|It gets better all the time|
Is 26:10 But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the LORD.
A few years ago, the Rev Mel White told a story of the young man he was conducting the funeral service for. He was one of many gay men and women driven to commit suicide. We are all implicated one way or another, our society, churches, family and friends. When a Dharun Ravi and his lawyers dared the law to persecute him, he came out badly bruised.
On 16 March 2012, in New Jersey, the former Rutgers University Student, Dharun Ravi was convicted of hate crimes for spying against his gay roommate Tyler Clementi who went on to commit suicide. The incident happened in Sep 2010 where Dharun tried to broadcast the private sexual encounters not once but twice.
The lawyers for Ravi insisted to "let the dice roll" exalting their righteousness and claim of innocense even though a way of grace and escape was given where Ravi will be asked to do only community service. He now faces jail time. Grace was shown and grace was rejected. This is much more grace shown that to the thousands of gays in the colleges who are intimidated and harrassed everyday because they are gay.
When the trial commenced on 22 Feb 2012, the Christian Post reported that "Tyler Clementi Cyber-Bullying Trial Begins; Charges 'Very Difficult to Prove'". But the evidence was there some of which even Dharun tried to cover up.
"My webcam checks my bed, hahaha. Yeah, keep the gays away."
“People are having a viewing party with a bottle of Bacardi and beer in this kid’s room for my roommate"
“I have it pointed at his bed and the monitor is off so he can’t see you.”
Ravi was convicted by his own statements, the long trail of electronic messages some which he tried to hide showing his anti-gay tendencies and his intention to mock/intimidate Clementi with a "viewing party". He was convicted not because it was a prank but it became pre-meditated when he did it "again". "Yes it's happening again" cried Ravi as he rounded up the students online to watch the live video the 2nd time.
His father, Pazhani Ravi had rejected the plea offer stating that "There is a principle here", and his lawyer reason for rejection was "He's innocent. He's not guilty,", and That's why he rejected the plea." When we insist on the principle, when we insist on the letter of the law instead of grace, let there be judgement.
The evidence however was overwhelming and when the trial went ahead, Ravi was found guilty of all 15 criminal counts by a jury, though not all the sub parts of the counts.
We may feel sorry for Ravi who was after all only 18 when the incident occured, but consider how arrogantly the family and the lawyers rejected a bargain plea:-
The family claimed to be very "principled", but the main principle here is about justice. It's not about Ravi Dharun. It was about the thousands of young gay men who took their lives because of the bullied due to their sexual orientation. Tyler Clementi was only one of the young men, and the injustice of it all has arisen to such an extent that there was to be justice at last not just for TC but for the others.
The lawyers for Ravi wanted to "let the dice roll" thinking that the persecution offered such generous plea bargains because the evidence was weak. They had forgotten, that the death of TC was a test case, of suicides by young gay men due to intimidation and this had to stop. Ravi could not have gotten away, because too many young gay men have died. If it had been a decade ago, it might have been different. But the times have changed and the call for justice louder.
When they let the "dice roll", for justice in an open court with a jury, the loud voices of the blood of those who died came into the court room. They were the unseen witnesses but their voices were real for their blood cries out for vengeance and for justice. TC became a symbol for all who have died and suffered because of their sexual orientation. Justice was waiting to be served. The call for justice was too loud. No mercy was given to these young men who had died, and when the plea bargain was rejected, the conviction was quite sweeping.
The dice has been rolled, the "dare" by the defence team taken and judgement made. There was no remorse, no contrite heart of humility. As much as we would like to blame the likes of Ravi Dharun, he too was a victim. Perhaps he was wanted to prove something, and was insecure needing to put someone down. The will no doubt be an appeal and Ravi may just be able to escape jail term. But the tragedy and the consequences will be with him forever.
Grace has been shown to Christians and the church concerning the hate crimes against gays and the push to limit even the basic rights. In Singapore for example, the National Council of Churches has insisted by gay sex be criminalized. One day we will have to choose to own up to our sins. The dice will roll soon for we have many casinos in Singapore. Will we dare the judge to convict us?
Amos 6:12 For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. 13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil. 14 Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.
Amos 6:24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
The time is coming and is come when the justice is denied is overflowing down the mountain stream. The trickle of water is coming downstream. Soon, the damn will break for we can't hold justice forever as the weight of the injustice against gays grows heavier each day.
It's not about Dharun but about Clememti Tyler and the thousands of gays who faced harrassment and discrimination every day. It gets better all the time. Justice is coming soon.