November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Alejna emailed me yesterday and told me that she nominated a couple of my recent posts for October's Just Posts, a round-up of different posts from different bloggers that focus on social issues. Considering my feelings toward Prop 8, this is an honor for me.

You can see the list of posts here. I am so grateful to have been able to contribute something meaningful. Thank you, Alejna!

I haven't been writing about Prop 8 lately. But I have been reading, and I have been thinking. I've made some good solid attempts to understand where the supporters of Prop 8 are coming from. I don't believe in pointing fingers and hating others for their beliefs, no matter how much these beliefs have hurt and will continue to hurt others. I believe in being part of the solution. And I think the solution is to try to understand others, no matter how infuriating they can be.

I am not always successful; in fact, I rarely am. My good intentions are often clouded by anger and sadness. But here are a few things that I believe to be true. A yes vote on Prop 8 has nothing at all to do with gay people or same-sex marriage or sparing our poor innocent children from the abomination of gayness. It has everything to do with a belief system that does not look kindly upon same-sex marriage. It has to do with people who simply don't understand that homosexuals truly pose no threat to anyone's life, people who cannot escape the crippling power of what they believe.

In all the uproar over Prop 8, I forgot that I myself was raised Catholic, and that for years, the Church had immense power over me. I don't consider Catholicism (or any other religion, for that matter) to be the essence of evil, but I do know that when human beings get hold of anything, even the purest of the pure can turn ugly. We simply do not know how to not leave the taint of our humanity behind on anything we touch.

Prop 8 is the perfect example of how ugly things can become if we don't open our eyes and realize that we are all human beings. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: there are many paths up the same mountain. And we all want the same simple things: food, water, shelter, love. Why, oh why, do we continue to constantly divide ourselves?

I will continue to reach across the chasm that divides us. Because I need to believe that things can change. And things must change; otherwise there will be too many casualties in this civil rights war.

To all you past, present, and future veterans who are fighting the good fight, I salute you. Happy Veterans Day.


WeezerMonkey said...

I'm doing my best to bridge the chasm, too. As someone who wasn't raised as a churchgoer and as someone who knows plenty of gay people, it's difficult for me to relate to a number of folks who adhere to the Bible without question and know gayness only as a concept and not as a person.

But I'm trying to understand. The first step for me is to figure out why the Yes folks are thinking what they're thinking. Until I do that, my attempts at education won't really be very effective.

thebookmill said...

i'm a recovering catholic, i can relate. when i was younger, i assumed that the super religious members of my family, like my mom, didn't support things like gay marriage or arbortion. but actually, turns out she does and still considers herself a good catholic. i think it all depends on how people choose to interpert the bible and the church teachings. some people can make a distinction between the church as an institution with its set of rules - and the spirituality of the religion itself. others don't and think to be a good catholic you have to follow all the rules. like weezermonkey said above me, its hard to relate to those who follow the bible and church teachings without question. unfortunately, there are also members of my family who are like this.. so our family gatherings are always interesting, to say the least.

Leslie said...

WeeMo - it's definitely difficult for me too (obviously). It hurts me to know that real people are going to suffer as a result of fear and ignorance. It's very sad that there are many that cannot look past their own stuff to see how this will affect others.

bookmill - I use the phrase recovering Catholic all the time. :) My mom is the same as your mom. She can clearly see that something like Prop 8 is very damaging. I too think there are big differences between spirituality and religion. This is why I consider myself spiritual but not religious. It's funny how many overly religious zealots see me as someone that needs to be saved. ;) I really respect those who constantly question their God and whatever they've been taught - it's so essential to grow as a person.

amber said...

beautiful post. i applaud all of your efforts.

thebookmill said...

PS - some good news: gay marriage was just legalized in connecticut.