Saturday, November 21, 2009

St. Valentine, Patron Saint of Lovers

St. Valentine, Patron Saint of Lovers
mixed media shrine

I have been watching the struggle for marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples with my heart in my mouth. Every time a marriage equality law is passed I rejoice, every time that law is struck down I am deeply sickened. For one group of people to enjoy a basic human right, and then for that same group to very self righteously work to DENY another group of people enjoyment of that right is so small minded. So puny of heart, so limited of spirit. So scary.

Because people who allow themselves to exist in a small minded state of being are the cause of the world's suffering. They might be perpetrating violence. They might be buying into some ugly rhetoric. They might be standing by cheering while their neighbor is dragged into the street and shot. They might be lobbying elected officials to violate the constitutional and human rights of their fellow citizens. Persecution takes place the world over. Persecution is universally recognized as WRONG unless a person is really and truly some huge asshole (the word asshole here symbolizing a spiritual void which is really, really ass). For example: the persecution of the Palestinian people by the Israelies, the persecution of Jewish people by Christians, the persecution of black people by white people, of Southern Sudanese people by Northern Sudanese people, of Native American people by white people, of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. by white people. How about women, children, and people who are poor who are exploited and/or denied justice by fundamentalist religions or rapacious capitalism (Marshall Islands, Tom Delay, sweatshop slavery-Google it)? How about political persecution? The list could go on and on. All heinous examples of one group of people who have some power or advantage being total assholes to somebody else. The denial of equal rights for gay people is no different. There is no justified reason to deny gay people equality. There never is any rational reason for this sort of miserable human failing. There is only fear, ignorance, hatred of one's self turned outward, and greed.

And if I hear the phrase "defense of marriage" ever again as a rallying cry to rob gay people of their right to marriage, I'm going to throw up in my mouth. Seriously. Because that is the most specious argument I have EVER heard. A fifty percent divorce rate would seem to indicate that straight people haven't been doing such a hot job with their God given right to wed, don't even mention the statistics on marital infidelity. Domestic violence, substance abuse, co-dependency, failure to rectify family dysfunction and lack of self knowledge are all killers of straight marriages. Gay people? Not so much.

I will end with this beautiful passage from the Bible, first Corinthians, chapter 13. It reminds us that love is the way in which God intends us to exist. That love is expressed through our way of being, our intentions, words, and actions. It also makes very clear what love is NOT:
"If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated,
it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I believe that to deny gay people the right to wed is to work against love. I believe that to work against love is to work against God.


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