The bill in Arizona (Religious Freedom Bill) was vetoed, but similar moves are being discussed in other states of America. I believe the bill was vetoed because of the buying power of the gay community, with large corporations such as Apple pushing hard to make sure the bill didn’t go through.
So the reality in Arizona is “Expensive shirt, designer shoes, service guaranteed.”
I’m glad the bill was vetoed, but sorry it wasn’t vetoed for better reasons, such as equality, fairness and empathy.
I’m really sad that I feel the need to write this. I thought we had moved past these sorts of shenanigans, but apparently not. And after participating in some recent Facebook conversations, I’m aware that Bible literalists are still peddling the idea that it’s a sin to be homosexual.
I can’t for the life of me understand how it can be a sin to live as you were born, to love who you love and to express something that you never chose. Just imagine if I was refused service in a restaurant because I’m heterosexual. It’s just as unthinkable, even nonsensical, as refusing service to someone because they are male, white or red haired.
Empathy! If we could really get inside the shoes of people being discriminated against, we wouldn’t allow it. This video is longish but worth the view. It describes a world where it’s a sin to be heterosexual.
It’s powerful isn’t it? I hope it gets viewed widely, and I hope the message of empathy takes hold. My career in the church began in the inner city of Sydney in a church that was on the Mardi Gras parade route. In my first year, I suggested we open the church on the night of the parade as a water and rest stop. The idea sparked a furor among some who felt that this would be an endorsement of a sinful lifestyle. It was the beginning of the end of my interest in church, where it seems to be more important to be right than to treat people right.
Surely compassion is at the heart of the message of all religions. The Golden Rule says it plain as day. Here it is, in multiple versions,
Isocrates (436-338 BCE) said, “Do not do unto others what angers you.”
Confucianism- “Do not do to others what you would not like yourself.”
Christianity- “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Buddhism- “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.”
Hinduism- “This is the sum of duty; do nothing to others that you would not have them do to you.”
Islam- “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.”
Judaism- “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.”
Taoism- “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.”
Zoroastrianism- “Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.”
Native American Spirituality – “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within the web of life. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.” (Chief Seattle)
This is surely the heart of religion. I’m completely fed up with people who think they have some direct line to God through the Bible, that gives them absolute truth on morality and then use this to justify bigoted behavior. It seems to me that in the case of believing that homosexuality is a sin, it’s not enough just to believe you’re right.You have to believe you are SO right, so sure God is on your side, that you are prepared to hurt, exclude and discriminate against a significant portion of the population to speak your mind. Can anyone be THAT sure? Can any human being live with that burden? Wouldn’t it be better to err on the side of love rather than judgment? Isnt that what Jesus was all about?
Jared Leto gave a great acceptance speech at this year’s Academy Awards. Here is his speech, where he talks about acceptance while accepting his award.