Every person in this country should be outraged at recent c-tions taken by the Congress and ap-proved of by the President of the United States. People who are committed to their spiritual path and to a vision of planetary peace should be particularly moved to take some sort of action. I am referring to the recent decision to vote down a bill which would protect the rights of gay people in the workplace and to another bill which continues to deny marital rights to gays by legally defining marriage as a contract that can take place only between a man and a woman. Such discrimination is no longer tolerated against people of color (at least not openly), but folks don't blink an eye when gays are relegated not just to the back of the bus but aren't even allowed on the bus!
If you are heterosexual you may wonder why this should matter to you. After all, you can't be fired for loving and being in a committed relationship with a person of the opposite sex. And you can marry the man or woman you fall in love with. Why should you care about gay people; you can't relate to them anyway!
First, if you believe in the metaphysical concept of oneness, you'll realize that when one person or group of people is affected, all of us are. If any of us are denied the freedom to live life as who we really are, then all of us have been denied a piece within ourselves just as surely as if the legislation was aimed at everybody. Second, when one group is allowed to legislate their morality onto everyone else, you can be sure that an issue near and dear to you can't be far behind. In other words, you may not care about gay marriages or the rights of gay people to work without fear of being fired simply because they are gay, but you may care deeply about the next issue the religious right decides to target. You know, they aren't real big on various types of alternative healing or spiritual practices such as meditation! Your favorite issue might be next.
This country was founded on the principle of religious freedom and there was to be a very clear separation of Church and State. That is what is in jeopardy and all of us need to care about it and be ready to take action to insure that everyone in this country is free to follow his or her own religious beliefs as long as they do not hurt other people. The belief that homosexuality is immoral or a sin is a religious belief and is not something that should be legislated by the government. Those people who believe homosexuality is a sin should not engage in homosexual acts.
No government should be involved in the matter of two adult people entering into a legal agreement to share their lives, raise children, or share physical intimacy with one another. If you are heterosexual, this issue may have never entered your mind. Any person you would consider marrying, you can marry if you want to do so. Of course, many people in our community don't marry their partners anyway. But, consider how you'd feel if you were legally prevented from doing so. And, truth is, you are not free to marry the person of your choice. Even if you are not gay and don't want to do so, you still are legally prevented from marrying a person of the same sex as yourself. You are not free any more than gay people are. This may not be a practical consideration for you, but it certainly should be one of theoretical importance to you.
Now, if the religious right really wanted to do something with a spiritual base, they would work as hard to outlaw the new sport called ultimate wrestling as they do to eradicate gay love. Two men can get in a cage and be as violent as they want to be with one another (except they are not allowed to gouge out eyes)--they can pound, beat, kick, pull, hit, etc., until the other man is almost dead--and the moralists do nothing to stop this. Instead, they spend their energy trying to stop two men from going to bed together to make love. What kind of logic is that?
I see all of humanity as one entity. We're all one part of a very diverse being. That means everyone serves a purpose for everyone else. We all act out some aspect of the whole being. That is why when one of us heals our issues, everyone benefits. Gay people play a very important role for all of humanity, just as heterosexual people do. One of the gifts gay people give is the healing of relationships between men and the relationships between women. We all know that men have been encouraged to compete with one another, fight with each other, and avoid close relationships. Because we are all part of one another, when two gay men love each other they help to heal this rift for all men, gay or not. Gay men hold an energy for all men.Women have a reputation for backbiting, competition, and cattiness with one another. We've all heard about how women give up their women friends as soon as they bag a guy. Gay women who are in loving relationships, who care deeply about one another, and who are true to each other offer a different energy to the soup. Gay women hold an energy for all women.
If you believe that we all chose who we were going to be before we were born, you might hold the attitude that gays, blacks, indians, blind people, and other minority groups chose their status. That being the case, we should just let everyone work out their own difficulties. "It's not my problem," is an interesting brand of compassion. If people do choose their lives before birth, that means each of us also chose ours. That means all of us are here together at this time in history for a reason. Could it be that those of us who are trying to walk a consciously spiritual path are here to offer support and help to groups who are not being treated fairly? Is it possible that if we don't do this, we are the ones not fulfilling our destiny? It's something deserving of our serious consideration.
It's nice to spend time every day in meditation and prayer and people who are familiar with my writing know how much I harp on the importance of daily quiet time. It is equally important, though, to take that energy and use it for the greater good of all humankind in whatever way we can. The least we can do is vote. We may not like the way our government is being run all the time, but if we don't use our right to vote and try to get better leaders into office, we don't really have much room to complain. This column has only addressed one social injustice that needs care, compassion, and healing. There are many others.
Those who have been blessed with the gifts each of us have also have been mandated to give to others. There are many causes to support: food and shelter for the homeless; support and friendship for people with life-threatening illnesses; inequities among class; race, and gender. Choose one or a few. Until all of us are fed, until all of us are housed and clothed, until all of us are free to be true to ourselves, until all of us are healed, none of us are any of these things. We really are all members of one cosmic self. When are we going to start acting like it?