Gaining Inspiration from Martin Luther King, Jr. as Obama/Biden Inauguration Is Celebrated

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today our nation observes the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a great religious leader who worked and struggled for civil rights, equality, and justice.

His model of non-violent action and resistance, of loving one’s enemy, is a model for Catholics who work for equality and justice for LGBT people in our church and society.

Here are some quotes from the great leader for your reflection and inspiration today:

  • Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
  • I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. 
  • In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. 
  • A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.
  • Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. 
  • Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.
  • Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.
  • Only in the darkness can you see the stars.
  • We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
  • The time is always right to do the right thing.

Let us also remember in prayer today President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden,  whose inauguration we celebrate today in the U.S.  President Obama was the first president to endorse marriage equality.  He did so after Vice President Biden, a Catholic, first announced his support for marriage equality on national television.  Vice President Biden is also on record saying that transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


Biden: Transgender Equality Is ‘Civil Rights Issue of Our Time’

Vice President Joe Biden

Catholic Vice President of the United States Joe Biden recently stated that transgender equality is “the civil rights issue of our time,”  according to a short article on

Biden had stopped to speak with a woman at a Sarasota, Florida, campaign office, and the following information was provided by a reporter:

“She said something …at first inaudible to [the press] pool, to which VP responded was the ‘civil rights issue of our time.’

“Pool later asked the woman, Linda Carragher Bourne of Sarasota about the exchange. She said her daughter was Miss Trans New England and asked if he would help them.

” ‘A lot of my friends are being killed, and they don’t have the civil rights yet. These guys are gonna make it happen,’ she told the pool.”

The story also notes that the Obama-Biden administration is the first to send a representative to a conference on transgender issues.

Kudos to Biden for being so forthright in his support for LGBT equality!

Biden is widely credited for having moved President Obama to speak up publicly in favor of marriage equality.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


Steps Forward for Transgender Equality

Within the space of one week, on opposite coasts of our nation, transgender equality has taken several steps forward.

Two transgender equality laws went into effect in California on January 12, 2012.  The bills were signed last year by Governor Jerry Brown, a Catholic and former seminarian.

According the San Francisco Times, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act clarifies existing employment, housing, and other civil rights protections.   The Vital Statistics Modernization Act makes it easier to obtain and update birth certificates.

One week later,  in heavily Catholic Massachusetts, Governor Patrick Deval hosted  a ceremonial signing into law of that state’s  Transgender Equal Rights Bill, according to The new law protects transgender citizens from discrimination in housing, employment, credit, and offers protections in the areas of civil rights and hate crimes.

Not included in the Massachusetts law was the area of public accommodation, and at the ceremony LGBT activist Danica Ali noted that it “must be added to the bill.”  As the story notes,  “Public accommodation refers to the right to stay at a hotel, ride a bus, or even use a bathroom without being discriminated against.”

Meanwhile, in Maryland this past week, the Baltimore County Council began public hearings on a transgender equality bill they are considering, according to The Baltimore Sun.  Opponents of the bill have spread rumors that a similar bill in Maryland’s Montgomery County have led to bathroom rapes by men dressed as women.  The Baltimore Sun also reported that the Montgomery County Chief of Police Thomas Manger has said these rumors are false.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry