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The Way to a Wonderful Life, Sunday, June 2, 2013 

Listen to the Radio Broadcast of this Message:  click here
        "You can have all the things that you desire
But without love you just can't survive
You need love to warm your heart at night
When you're all alone and no comfort's in sight
Everybody needs somebody
Everybody's got the right to love
- taken from the Lyrics, Everybody's Got The Right To Love, The Supremes, written by Lou Stallman, 1970 

 Throughout the month of June each year there are numbers of "Gay Pride" parades and celebrations.  I went to Google to find out when the first Gay Pride Parade was held and found that it was on June 28, 1970 in New York City.  And so the idea spread and now parades and celebrations are held throughout the world taking place somewhere almost every month, especially June.  It is ironic that June is also the traditional month in which weddings take place.  Now, 43 years later, the main focus of most of these parades and celebrations are on same-sex marriage.  Although legal only in twelve U.S. states, same-sex marriage is legal now in 14 countries, including our neighbor to the North, Canada.  Same-sex marriage was legal for a short time in California and this month the Supreme Court will determine whether it is to be legal again, or not. 

      Many people are amazed that California is not leading the nation in legalizing same-sex marriage.  After all, California is known for being progressive and tolerant of diversity.  The California Supreme Court in 1948 struck down the law that banned interracial marriage.  This was 19 years before the United States Supreme Court decision and was not supported by the general public.  In fact, a Gallup poll in 1958 found that 96 percent of white Americans continued to disapprove of interracial marriages. Nevertheless, 14 of the remaining 37 states with anti-miscegenation laws followed California’s lead and repealed their laws between 1948’s Perez [the marriage of a Mexican woman to a Black man] and 1967’s Loving [the marriage of a White man to a Black woman], a decision that drew from the California case.  The California Supreme Court struck down the law against same-sex marriage but through the California Initiative process, Prop 8, voters once again banned it in the state by a small margin with the help  of hundreds of thousands of dollars from religious organizations.  And so proponents of same-sex marriage went back the Court and now the U. S. Supreme Court will decide the issue this month ... June ... the month of weddings and Gay Pride marches.  Interesting don't you think?

     I never understood racial bigotry and prejudice that I witnessed growing up, and neither could I understand homophobia and the bigotry and bias based on sexual orientation.  In fact, racism and homophobia are probably two of the most surprising ideas accepted by people who are otherwise seemingly intelligent.  And for people who claim to be religious to foster either racism or homophobia is to me, a denial of the very teachings that Jesus so passionately wanted us to understand.  Racism was prevalent in the consciousness of Americans for far too long and the horrendous effects of it damaged the lives of people of all races.  Homophobia, like racism, denies the Living Spirit of G-d within people and its effects are damaging to us collectively as well.  As the Master Mind Jesus tells us "by what measure you judge, so you shall be judged" ... in other words, the negative judgments poison the mind of those who judge harshly and the "love one another" wisdom is always our best choice.  When Jesus was listening to the men debate whether to stone the prostitute or not, he bent over and wrote in the sand "what is it to you?"  And this is a question that we each must answer many times in our lives.  What is it to any of us who someone else marries?  What is it to any of us if they choose not to marry at all?  It is nothing to us for it is not our choice to make ... and it is nothing to the "stone throwers" either.  No one can speak for G-d for the finite mind of man [generic] can never grasp the infinite-ness of Spirit:  Ecclesiastes 11:5 "As thou knowest not what is the way of the wind, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child; even so thou knowest not the work of God who doeth all."

     The Master Mind Jesus instructed us to "be in the world, but not of the world" and to judge someone as inferior or superior based on the color of their skin or their sexual orientation is so "of the world" that it defies intelligence.  No one chooses the color of their skin, the color of their eyes, the color of their hair, the sound of their voice and to think that someone chooses their sexual orientation is just denying the facts of nature.  No one chooses to be heterosexual or homosexual ... our sexual orientation just is what it is.  Our inferior or superior thoughts about either are just that "ours" ... and not the truth.  Our burdens will be lighter and our minds more free as we eliminate any thoughts that seemingly diminish someone else.  Intelligence tells us that this is the way to a wonderful life.

