A few things have happened recently that inspired me to write something about this topic. One was the landmark decision from the Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCOTUS) which ruled that both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 were unconstitutional. This has opened the door for people in this country to have equal rights in marriage.
The same week I attended a speaking appearance and book signing of a woman named Glennon Melton. She is the author of Carry On, Warrior and the founder of the Momastery blog. One of her strongest messages is of acceptance. We are who we are and we should celebrate our differences and help each other get through life. Glennon embraces flaws in herself and others and encourages honesty. She says life is “brutiful” (a combination of brutal and beautiful), and I have to agree. I watched as hundreds of women shared experiences openly among the crowd and found her messages bringing a sense of hope and belonging for more of the beautiful days ahead.
Unfortunately the biggest opponents of equal rights are often religious-based institutions or ideology. Religion should be a tool for people to learn and grow spiritually and to be able to have more tolerance for others, not less. Religous texts do have many wonderful and insightful concepts that inspire and help billions of people, but they also often have out-dated doctrines that require people to be judgmental and even hurtful toward others.
What happened to the universally-accepted rule of treating others as you would like to be treated yourself?
As populations, governments and learning institutions continue to change and evolve, so too hopefully can religions. It is perfectly acceptable to have different beliefs and customs from other people, but when those are then projected onto others forcefully and without compassion for humanity, then they become oppressive. When those actions begin to harm others or deny their basic rights then they aren’t beneficial to anyone and just breed fear, hate and segregation.
This is not meant to sound preachy, but mainly an appeal for people to focus more on love than on hate. Love for other people, including complete strangers, is what makes this world a better place for all to live in. Of course we will always have our differences and opinions, but that is what makes it so interesting and wonderful. If everyone was the same it would be an awfully boring place. As long as we aren’t harming others, we should all have the same freedoms.
Next time you’re faced with a judgmental thought or opinion of someone, consider taking the time to see where it is stemming from and whether or not you would want to be judged or discriminated against if the tables were turned.