Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why We Need to Teach Tolerance

Amazing how there are always people going in the opposite direction. But to them, we are the opposites! What does this show us? We are all different. We all have our own desires and gifts. Each should be celebrated. Nothing says you have to accept another's sexual orientation. That is your decision to make. However, in a country that boasts freedom, it is not acceptable to deny an entire citizenry basic civil rights based on one's own direction. Different doesn't mean evil. Different doesn't mean we have the right to bash and otherwise stifle the lives of someone with whom we disagree.

Some would say that allowing gay marriage or supporting legislation that gives hate crime status to beating up on people who are different, is absolutely necessary. Others hide behind the "love the sinner, hate the sin" caption - which is totally contrary to any truly spiritual teaching. This is all false doctrine and dogma which does nothing but hide behind a veil of bigotry and prejudice.

Allow me to share two stories with you: is the story of a young person struggling with his sexual orientation who was taunted and tortured -- until it killed him. is about a wonderful 18 year relationship between two women who, when one became gravely ill, was not allowed visitation in the hospital. Eventually, after the sick partner passed, the surviving partner was not allowed access to death certificates, insurance, and those civil rights which help us care for our surviving children.

These are the kind of rights for which the lgbt citizens fight: The right to marry our long-time partners. Did you see the marriages in California last week? The first to marry were two women with over 50 years together. Just today, I received an email from a woman I know in California who, because the county clerk put "confidential" on their paperwork, must now go to court to prove the marriage actually did take place. They were sabotaged by the court clerk. The right to have access to social security, death benefits, insurance, and even the right to be at the bedside of our ill partners. The right to make decisions about our children. All of these are certainly not "special" rights." These are civil rights - basic human rights - and there are over 1000 more of them to which the lgbt citizenry does not have access.

So, please, before one jumps on a biblical high horse and proclaims the lgbt citizens of our great country as evil and our relationships invalid, consider yourself. Regardless of spiritual path, it is not the seat of judgment you occupy. It is the seat of love, acceptance and tolerance. Not all who come to the gates of the Kingdom will be offered access. Will we be considered by our piousness or by our love?

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