We Can’t be the Light and Hold Someone Else in Darkness

I wrote this blog a few years ago while many of us were focusing on the legalization of gay marriage. Unfortunately, the blog is still applicable today –  even more so, given the energy currently forced on us by many who are misusing the power entrusted to them. Regardless of which group is being targeted, the issue is the same, so I’ve updated it to fit us today:

Last week I woke up to this headline on a friend’s Facebook page: Kansas Restaurant Kicks Gay Man Out, Tells Him “No Gay Eating Here”

I immediately got sick to my stomach. This was from a news company in Topeka, KS. The capitol of my home state.

I am an LGBTQ-affirmative therapist, a straight ally – an advocate of equality for everyone in every aspect of our lives. I’ve been following the news on this issue, so I’m very aware of  legislation being presented in the state where I grew up, the one I where I currently reside and across our nation.

I typically do not even respond to stories like this. I try to focus on those that are shining the light on humanity and showing the positive strides we’re making. But I couldn’t believe what I read – and I reacted immediately from the gut, apologizing to my friend for the ignorance of the bill (as if I carried some responsibility for it simply because I’m from Kansas).

Then as I began my morning ritual in the kitchen it hit me that I’d never heard of the news organization or the town they talked about in this post – and believe me, there are very few small towns in Kansas that I haven’t been to, heard of, or even lived in! So I realized it was probably a hoax.

Why would someone would go to the energy to write something like this? Part of me thought it was cruel and insane. It smacked of the same angry, fearful hatred that came out of the Jim Crow days. That’s why it hit me in the gut. Haven’t we moved past this mindset in our society?
But what I wanted to believe was that it was a cautionary tale. Someone was trying to get the rest of us to see the insanity of this bill as it might play out in reality. (It turned out to be just that).

Action that stems from fear only creates more fear. When we act out of fear, we aren’t living consciously. We are reacting to what things appear to be, without delving deeper to try to understand where others are coming from. Much of our news these days comes in short sound-bites. Many don’t take the time to dig deeper to find and understand the full story

People who do things to separate themselves from others, who at first glance appear different, feel threatened by something they don’t understand and they don’t (won’t ?) take the time to learn about it. I think it’s because there has been so much more progress in LGBTQ rights, women’s rights and those of immigrants, all people of color or any marginalized group we can name. Those people who are fighting this progress are running scared. The world is changing and that means they are going to have to deal with it. It’s a last ditch effort to stay in their comfort zone. Yes there are some religious teachings and beliefs that drive some of it, and I respect everyone’s right to believe as they desire. But beliefs are built on what we are told, what we experience, and the thoughts we feed. Beliefs are not necessarily truths.

One of my beliefs is that we all came from – and will return to the same place – the place of ultimate Truth and Light. If we could look into each other’s eyes and really see the soul there, we wouldn’t have any of these issues, because we would realize we are all one. What I do to you, I do to myself.

The following comes from The Book of Love and Creation, as dictated through Paul Selig:

“. . . You have made love small. You have made love an ideal that is stuck with candy and rests in a box. You have made love a discerning issue. “I will give my love to this guy because he’s got what I want” or . . . “I will love my job because if I don’t someone will take it from me”. . . None of that in truth is love. They are all aspects of ego seeking to control . . .You can no longer create love from a cookie cutter that excludes the fabric around it. You can no longer love John and not love Fred. . . You can no longer hold your culture in love, claiming that another culture cannot be love because you disapprove of their actions.”

This means ALL of us – those who espouse hatred of the gay community or some other group because their experience with a few have tainted their view, or because they are told they are not “normal” or are not sanctioned by a specific religious belief – but it also speaks to those of us who believe in and actively work for a more inclusive society. We tend to judge THEM because THEY don’t understand love as WE do. (There is no US or THEM).

We can’t deny women, African Americans, Muslims or LGBTQ citizens their basic rights and pretend it’s about our “religious freedom.”

If you don’t believe in birth control, don’t use it.  If you don’t agree with the way they practice their faith, then worship your own God in your own way. If you don’t believe in gay marriage, don’t marry a gay person.

Religious freedom doesn’t mean we can force others to live by our beliefs. It means we can all live together and honor each other’s beliefs and lifestyles; and their right to a safe, equal education, job market and pay.

We can’t be the Light that we are meant to be if we hold even one other person in contempt and darkness. We all have the responsibility to find ways to make this life on earth work – through kindness, education and love. Let’s commit to being more creative as we look for ways to do so in peace.