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Proposition 8

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By Karen Fry, RScP
Published with Permission

Proposition 8

Since at least 1977, Californians have been discussing, protesting, voting on, and grappling with the many emotions and opinions, primarily stemming from religious and (sometimes) political beliefs associated with same-sex marriage. Recently, there has been more attention and judicial movement in Proposition 8 by a ruling of Judge Walker in which he clearly states that marriage has always been a civil matter.

And yet, are we being civil about the topic? Same-sex marriage is certainly not only an issue in California. As you know, it has become a flashpoint across the entire United States with fierce protests and public demonstrations. When it comes to gays and lesbians, many people feel
perfectly at ease making self-confident public declarations about what they think the Bible says about homosexuality. It brings forth memories of the now unimaginable declarations in the same vein about people of color and women. 

Not so long ago, really only a few decades, people rested on the authority of the Bible to defend positions of separation and quite frankly, prejudice.  The Bible was used to defend the position that God made the black race to serve whites, that females were subordinate to males, that women doing “men’s work” or voting went against “God’s plan.”  If it was, in fact, God’s plan, why would Caucasians’ conscience demand that they follow these kinds of declarations with statements like, “I love my black brothers and sisters and mean them no harm?”

Have things changed in the new century? I wonder.  While there are undoubtedly still segments of America that persist in these understandings of God and the Bible when it comes to matters of race and gender, it is less common to hear such blatant and overt declarations defending these positions.  Perhaps in this way, we have evolved.

And so once again, we perhaps come to a tipping point in history and the larger question is how long are we going to hold a limited view - that of seeing each other as being separate from one another? It is a view looking trough the lens of duality.

I take a stand for creating a world that works for everyone. Our organization teaches we are all One, all connected and that we believe God is in and through everything and we use the word God as a synonym for love. There is only inclusion in this. In this inclusive concept for God, nothing and no one is excluded. God is all-embracing (excluding nothing) and everything is God.

In teaching God is love and love is God, love can lead the way in all circumstances including same-sex marriage. Love is the greatest power in the Universe. Our founder Ernest Holmes wrote:
Love overlooks the little differences that we have and finds a point of reconciliation with others.  Love creates tolerance and human understanding, without which we become really divided against ourselves and without which we almost unconsciously become filled with criticism, condemnation, and false judgment.  No one can be happy or enjoy the greatest fulfillment in life until he has come to see that most people try to do about the best they can.  And when we are able to reach out beyond the indifference and the coldness of life, reach through all intolerance and unkindness, only then do we meet that Divine center which is forever established within every person.

When we dislike people and groups, we are bearing witness to our own limited viewpoints. The watchword is not exclusion; it is inclusion. The more we include and come to love about people outside of ourselves, the more we include and come to love within ourselves.

It makes one wonder just how much energy we are willing to use to perpetuate this illusion of separateness.  Isn’t our valuable energy and our precious resources better used to build a better world for everyone, gay and straight? 

The campaigns for and against Proposition 8 raised $39.9 million and $43.3 million, respectively, becoming the highest-funded campaign on any state ballot and surpassing every campaign in the country in spending except the presidential contest (Source: Wikipedia). During this same year, 20,000 teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses and other educational support staff were receiving pink slips in California and billions of dollars were being cut from the education budget. So where do our rifts really get us?

If we allowed ourselves to look through different eyes/lens, taking on a new perspective of love, unity, and harmony, if we looked past the differences and focused on our similarities, we could come to understand that that which is at the center of each one of us is the same. As Ernest Holmes so often stated, the Universe is never in conflict with Itself, never in a state of disharmony, and never in a state of dis-ease.  We are each an individual expression of the Divine and it is a magnificent realization that God is incarnated in each one of us in a unique way…a way that gives texture, color, and variation to that which otherwise would be infinitely boring.

We have an opportunity to stand in a place of love instead of fear, a place of inclusion instead of exclusion, and a place of equality instead of inequality. We are an organization that sees a world that works for everyone.  Can you see that, too?

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