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Rumi (via thelittlephilosopher)
Something to think about for the next time you attack someone for not sharing all of your beliefs and ideas.
Just because you have the opinion that something is wrong does not necessarily mean that it is actually wrong. So you’re welcome to have your opinion and to share it, but it is most definitely not ok to attack other people for not sharing it.
I’ve seen so many things recently about the Zimmerman trial and race, and it’s just opened my eyes to how backwards this country has become. Human beings are human beings, and racial distinctions have no different meaning from distinctions such as hair color. The facts are that a young boy tragically lost his life and that the man who pulled the trigger is going to have to live with that guilt for the rest of his life, regardless of what the jury found. Could we all just take some time to grieve for that before attacking each other for perceived racial divides? I’m not saying there aren’t problems with race in this country, because there are, but to some extent these are problems that we create by looking for them. I firmly believe that when people like Dr. King went out and fought for the freedom that everyone absolutely deserves, they didn’t picture the issue of race becoming what it is today. These exceptional people asked for equality, a level playing field with the rest of society. I don’t think that the playing field has been leveled. I think it has become skewed in the wrong direction.
People are people, regardless of skin color. Why does it matter if you’re Black or Asian or Hispanic or White? None of these races are superior to the others and none should be treated as such (that cuts both ways). I happen to be White, with pretty generic European ancestry. If I were ever to attempt to celebrate my “white” history, I’d be villainized for it. Yet if someone else wanted to celebrate their “black” history, they’d be lauded and praised. I’m not saying I have any desire to celebrate my ancestry because I don’t actually know that much about it, but my point is that I don’t understand why I should be ashamed of my race and have people make assumptions about me any more than I don’t understand why people make assumptions about those of other races. Just because I’m White doesn’t mean I hate everyone else and that I think I’m superior. Just because you’re Black doesn’t mean you’re going to rob or shoot someone. Just because you’re Asian doesn’t mean you’re super smart and uptight. Why can’t we just accept people for who they are and completely disregard the color of their skin? It doesn’t matter. It’s not something that makes you any more special than anyone else. It’s not something that changes who you are. It’s not any more under your control than the color of your eyes or your hair. Race is simply something that doesn’t matter. And if we treat it like that, I think that’s the only way to achieve true equality. There have been awful atrocities in the past, and I’m not discounting them, but at some point for the healing process to continue, people must be willing to forgive. Not to forget, but to forgive and accept that what was in the past is in the past. I feel horrible for what so many slaves suffered in this country, but it’s not something I did. It’s not something I have control of. What I do have control of is recognizing and acknowledging that what happened was horrible, teach my children about it so that they know it was horrible and wrong and that no one should be treated that way, and live my life in such a way that honors people of all races, beliefs, etc. That’s all I can do. And attacking people like me who happen to be white for things that happened before I was alive is counterproductive at a certain point. I am incredibly ashamed of what happened, but I think I can honor the memories of those souls and contribute to the world in a positive way by treating everyone with respect and dignity. I also think that other people would honor their ancestors’ memories by showing the strength, resilience, and dignity that they had and by living the full lives that their ancestors’ sacrificed so much for. At some point the finger pointing and name calling needs to stop. If we ever want peace.
I also want to address the point that one of my African-American friends made about this trial. She said that just because you don’t believe there’s a problem or you don’t see the issue, doesn’t mean you can disregard the hurt that people are feeling. I think she spoke very eloquently and I don’t disagree. I can certainly see how a young man getting shot would affect anyone of any race, especially given the fact that our country has only experienced “equality” for the last 50 years or so. And I want to be clear that what I’m saying is not disregarding the fact that people are hurting. I know they are. And I feel for them. I may not be black, but I feel great pain that the world lost a young life and that someone else’s life has been irreparably broken because of either stupidity or incredibly unfortunate circumstances. What I’m saying is in no way meant to say that people should not be hurting. They should be hurting-we all should. I just think that it’s more important to focus on the fact that a human life was lost. When Trayvon died, we lost an entire person. A person with thoughts, feelings, ideas, plans, interests, and a future that was uniquely his own. Losing all of that is tragic enough. Losing a human being is traumatic enough. Why does it need the qualifier of his race? Why can’t we focus on the loss of a human being from this world? Why can’t we use this awful time of grief to support each other and grow stronger as a united country? That’s what I’m trying to say. We should use the pain and anger as a way to begin conversations, maybe go out of our ways to do things we wouldn’t normally do just because they’re the right things to do, or even just support someone who’s having a hard time. That’s what we should be doing rather than turning on each other and attacking each other.
So in conclusion, rather than dividing the country and turning everyone against each other because of genetic pigmentation that has absolutely no significance, why can’t we come together across races, cultures, creeds, and genders to mourn the events of that night? Why can’t we turn this horrible situation into something that could start important conversations and bridge divides rather than blaming everyone else and only perpetuating the problem? That’s just my two cents. Not that it will make a difference. If I ever have the joy of having children though, I plan on exposing them to these ideas. On teaching them that race simply doesn’t matter any more than gender or sexual orientation or any other difference that people like to get angry about. Maybe they’ll be able to effect some positive change in this world. I know I’ll never be able to make a difference like I want to, but maybe they will. Or maybe someone else in the future will. And I can’t wait to see it.
