This isn’t just a Utah phenomenon. I’ve lived outside of this place. I’ve worked outside of this place. It was just as bad in Denver. It was just as bad in California. I see it on blogs. I hear it on television shows and radio programs. I hear it around my own family’s dinner table from time to time. Usually said so passively, so sneakily, and so “righteously.”
“God hates fags.” “God hates addicts.” “God hates people who shop at Salvation Army.” “God hates people that aren’t just like me.”
People may not be holding up picket signs and marching around in front of television cameras but… come on. Why is it that so many incredible people who have certain struggles, problems, or their own beliefs of what is right and wrong feel so hated? Why do they feel so judged? Why do they feel so… loathed? What undeniable truth must we all eventually admit to ourselves when such is the case?
Now, I’m not religious. I’m also not gay. But I’ll tell you right now that I’ve sought out religion. I’ve looked for what I believe truth to be. For years I studied, trying to find “it”. Every major religion had good selling points. Every major religion, if I rewound far enough, had some pretty incredible base teachings from some pretty incredible individuals.
Check this out, and feel free to correct me if I get this wrong…
According to Christians, Jesus taught a couple of interesting things. First, “love one another.” Second, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (“Her” being a woman who cheated on her man.)
According to Buddhists, Buddha taught a couple of thought-provoking things. First, “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” Second, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
According to Hindus, a couple of fascinating teachings come to mind. First, “Do not get angry or harm any living creature, but be compassionate and gentle; show good will to all.” (Krishna) Second, “Love means giving selflessly, excluding none and including all.” (Rama)
According to Muslims, Muhammad taught a couple interesting things as well. First, “A true Muslim is the one who does not defame or abuse others; but the truly righteous becomes a refuge for humankind, their lives and their properties.” Second, “Do you love your creator? Love your fellow-beings first.”
According to Judaism, their scriptures teach a couple remarkable things. First, “Love your neighbor like yourself.” Second, “Examine the contents, not the bottle.”
The greatest spiritual leaders in history have all preached love for others as the basis for all happiness, and never did they accompany such mandates with a list of unlovable actions or deeds. They never said, love everybody except for the gays. Love everybody except for the homeless. Love everybody except for the drug users. Love everybody except for the gang members, or those covered in ink, or the spouse abusers. They didn’t tell us it was okay to love everybody with the exception of the “trailer trash,” those living in poverty, or the illegal immigrants. They didn’t tell us it was okay to love everybody except for our ex-lovers, our lovers’ ex lovers, or our ex-lovers’ lovers. The mandate was pretty damn clear, wasn’t it?
So if this is the founding directive of all the major religions… why is it that sometimes the most “Christlike” people are they who have no religion at all?
Let me repeat that.
Why is it that sometimes the most Christlike people are they who have no religion at all?
I have known a lot of people in my life, and I can tell you this… Some of the ones who understood love better than anyone else were those who the rest of the world had long before measured as lost or gone. Some of the people who were able to look at the dirtiest, the poorest, the gays, the straights, the drug users, those in recovery, the basest of sinners, and those who were just… plain… different…
They were able to look at them all and only see strength. Beauty. Potential. Hope.
And if we boil it down, isn’t that what love actually is?
Don’t get me wrong. I know a lot of incredible Christians, too. I know some incredible Buddhists and Muslims and Hindus and Jews. I know a lot of amazing people, devout in their various religions, who truly love the people around them.
I also know some atheist, agnostic, or religionless people who are absolutely hateful of believers. They loathe their religious counterparts. They love only those who believe (or don’t believe) the same things they do.
In truth, having a religion doesn’t make a person love or not love others. It doesn’t make a person accept or not accept others. It doesn’t make a person befriend or not befriend others.
Being without a religion doesn’t make somebody do or be any of that either.
No, what makes somebody love, accept, and befriend their fellow man is letting go of a need to be better than others.
I know there are many here who believe that living a homosexual life is a sin.
