I fully support LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) rights as both active participants in society and as human beings. I support their right to marry whom they love. I support their fights against discrimination.
I come to you as a human being. I am not a perfect person, nor do I profess to be. I struggle to keep my judgment in check. It’s so easy to point fingers and call one another hypocrites. It’s easy to look at someone and tell them they are wrong. It’s easy to reflect on my own life and color pretty shades of happy all over the pages I messed up by my poor choices. But what is even easier, it seems, is to do so in the name of religious intolerance.
I have seen on my Facebook feed posts about intolerance and injustices of the world. I see people hating others because of their sexual orientation. I see people hating because of the color of skin (Yes, even now.) I see people tearing down the President. I witness people spewing hateful messages because of gender. I see people calling each other names so vile that they taste bitter to speak them aloud. I see people projecting their own beliefs out into the world whether they are hateful or not, most commonly under the guise of religion.
In my belief system, the Lord and Lady in their duality are everywhere. They hang in the trees, they breathe the wind, they flow in riverbeds, they dance among the stars. The sense of serenity that I feel when I am out in nature is as good for me as a guided meditation or deep contemplative prayer. While I pray, I’m reminded constantly that happiness, tolerance, kindness, and especially love are my ways to finding my peace of mind, heart and soul. To achieve balance in both male and female aspects of myself, I need to be immersed in the joy of life. I need to be tolerant of other’s beliefs.
There are laws in my faith as well. One of our most important laws is, “Harm none.” That means myself and others. That means leaving nothing but footprints in a forest. That means helping someone who asks for it. That means giving and taking. A harmonious balance between the light and the dark sides of my inner self have to join equally for me to feel whole. To me that means opening my heart to infinite possibilities done in the name of love and harmony. To me, even when I’m sad or feel broken, I know that I need only pray. This allows the love energy to flow freely.
In the Christian faith, Jesus is asked, “What is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
His response, found in Matthew 22:35-41 says, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The words are deep and profound. In the words of Rev. Linda Looney, “Jesus’ message of inclusivity and love seems very radical. It WAS radical because of the impurity laws of Judaism, the absolutes, the impossibility of keeping every facet of the law. THAT is what we were saved from – the impossible law that was absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to keep, therefore it made people sinners for not keeping the law.”
Jesus didn’t say ‘Love your neighbor unless he is gay.’ or “Love your neighbor as long as they worship the same God.” He said to Love them as yourself. It would seem to me that there are a lot of people who can’t stand themselves out there in the world. They’d rather worry about what consenting adults do in their private lives than to feed the third world countries. They’d rather ridicule and spout hatred than to follow God’s command through His Son Jesus Christ.
This has caused me many years of contemplation. When I began to love myself, I realized that people around me are struggling with the same stuff I do every day. Just like a gay man or a lesbian or a straight person, I worry about bills, kids, schools, work, chores, etc. Just like a Christian, I pray for peace and love to rule the world instead of anger and viciousness. What face do I perceive when I pray? I see the face of the Goddess. I see the face of God. I feel the balance as if everything I ask for will be so. Not like a magic wish factory, but as in peace of mind. I don’t feel alone any more. I feel comfort from my day to day life from Father and Mother God/dess. I feel love for all creatures great and small.
I’ve heard people say to me, because I speak my mind, “Well, I’m a Christian and you aren’t.” As if that’s reason enough to reject another human. I say to them, “Well if you were such a Christian, why aren’t you living the life of Christ?” Jesus was all about loving one another. He loved his disciples so much (and they him) that they walked around all over the place teaching together. Why aren’t we more like that? It seems that Christ’s lessons are used only when it is convenient.
Jesus says, ALL your heart, ALL your soul, ALL your mind. If that commandment, the one Jesus says is the most important, is to be honored, how can there be any room for intolerance? How can there be room for God when the heart is filled with such hate towards my fellow man? How can I be truthful to my spirit when I’m unwilling to follow His lessons and commands?
In 1 John 4:8 it says: “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” It is my interpretation that if God is love then wasting time with anger and hate towards the LGBT Community takes away from the glory of God. It takes away the potency of His words. It degrades and defiles Jesus by not following His instructions to love one another.
What love is capable of can be found in the story of my mother and myself. For years I held on to anger that I felt towards my mother. I was certain that she was the single-most horrid mother in history. I painted a horrible picture of her. Although some of it may have been true, it was only in my perception that was true.
My mother and I were estranged for 17 long years. We didn’t start speaking until about two years ago. During the course of our conversations, I came to a deeper understanding of our relationship. On her 65th birthday, together we burned a venomous letter that I had written that had, in part, caused the distance between us. As that letter burned in the bucket, I looked at her face. I saw my face 20 years from now. I saw my own blood flowing through her veins. I saw hope and love. I’d been so quick to toss blame. We’d soiled something that shouldn’t have been an issue had we followed the lessons we were taught.
The sense of peace, hope, love, and respect that I feel for her is stronger than it has ever been. I saw her for the first time as a human being, just like me. I saw her with kindness in my heart rather than anger. I was able to take the lessons I’ve learned and follow another important lesson that was taught to me at her knee. Jesus taught the lesson about judgment. His words were meant to show that there is a better way to do things.In Matthew 7:2-4 (NIV) 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
No matter what I am faced with, I know that if I follow the simple laws of harming no others, of loving one another as I love my Lord and Lady, of holding onto my judgment and letting things be as they are, of offering hope and care wherever it is needed, then I am doing my part. I have been told that I am the most Christian non-Christian. I’m proud of that. I don’t reject the teachings I was brought up with, nor do I reject my fellow human beings despite their age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other criteria. As for me and mine, we will bide by the Law of Love, not hatred. I will love my brothers and sisters in spirit no matter what their beliefs or choices. In that way, and with deepest respect for those who object on the grounds of religion, I wish you nothing but peace and love in your hearts.
Peace to you and yours.