Tuesday, June 14, 2016
The following piece is from Ivan Granger, who created the poetry chaikhana and maintains it presently. This site is one of the most valuable internet poetry sources available, with emphasis on the earlier spiritual writers such as Rumi and his like. Ivan's outpourings come straight from his heart in this beautifully written piece. It moved me deeply, for I am a long time member of this community and know well the challenges and extreme difficulties of this lifestyle in earlier times, when the only place gays could even find themselves mentioned was in such writers as Kraft-Ebbing in his famous work entitled "Psychopathology of Sexual Behavior." Kraft-Ebbing insisted that any sexual behavior that was not for the sake of procreation was perversion. Almost the only work of fiction available was Radclif Hall's "The Well of Loneliness," which dealt overall with lesbian love, but did not contain any explicit sexual material. Nonetheless, this book was taken to trial as pornography, apparently on the basis of the subject matter itself.
Yes, times have changed, but it is clear that we still have a long way to go to achieve universal acceptance and equal standing in terms of civil rights and equality in the eyes of our fellow citizens.
Guns may not kill, but people with assault rifles do. To allow such easy access to these weapons of wide scale destruction will produce such results as we have witnessed. Why would anyone need an assault rifle, other than to kill and maim others out of hate? Who benefits other than the gun manufacturers?
Here is Ivan's thoughtful response: (by the way, Ivan is straight and happily married)
How dare a man call himself a Muslim or a Christian or a person of any faith with such hatred in his heart?
One man turns to mass murder and we rightly condemn such hideous actions. Yet his unbalanced mind and heart drank in the hatred served up by people who call themselves religious. I am tired of people justifying their hatreds by citing scripture or ancient tradition.
I will say bluntly what religious leaders of all faiths should be saying loudly: God does not condemn gay and lesbian people. I don't care what you can quote from the Bible or the Quran or any scripture, the truth is the truth. Homosexuality is not a sin, it is not evil, it is not amoral, it is not against nature, it is not against God. Homosexuality is. Gay and lesbian people are. They are our brothers and our sisters, fellow children of God, made by God as they are. They have a place and a purpose in the world, bringing their unique balancing perspectives and energies and life into society.
All of my life I have had friends who are gay and lesbian. Some of the finest people I have been blessed to know are homosexual. I would go further still and say that some of the wisest and genuinely enlightened souls I have known are gay and lesbian.
The LGBT community, like any community, covers the whole range of human possibility and character. One can be gay and entirely in alignment with God. I say without any hesitation that one can be homosexual and holy -- and without denying one's homosexuality. I have been lucky enough to know a few such elevated souls. But we don't have to reach for such heights, either; one can be profoundly good and moral, though still flawed and human, and be gay or lesbian. Why aren't more religious voices speaking this obvious truth?
I will not sit by and listen to so-called religious people say with one breath that, of course the Orlando shooting are terrible, yet with the next breath say that the gay victims of those shootings were still sinners in the eyes of God. Unlike humans, the Eternal One sees clearly, completely unconstrained by history, prejudice, or religious dogma. The Eternal One sees the goodness of the heart wherever it exists, paying no attention to labels or the social categories of people.
Hatred, cold-heartedness, these are not the ways of God. Caring for the vulnerable and welcoming the stranger, keeping an open heart and a questioning mind, these are the ways of God. Enough religious justification for hatred of gay and lesbian people. Enough justification for cruelty and murder. Enough."
We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste this minute
of eternity. We are pain
and what cures pain, both. We are
the sweet, cold water and the jar that pours.