The other day I watched the movie Philadelphia. One of the reasons that the film was intensely engaging was because it was rich in metaphors. I remember the song playing at the end of the movie which contained the words “city of brotherly love.” These words were being sung during the funeral of a wrongly terminated and severely stigmatized homosexual. It was at that precise moment that I realized that the movie was screaming to the top of its capability: “WE HAVE MISSED THE POINT!”
If you ask someone about the movie Philadelphia, they will more than likely tell you that it is about a homosexual or a movie about homosexual rights. I submit to you today, that while homosexuality is a mitigating factor in the movie, the movie itself portrays at its core someone who was different. And this difference cost him his job. His colleagues, who at one time esteemed him above others, ultimately isolated and ridiculed him because of this difference.
I believe this movie sought to give voice to the terse, disparate societal atmosphere that exists for those who are different. While there is safety in commonality and similarity, there seems to be humiliation, rejection and isolation for those chosen among us to be different. If the different have been different for a while, then they most likely understand that it is a cross that they must bear and today as we read this article, each of us has a choice to make.
Either we will help those who are different to bear their cross or we will make those crosses heavier. Every time you joke about someone’s difference that you most likely know nothing about, you make the cross heavier. Every time you give a cold shoulder (instead of a warm smile or a warm embrace) to someone who is not like you, their cross gets heavier. One person can make a difference. Philadelphia showed us a man who overcame his fear of homosexuals and got to know a person: a person who ended up changing his own life.
Much like the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I have a dream. A dream that one day little boys and girls and men and women who have differences will interact with one another peacefully, and treat each other like human beings. A dream that one day, we will be judged by the content of our character and not the differences between us, because underneath it all, we’re all the same. God bless you all.