world today knows that we are here and we are standing before the forces of power in Alabama saying ‘We ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around!’” – Martin Luther King Jr, Selma to Montgomery, March 1965.

I will never know the names of the people who marched from Selma to Montgomery with Dr King and chances are you won’t either.  Nor are you likely to know the names of the people who walked with Gandhi on the Salt March, yet our history and imaginations are caught by the thought of hundreds of ordinary people going to (and walking for) extraordinary lengths to fight for justice.  No matter what came, nothing would move these people, and nobody could turn them around.  Reference

We lose track of how difficult it is to bring about  change.  People understood that civil rights may actually cost them their lives.

Gordon Gibson knew the civil rights movement in the 1960s was serious when a friend said not to leave for Selma unless it was more important for him to go than it was to come back.

“I decided it was more important to go to Alabama, and we wrote our wills,” Gibson said.

He was 26 years old.  Reference

Australia had it’s own Freedom Ride in 1965.  It exposed endemic racism in rural Australia and “punctured Australian smugness, borne of ignorance, that racism did not exist in Australia.” (ref)  While the move towards the 1967 referendum on Aboriginal equality had started shortly after Federation  in 1901, the Freedom Ride must have helped people understand that racism was entrenched, not just in country towns of NSW, but in the Australian Constitution as well.  There was resistance over decades, much of it vitriolic, and some resistance continues today for racism cannot be legislated away.

Change doesn’t come easily, for it threatens some people’s way of being.  It is difficult for some to imagine how they will function under the innovation and so it becomes important to resist, despite understanding why it is important for many.  That resistance is justified by a lifetime of living in a different paradigm.  “It is my experience, don’t take it from me!” When change does come, the new reality is rarely as confronting as was expected.

The road towards women’s ordination has been difficult.  Through hope and despair starting in the 1990s, and now through a growing voice protesting the silencing of debate on women’s ordination, there is an ever-increasing hope that the LCA will yet see women’s ordination.

The difference between civil rights and women’s ordination in the LCA is that while both the US and Australia are democracies and function under freedom of the press, the LCA on this matter, does not.  While Pr Semmler communicates freely with membership when he wishes, the women’s ordination movement cannot even pay for an advertisement in the national magazine.  Repressive regimes use this tactic throughout the world to maintain control on power through controlling communication and the national discussion. As this contravenes the LCA Constitution Pr Semmler needs to be censured.


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12 responses to “Standing before the forces of power in Alabama

  1. Karin

    November 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm


    Just out of curiosity. Who can “censure” Semmler?


  2. Wally

    November 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Ah, another dose of poor journalism in a bid to build sensationalism. And this time, you presume to give Constitutional advice! Well! Well! Give me Article, Section and clause number – you will be a better expert on Constitutions than I am if you can! And have been working on it for 20 years! I would have much more success in finding “contravenes the LCA Constitution” material in posts on this and another blog than you would ever find in the actions of the Church on this matter.
    So, Karin, the “censure” belongs elsewhere! The President of the Church on the other hand, has done an immense, faithful job under very serious attack from within and so often, under the tactic of anonymity.

    • Katie and Martin

      November 26, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      Check the DSTO, Wally.

      • Wally

        November 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm


    • Karin

      November 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      Hi Wally

      I am a bit mystified here. Are you challenging people to prove that they know the constitution better than you?

      However, thank you for replying to my question. The answer obviously is to be found in the LCA Constitution. I guess I have a few nights with good bed time reading in front of me….

      I have a few questions for you though. Do you consider yourself to be Semmler’s protector? And if yes, does he need protecting? Has he asked you to do this for him?

      • Wally

        November 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm

        Maybe I should follow your tactic (horrible thought!): Are you Katie and Martin’s protector?

        But, seriously, I won’t!

        Am I “challenging people to prove that they know the constitution better than you?”. Think about it! The constitution was quoted without reference. I asked for reference. Interpret that as you will, but to me it is clear. The point of my challenge is of course that it isn’t there. That too, was obvious. In addition, I am now referred to the DSTO! And again, no reference! Well, which is it: Constitution or DSTO? Clearly of course, neither say anything on this matter!

        As for your further questions – they don’t deserve to be given any integrity by answering them, but, for the record – just in case you don’t get it – the answer is no for them all.

        Finally, let me rather say this: We have an elected leader of the Church. I respect that and I will exercise my Christian responsibility in supporting the leader. If you want to bemoan that, you do so to the detriment of your own integrity. If there were any basic respect and an interest in acting as Christians, contributors to blogs would not be writing some of the most un-Christian expressions that we have seen. I challenge you to lift your game!

        • Karin

          November 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm

          Wow you are a bit grouchy today.

          I only asked one question, given that I have not studied the constitution nor the DSTO in great detail. How that is un-Christian escapes me!?! I was just trying to do something about my ignorance and trying to learn more about how my church works. I thought I was trying to lift my game. Maybe not….Or maybe it is symptomatic of a church that does not like questions?

          • Wally

            November 26, 2012 at 10:07 pm

            Grouchy? No – but it’s the kind of comment I expect from someone on the back foot. Stick to the issue instead.
            The insinuations in your last paragraph in post 5 are quite un-Christian, and your question in the last sentence in this reply is also and derogatory insinuation.
            By all means, read the Constitution and the DSTO, but the anonymous poster who raised those references needs to answer their relevance to some event in Alabama – I don’t know what they are referring to.
            So, how about being a bit positive and supportive of our leaders instead of constantly cutting them down with baseless insinuations just because you have a different opinion?

  3. qhermit

    November 26, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    “As this contravenes the LCA Constitution Pr Semmler needs to be censured.”

    I really do believe this is not a misconception or exaggeration. 😦

    • Wally

      November 26, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      Well, let’s hear the detail.

  4. Katie and Martin

    November 27, 2012 at 12:34 am

    For the time being we choose to keep our powder dry.
    Before you continue the patronising language, consider your options if you discover that you are wrong.

    • Wally

      November 27, 2012 at 2:08 am

      Well, I am indeed surprised. So, you want to put it out there, and then you don’t on the pretext that you “choose to keep your powder dry”. I am not even going to speculate what that means, but it certainly seems evil to me. Patronising language – what?


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