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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

time to pay attention

In case you haven't already seen this all over Facebook (it has somehow been shared almost 400 times), I wanted to share with you something Sandi wrote about the election.  She doesn't get angry very often but when she does, it is worth paying attention to. 

She called it "Yes...I'm angry" and I'm so very proud of her for writing it.  It will appear in the Downeast Coastal Press, one of the newspapers in the rural Washington County where she was born and where much of the war over question one is based.  Aunt Suzie, Uncle Buck and Noah have been putting signs up all over the county and they are being torn down, vandalized and stolen at every turn.  In less than a week over 100 signs went missing. I assume people are feeling desperate and cornered with the shakedown of this vote and the people coming out of the woodwork in support of gay rights in this rural, conservative and very religious part of the state.

In Sandi's words:

"I have taken enough abuse during this campaign season. And I’m done taking it. I’ve had it up to my ears with Question 1.

I went to bed last night with a heavy heart – heavy with sadness, but less comfortably, heavy with anger. Anger doesn’t come easily to me and when it does, I’m not one to let it reside for very long.    Anger serves to feed no one, but sometimes it has a place and a purpose. Sometimes it fuels a fire and used correctly, can be a nice little nudge to do or say something worthwhile.

So as I went to sleep last night, I said a little prayer that my anger would either be softened to something beneficial to me or that it would serve the purpose of nudging me to say something. By 3:30, when Maya made her way into our bedroom with her “chest full of cold” cough, my anger had dissipated into resolve and certainty that I should do what I don’t ever do – speak from my anger.

Suzanne and I sit in the evenings with our tea or hot cocoa and listen to each other’s day. It has always been our practice, but we are especially faithful to it now, as we see each other so little during everyday tasks - with me in grad-school and her managing our life. Lately, we have each, individually, had many conversations with family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances regarding the issue of question 1 this November. Naturally, these conversations make their way into our evening chats. For the most part, we do a good job of staying strong, not letting it hit us too hard when we hear, “but I just believe that marriage is too sacred to redefine. Don’t take it personally. I love you. I respect you and your family. I just think marriage is between a man and a woman.” Let me translate what you just said… “You are different than me. I deserve these rights, and you don’t.” It is discrimination. Ugly and hateful discrimination. Furthermore, when you say “I want you to have these rights, I just don’t think it should be called ‘marriage,’” what you are saying is this – you are unequal to me and therefore should not have what I have. “Separate, but equal…” Ring a bell?? Discrimination. At least have the decency to call it what it is.

Well, I’ve heard it enough. I’m tired of the lame excuses. I’m tired of the “I just believe marriage is too ‘sacred’ and shouldn’t be redefined.” Like the GLBT community is going to muck it up with extramarital affairs, quick-to-divorce attitudes, and less than respectful relationships. Wait…. you straight people f…ed that up already. You did that all on your own. So don’t tell me about the ‘sacred’ institution of marriage. What’s sacred is what you create. The sacred in marriage is not bestowed upon you by an outside institution.

In the spectrum of life and living, there are two end points of how you choose to live - your vibration, if you will – on one end is love, and on the other is hate. In my opinion, love is what we, as humans, aspire to be. We are born capable of the spectrum of vibration, and while love is the natural state, we can choose any other vibration we want. Having said that, I believe anything less than love is a choice to deviate from what is natural. That is why I know, in my heart and soul, that what I share with Suzanne is the most natural thing in the world, born of love, nurtured in love, and created anew daily in love.

As I sat last evening and felt Suzanne’s experience as she recalled her conversation yesterday, like so many conversations before, with a dear friend about why he is having a hard time “redefining” marriage to be inclusive… as I sat while she explained to me that his marriage was too “sacred” to share with us… as I sat while the sadness poured from her soul… as I sat and watched the tears stream from her heart… as I sat while she doubted the people of Maine & the outcome of the vote on November 6… as I sat while she so eloquently detailed all the empty and false reasons why we shouldn’t have access to legal marriage… why we are not “created equal”… as I sat with her sorrow… my blood began to boil.

On November 6, we vote for love or for hate. We vote for inclusion or exclusion. We vote to be bigger than we were or to stay stuck in segregation and discrimination. We have an opportunity to set an example for the rest of our country, or not.

I am deeply saddened, but not at all surprised, that religious entities are the biggest supporters of the campaign for discrimination. “But the Bible clearly says…” Hogwash. I’m tired of hearing what the Bible says. I don’t even want to capitalize the word “Bible” right now. I’m only doing it out of respect. Go pick out all the implicit instructions in the Bible, number them, and tell me what percentage are actually applicable in today’s world. Who wrote the Bible? Go pick out a book in the Bible and then tell me it hasn’t been interpreted 100 different ways. Who’s the main character in the Bible? I’ll answer this one for you – Jesus. What did Jesus preach? Love. What did Jesus advocate? Love. Who did Jesus discriminate against? No one.

There is a place for religion – to commune and share love with each other. Unfortunately, religious entities are choosing something other than love. And they are doing it out of fear. I think it’s a fear of God and what they believe God wants. I think people are trying to do what they think is right. But unfortunately, and all too often, people turn to religious entities and stop thinking for themselves. They forget that they are in control of their own hearts and minds. We are God. God isn’t an entity outside of us. We are part of that “higher power.” Pull up your britches, people, and take some accountability.

Also, and all too often, religious entities lie. They are spouting lies all over the place right now. I know this to be true. I know what legal rights I do and don’t have. Churches are telling people that I have equal rights and that I shouldn’t be asking for more equality in this world because I’m just as protected by the law as my married friends and family. THESE ARE LIES. And when the church says, “we love you, we just don’t love your behavior,” well I’m sorry, but all I heard is “I don’t love.” What did Jesus preach, share, and embody…. Love. Do I have faith in religious entities that don’t choose love?…. No. I do not.

I am angry. I am angry that people won’t take the time and energy to think for themselves. I’m angry that people won’t educate themselves to the law. I’m angry that people would rather be spoon-fed lies than seek out truth. I’m angry that people won’t open their hearts and minds. I’m angry that a very large percentage of the population thinks it’s ok to discriminate against me. I’m angry that those same people think they are more deserving of rights. And I’m angry that they think they are somehow closer to God than I am. I choose love every day of my life. I live and love in the manner that Jesus taught. And I’m tired of religious zealots telling me that there is something unnatural and undeserving about me.

Every thought and every action we take adds to define us as who we are. If you are one of those people who believes me unequal to you and undeserving of your ‘sacred’ marriage, I have this to say… no matter how you frame it, or what language you couch it in… you are choosing hate and exclusion. I pray for you, not for me, that you won’t define yourself this way."

Thank you to the countless people pouring love our way.  We are immensely grateful for all of you spinning a cocoon of protection around us. We are finding our center, the heart of our life in our family and our partnership and we are standing tall.

1 comment:

jan said...

yes, yes, yes!

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