Proverbs 14:15 MSG
For a few weeks, I didn't wear a safety pin on my lapel because I thought of it as an empty symbolic gesture and empty gestures that have no teeth tend to bore and frustrate me. But I just read a little piece that explained what they mean, at least to that writer:
Apparently, this practice of wearing a safety pin started in the United Kingdom. As refugees were flooding into the country. Many British folk welcomed the refugees and did much to help them make homes for their families, find work, get around, and make a home in their new country. Others, however, chose to mock, insult, spit upon, threaten and even throw things at the newcomers.
So people of faith and good will felt the need to identify themselves as friendly, safe people that others could come to if they were afraid or needed help. This would be something subtle, yet visible. Nothing loud and obnoxious, but something clear and identifiable.
They settled on the safety pin -- a cheap, little, obvious symbol that they could wear on their lapels that said to others, "I am a safe person. I am approachable. If you are afraid, I will walk with you. If you are anxious, I will sit with you. If you are lost, I will help you find your way."
When the pin made its way across the pond to the U.S. it's meaning was broadened. For some, of course, it became a sign of defiance after Hillary Clinton lost the election to The Donald. But for most, the pin is a signal to ethnic minorities, LGBTQ people, immigrants, poor people, and others who feel marginalized that "I am a safe person who is willing to help."
I wish the cross was a symbol that said that but, sadly, it has been misappropriated by some entertainers, bigots, and narrow minded hypocrites so you never know what you've got when you see someone wearing a cross. Often, it's only jewelry.
I don't believe that all of the millions of people who voted for The Donald are racists, or homophobes or misogynists or bullies or bigots. But I'm afraid that the racists, homophobes, misogynists, bullies and bigots will believe that they are and take that as an affirmation of their disgusting views and and encouragement to act on them.
So today I'm wearing a safety pin on my lapel. It's not a political statement for me It's a demonstration and an offer of the kind of love that Jesus talked about and asked us to share.
Grace and Peace,
Dean Feldmeyer is the author of 5 novels, 4 non-fiction books, three plays, and over 100 essays, articles, poems, and short stories, some of which can be found on this web site.