On the eve of my last post, my heart is a bit heavy. I’m sad for all the arguments that are ensuing between friends, family, and fellow citizens because of the need to legislate bigotry in the state I’ve called home my entire life.
That’s right. I’ve never lived anywhere else but Indiana. Not because I didn’t want to or wasn’t willing, but mainly because I didn’t need to. Everything I needed…everything I wanted…I found right here. In a state that many have never visited. In a state folks refer to as “a fly over state”, meaning you don’t go there to visit…you fly over it on your way to someplace else. In a state with so many hidden gems we kinda liked keeping it all to ourselves.
While we don’t have mountains or the ocean, we do get to experience the four seasons in all their glory thanks to so many different variety of trees and flowers and vegetation. We love our sports…especially watching them. And welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors every year for some of the greatest spectacles in sports you’ll ever see.
We’re such gracious hosts there’s a name for it, “Hoosier Hospitality”. Yet, we’ve come to a point where we’ve lost sight of how to be hospitable to our neighbors. The very people that choose to live next to us. To raise their families here. To stimulate the economy on a daily basis. To give back to communities that give to them…until yesterday.
For some reason, our legislators felt the need to legislate the right for a business to refuse service to someone due to their religious beliefs. Who is “their” in that sentence…doesn’t matter. If the business claims one set of beliefs and the customer claims another, well, it’s anyone’s guess if you’ll be welcomed.
Here’s the thing that stuck me last night. Some have decided to take the Bible and throw it on the ground so they can use to stand on. To feel a little taller…a little more superior…than someone else. If it’s so clear that the Bible doesn’t support gay marriage, then why are there some religious people that accept it? Why are there religious people that are actually gay? Why isn’t this a black and white debate? And by black and white, I mean why doesn’t everyone that claims to read the same Bible feel that it says the same thing?
I’ll tell you why. Because the Bible is a collection of stories that use an old language we don’t use anymore filled with metaphors that we don’t necessarily understand or interpret the same way. Think about your every day dealings with the people around you. How many times have you walked away from a discussion with someone and each of you has a different interpretation of what happened? Ever hear the saying “There are three sides to every story. Your side, my side, and the truth.”?
That’s what we do when we start talking about beliefs and interpretations of the Scriptures. We believe that what and how we read something will be the same for everyone reading the Book. But that isn’t the case. Every person reads…hears…sees…from their perspective. That perspective is clouded with what they carry in their heart….fear…hate….love…compassion….indifference…
The fact that we’ve arrived at a place in time that as a state we feel we need to legislate based on religious bigotries breaks my heart. I’ve never called myself a religious person because there’s always seemed to be more fear and hate around the word than I was comfortable with.
I prefer to call myself spiritual. I prefer to believe in a loving God that wants the best for his flock…that loves and is compassionate. That challenges us to be better people…people that respect each and every human. People that believe we are all made in the image of God – regardless of our shortcomings or differences or mistakes. None of us are expected to be perfect or fit into a specific mold. We are simply expected to do our best and live a life of compassion for all things around us. I guess I’ve adopted a bit of a Buddhist philosophy to my spiritual beliefs.
I’ll never understand why a human would want to live their life denying another human of anything. We are all connected. We are all of one consciousness. When you deny another, you are really denying yourself.
I don’t understand why we can’t simply be kind to strangers…to loved ones…and most importantly, ourselves…