     "By November 2000, interracial marriage had been legal in every state in America for more than three decades thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Loving v. Virginia (1967) - but the Alabama State Constitution still contained an unenforceable ban in Section 102:  "The legislature shall never pass any law to authorise or legalise any marriage between any white person and a Negro or descendant of a Negro." ... The Alabama State Legislature stubbornly clung to the old language as a symbolic statement of the state's views on interracial marriage; as recently as 1998, House leaders successfully killed attempts to remove Section 102. ... When voters finally had the opportunity to remove the language, the outcome was surprisingly close: although 59% of voters supported removing the language, 41% favored keeping it. Interracial marriage remains controversial in the Deep South, where a 2011 poll found that a plurality of Mississippi Republicans still support anti-miscegenation laws." - from About.com, Civil Liberties

     The key words in the article from About.com are "stubbornly clung to the old language" ... and this is what perpetuates both racism and homophobia, the clinging to the old ideas even when they defy Intelligence.  The Master Mind Jesus believed that Intelligence would convince us that we are all One in G-d, that we are all a part of G-d, and that we are all intertwined in this universe ruled by the Law of Sowing and Reaping [Cause and Effect].  But, here we are in 2013, and those who "stubbornly cling to the old" still influence our politicians and in most part our religious leaders.  Enlightenment evolves slowly when stubbornness and self-righteousness are pandered to.  And in the United States this is far too often the way it is.  President Obama, seeking re-election in 2012, declared his support for same-sex marriage.  Even ten years ago this would have insured his defeat.  Yet, he was re-elected.  Even those who oppose him have to admit that he is a man of courage and conviction ... a man who says he cares for "all" the American people and means it.  President Obama framed his opinion based on the Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" ... being the product of an interracial marriage himself, I would imagine, President Obama had himself felt the reflection of this prejudice in his own life experiences.

      From the Right Reverend Bishop of Salisbury [Church of England], Nicholas Holtam:  "The desire for the public acknowledgement and support of stable, faithful, adult, loving same sex sexual relationships is not addressed by the six Biblical passages about homosexuality which are concerned with sexual immorality, promiscuity, idolatry, exploitation and abuse. The theological debate is properly located in the Biblical accounts of marriage, which is why so many Christians see marriage as essentially heterosexual. However, Christian morality comes from the mix of Bible, Christian tradition and our reasoned experience. Sometimes Christians have had to rethink the priorities of the Gospel in the light of experience. For example, before Wilberforce, Christians saw slavery as Biblical and part of the God-given ordering of creation. Similarly in South Africa the Dutch Reformed Church supported Apartheid because it was Biblical and part of the God-given order of creation. No one now supports either slavery or Apartheid. The Biblical texts have not changed; our interpretation has."

    This month, June 2013, the United States Supreme Court will make a decision that will be life-changing for many people.  Will they have the same courage and integrity to the U. S. Constitution as the Justices who ruled in the Loving v. Virginia case in 1967?  Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Samuel Alito are all Catholics.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Stephen Breyer are Jewish.  What role will their religious beliefs play in their decision regarding same-sex marriage?  Justice Clarence Thomas himself is in an interracial marriage.  Will this affect his decision?  We don't know the answers to these questions.  What we do know is that the Supreme Court is to protect the minority from the majority when the majority opinions square off against the Constitution.  In my imagination I enjoy seeing them ... all of them ... the Supremes: Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, Sotomayor,  Alito, Ginsberg, Kagan, Breyer and even Scalia ... dressed in their black robes, hands raised toward the sky, singing "everybody's got the right to love!"


Keep the faith!
. Henry Bates

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