Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Heart is Divided.

DISCLAIMER: I warn you now, what reads below are words from my own heart. If it will upset you to read them, I advise you to hit the "back button," and leave this issue be. I wrote this for another blog and felt the need to post it on here, because my heart aches as I write this, and I wanted to express it. I do not mean to offend or attack, but rather to voice the dissapointment and true sadness I feel at this moment. I realize that many who will read this do not agree with me on this, and I realize I'm putting myself on a limb. I do not wish to create a divide in my friend/family circle- that would truly break my heart. I do though, desire to be honest about my feelings, and hope that you can read the following (if you choose to) with respect and the understanding that I love everyone who reads this and do not wish to create tension.

Read on if you desire, but if you'd rather not hear it, I advise you to wait until I post something more neutral, like pictures of my dogs or something from Disneyland.

Thank you.

Our nation has a rough road ahead- we will see big changes in terms of the economy, civil rights, the war, and foreign policy. There will be disagreements, successes and failures- but I hope we can all unite as a nation to help and work for a better country for everyone.

Apparently, my work is not over. I know my new shoes will have holes worn in them, as I continue to attend rallies, help out at events and try to spread what I believe to be God's message- that we must love one another.

This last election seemed to prove a contradiction- that we are ready for some peoples to be vindicated, and yet for others, there is a long way to travel before people can eradicate hatred from the hearts. It truly breaks my heart, that we see people using the Bible to justify discrimination. I just cannot believe, in the depths of my heart that God would ever really want us to hate someone, or deny them the right to live a happy life with rights equal to mine.

I will never use my vote to condone the creation (or perhaps continuation) of a second class of citizens. In my heart, I don't believe that God would want me to treat anyone as lesser person than myself, and then support it being written into law.

I suppose, there is no arguing with those that believe gay marriage is wrong. Apparently, some have hoped that by passing this proposition, it would make this issue go away, or that it wouldn't be as visible. I have to say, this has done nothing to advance the cause of religious righteousness, instead, it has perpetuated the cause of hatred and creating a power hierarchy that has preserved the ideals of the heterosexual privilege. It has now created the means to continue the oppression that has existed, and condone a hatred that finds a false justification by citing God as their means to do so. We no longer use the Bible to justify slavery or the oppression of women, so I do not feel it is appropriate to continue to use this as justification for the denial of AMERICAN rights (that shouldn't be determined by religious preference.)

In my heart and mind, LOVE, is the greatest emotion we possess. To segregate others that don't fit the mold, into a different expression of that love, so ours can feel more genuine, seems wrong to me. We have seen that segregation of rights, or access to common institutions has NEVER been a way to ensure equality for the masses. The term "separate but equal," has only ensured that two peoples are separate, but we know it has never been equal. Institutions should be the inclusive of all peoples- because dividing them has never been a fair process for those in the minority- ask anyone who had to sit in the back of the bus.

I also do not believe it's fair to think that by giving rights to all people, regardless of our own beliefs, that it somehow would be detrimental to the wellbeing and morality of our children. We teach our children that America is a land of "fairness and justice to all," but yet, as they grow up into adults, will they not see it clearly not the case? Homosexality is not a disease that our children will catch, they are not raised to become so, but homophobia is something that is. Bigotry and intolerance is perpetuated from generation to generation. Eventually, it is passed on for so long that it transforms from an opinion to a fact, and because it seems "factual," it is then passed into law, furthering the falseness of this created reality. Those argue that the Jim Crow laws of the South are not comparable to the discrimination which we are now, through law, imposing on homosexuals, I want to be told HOW they are not comparable. So far, I have heard nothing but opinion on this.

I realize, that my arguments in favor of equality for all fall on deaf ears. I cannot argue with the word of God as it is presented in the Bible, but I can ask for those who claim it as their main defense against gay marriage to look at it once again. Do we take every passage literally? Do we still stone people to death, do we still hold slaves? Do we still make women go to the Red Tent during menstruation? Do we still forbid women from speaking in church? Why have we chosen to disregard some and still hold onto other verses from the Bible? Why- because society has evolved and does not have to take it all literally. Those who follow should Christianity use it as a guide, but not as a word-for-word dictation in terms of social justice. Otherwise, we would still stone people to death for committing adultery.

We selectively use the Bible to enforce social norms to further it into a social reality. This is my theory as to why we now disregard passages in it about slavery, and about women's "place," but at one time, these passages were used to further justify societal injustice. We use the Bible in this manner as a convenience to further our own agendas, and I think this is wrong.

I suppose what I am asking for- is that we use today's wisdom, coupled with the Bible's teachings, to further progress in society and create a more fair and balanced society, not one which excludes a group of people or selectively chooses when to discriminate due to convenience. I wish I could see the Bible teach compassion and tolerance not enforce segregation that masks the true intentions of injustice.


Whitney said...

I completely understand how you are feeling today, Shannyn. It is far more disappointing growing up believing in our "equality for all" ideal, and in one evening see that ideal is only true for the majority.

As one of our founding fathers said, "Every other sect supposes itself in possession of the truth, and that those who differ are so far in the wrong. Like a man traveling in foggy weather they see those at a distance before them wrapped up in a fog, as well as those behind them, and also people in the fields on each side; but near them, all appears clear, though in truth they are as much in the fog as any of them." (Benjamin Franklin)

We need to free ourselves from this fog.

I think they deserve to experience the joy of marriage as much as we do. How knows? Maybe they'll value it MORE than we do, seeing as divorce rates are between 40-50%.

Shannyn said...

Yes, as a child of a very bad (heterosexual) marriage, I just can't imagine that we've perfected marriage so well that we are telling others they can't have it.

When we are perfect, then let's throw stones, until then, let's be fair.

Andy, Beth and Jennah, too! said...

I may be the one with the "christian" beliefs that you are probably referring to... I really do believe that you should love who you want to love. I also believe that to define a "marriage" it would be essential to have one man and one woman. A marriage is a start of a family. If you have a family it means you have the right physical parts to procreate, thus forming family. It's a different case if your "parts" don't work right... but

Two eggs don't make a baby, two sperm don't create life. That's the ONLY reason I, personally, couldn't confidently support gay marriage. I whole heartedly support gay relationships (I have family/friends that have chosen this). If that's what one choses... that's their choice. That's why we're here on earth, to make choices.

Shannyn said...

So, should I not get married if I don't want kids? I don't think that is the only purpose of a marriage anymore.

It's an honest question.

Shannyn said...

I suppose we can agree to disagree on this one- but thank you for listening to opinion on this issue! I appreciate it!

Andy, Beth and Jennah, too! said...

good question... I wonder why people have kids and won't get married. What's the purpose?

What is the purpose of marriage... to create/start a family. A family can be just a husband and wife. Just because they chose not to procreate it doesn't make them less of a family. But, they could IF they chose to.