But, what does that have to do with love?
I repeat… what does that have to do with love?
Come on. Don’t we understand? Don’t we get it? To put our arm around someone who is gay, someone who has an addiction, somebody who lives a different lifestyle, someone who is not what we think they should be… doing that has nothing to do with enabling them or accepting what they do as okay by us. It has nothing to do with encouraging them in their practice of what you or I might feel or believe is wrong vs right.
It has everything to do with being a good human being. A good person. A good friend.
To put our arm around somebody who is different. Why is that so hard?
I’m not here to say homosexuality is a sin or isn’t a sin. To be honest, I don’t give a rip. I don’t care. I’m not here to debate whether or not it’s natural or genetic. Again, I… don’t… care. Those debates hold no encumbrance for me.
What I care about is the need so many of us have to shun and loathe others. The need so many of us have to feel better or superior to others. The need some of us have to declare ourselves right and “perfect” all the freaking time and any chance we have.
And for some of us, these are very real needs.
But I will tell you this. All it really is… All any of it really is… is bullying.
Sneaky, hurtful, duplicitous, bullying.
Well, guess what.
There are things we all do or believe that other people consider “sinful.” There are things we all do or believe that other people consider “wrong.” There are things we all do or believe that other people would be disgusted or angered by.
“Yes, but I have the truth!” most people will adamantly declare.
Whether you do or not…
This is hard to do. I've done it, and continue to; but it IS hard. I'm not Christian, I actually try to live my public life fairly atheistically (mostly to avoid leveraging the most private of relationships for public gain of any kind), and it's hard to ignore when someone thinks you are valued on the assumption of similarity. I've experienced parallax shift between seen and invisible difference, and it's weird when people realize, and start treating you differently. I appreciate your call to inclusive arms, and appreciate the integrity of faith that provoked it.
Thank you for this! I was raised in a very strict Protestant upbringing and as an adult I converted to the Catholic faith. I also have not one gay son...but TWO gay sons! I love them both...I don't care that they are gay...it doesn't change who they are!! I also thank God for bringing some gay friends into my life BEFORE I found out my boys are gay. They taught me a lot about my personal Christian beliefs and how I can say - "God loves everyone...but you - gay man!" That is so beyond wrong. Besides - how does one hate what is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. This needs to be read by everyone who claims to love their faith and yet hate another human.
@DeeDeeDeeB Agreed! How anyone can claim to love Christ yet hate is beyond me as well !
Much love to you and your family
til I saw the paycheck four $8108 , I be certain that my mother in law was like trully bringing home money in there spare time from there labtop. . there uncle haz done this for only twenty two months and recently cleared the dept on their home and bourt a brand new Volkswagen Golf GTI . pop over here
@Kaatje Van der Zee YES !! Same to you.. May this year be filled with peace and equality !
Just wanted to give everyone a chance to sign. This is completely outrageous and must be stopped. Please open the link and sign.
Love IS Louder..
Excellent post. You remind us that it is not about the "religion" but about the faith and life we lead. Christ did his ministry not in the synagogue but in the streets and gathering places of the tax collectors and prostitutes. That is where we should be sharing his love.
It is about time that discrimination of any kind stop. It was good to see the Pope make the comment regarding gay people, "Who am I to judge?" But so many within a denomination or otherwise still not only shun gays and others but outright attack them. It doesn't matter what religion someone is, each religion and ethnic group as well has its haters. It makes it tough to function, to live, to love. Dating as a gay person is made easier by going to a place that reviews sites so that choosing a mate is easier than it would otherwise be. A site like: http://gayboyz.com/. Christian say they are "Christian," but they act another way at times if someone doesn't fit into what they feel is correct. No matter what Jesus or Buddha says. Too bad, too. Good luck to all the Jacobs and others like him who just want to be treated like everyone else, in a good way.
@Ono It certainly is a tough job, some days tougher than others!