Ok over the past few days I’ve heard a lot about DOMA and I’ve seen lots of different opinions from lots of different people. I want to start off by saying that I understand that there are always multiple opinions and none are necessarily more “correct” than others. It’s how people act on these opinions that I have a problem with, specifically when people try to force their opinions on others. I count myself as a religious person. I embrace Jesus and God and a higher power that is responsible for some mysteries of life and humanity that we are incapable of understanding completely. I see religion as something beautiful and peaceful that unites people across cultures. No matter what you choose to call God or how you choose to worship Him, I believe we’re all reaching out to the same higher power. Since I consider myself a Christian, I refer to Jesus and God, but I want to be clear that I think all religions reach out to the same entity, simply by a different name.
I was raised to understand that religion unites people in a deep and meaningful way, not simply because of religious beliefs, but because of the basic love and respect that we should have for all members of humanity whether they look like us, act like us, sound like us, or anything else. After attending years of Sunday school and attending religious school, I feel that I’ve read enough of the Bible to be able to offer an educated opinion on it. I’m not a scholar or anything, but I do have some idea of what I’m talking about. The Jewish society that Jesus came into was hierarchical and strongly favored the wealthy, conventional citizens. Members of society who were deemed “unworthy” were pushed to the side of society and ignored so that top religious officials could continue their reigns of power and control the people. Jesus revolutionized this. His followers were people that the rest of society would ignore. Just look at Mary Magdalene. She was a woman of disrepute and yet she was the one who found Jesus after the resurrection, arguably becoming one of the pivotal figures in Christianity. Then look at the miracles that Jesus performed. He didn’t fix things for people who were already highly ranked in society. He made lunch for fisherboys, healed lepers, and even resurrected commoners from the dead. And that wedding in which he turned water into wine? That wasn’t for the elite of society. It was a small village gathering for common people. In the end, it was the elite religious officials set in their ways who crucified him because he threatened their way of life. He encouraged people to embrace everyone from all walks of life and treat them with love and respect.
I have to believe that if Jesus were here today, he’d absolutely embrace and respect all members of humanity, including the gay people who are fighting so hard for their basic rights. I realize that the Bible does not explicitly state that he would, but it must be taken in context, as is everything. It’s not right to simply pick and choose what parts of the Bible to accept and which parts to reject. Did you know there are two creation stories in the Bible? They actually have conflicting accounts of how creation happened. In my Catholic high school, we were taught that it’s ok that they conflict because one was simply an oral tradition that was passed down and the other was a similar story from a different time/area. The basic principles remain the same, even if the story changes a little. If we don’t take these stories literally (which in my opinion is impossible since they directly conflict), then how can we interpret other “select” parts as literal? I know a lot of people quote Leviticus and say that there are many other rules that we conveniently ignore. This is true, but I don’t think that’s the most important argument. The most important argument is that the Bible is not a direct account from God Himself. It’s a text that has been interpreted by many many people, including people who originally wrote down the stories, people who passed them on orally, people who translated them, and countless others. In all of that interpretation, I believe that the basic principles remained the same, but the trappings changed. This doesn’t compromise the message, but it does mean that you can’t take everything verbatim. Even the Catholic Church has decided that it misinterpreted some parts and changed the mass accordingly. If they could have misinterpreted those parts, then why couldn’t they have misinterpreted other parts? Why couldn’t they have been wrong to take them literally? If you’re going to quote the Bible and throw it at people then be sure you actually follow the entire thing first. As Jesus said, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” and “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”. Jesus taught that all hatred is wrong, and you can’t simply ignore that and embrace other parts of the Bible to justify your hatred. Jesus embraced love, and I think he would absolutely support how people choose to express that love. Love is an essential part of the human experience, and it shouldn’t be qualified, limited, or criticized.
Furthermore, on a cultural note, society is always changing. Change is new and frightening, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. So many things have changed about society that are for the better. There was a time that I couldn’t have been best friends with my friend Kiah in elementary school because she was black and I was white. I would have missed out on some incredible experiences. May I just remind you that at one point the Bible was used to justify this discrimination as well? If change is scary, learn about it. Educate yourself. Really think about the people that you’re affecting before you take action. If you truly call yourself a Christian, remember that the most important part of the religion is treating everyone with love and respect, embracing everyone as your brother or sister and treating them accordingly. Forgiveness and love is what Christianity is about, not bigotry and hatred. I think it’s awful and sad that we have lost sight of this, and it’s driving the religion to extinction. It’s almost the mark of a pariah to be a Christian because of the extremist views that have tainted what it is supposed to really be. People need to know that Christianity is an institution meant to spread love and peace and forgiveness rather than the ignorance and hatred it’s been spewing out lately.
I guess my main point is, what would Jesus really think of us if he came back today? What would he see? Would he really be proud of what his new movement has become? As a proud Christian, I fully support gay marriage and I will do everything I can to push social change that continues Jesus’ work and message.