Are we seeing a religious evolution ... or just a religious power play?
Mormons are suddenly backing LGBT equality, and I'm sorry, but that begs the question—"What's in it for them?"
Religion had a huge impact on my life coming out of the closet and played a pivotal role in why I stayed closeted about my homosexuality for so many years.
Religion is perhaps the most critical detractor that terrorize those of us of the LGBT persuasion as to why we cannot be LGBT openly and freely. Practically every formalized religion—Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, and so on—has some perspective on the right and wrong of being LGBT.
My religious background is Seventh-Day Adventist. Suffice it to say, they're not big fans of homosexuality. This isn't surprising given the fact that the foundations of the religion are very much based on the Bible.
Yet, even within the realm of truth or false truth, I hate to pick and choose parts of the Bible to follow, because I've been know to cast the hypocrisy stone at others who choose to do that same pick-and-choosing at the spiritual buffet table.
So, being transparent, here's what I've taken forward with me into my adult life from my religious upbringing, which I now like to call my spirituality:
- Be good to others and you will find personal fulfillment.
- Know that there's something greater than all of us.
- Each day you are above ground is a blessing.
- Be careful what you say because that vibration will come right back to bite you on the ass if you're not careful.
- Let love rule, even when it doesn't make sense.
Now, don't ask me to quote you scripture-by-scripture where those nuggets of wisdom are; I've basically written my own manifesto for living and being out of what the good book says.
However, what I begin to question is the masked endorsements that are suddenly appearing on our landscape from the likes of the Mormon Church. Late in January, the Mormon Church extended an olive branch towards equality for LGBT individuals. All the pundits and analysts in the world have made way more of this gesture than the way I just described it, but it was simply an olive branch. Of course, it was an olive branch laced with tit for tat, in my opinion.
Basically, the Mormons came clean and suggested that LGBT individuals should have some form of equality, like the rest of normal society, because Mormonism is the norm of society.
Yes, I did just go there with my tongue-in-cheek finger pointing out that to some people, Mormons are off their logical rockers. Notice I said, "To some people."
In the same manner of speaking, LGBT people are off their logical rockers to some people, too. In fact, let's all get in this three-ring circus and admit, "We're all off our rockers in some fashion, to some people."
This is the point I've argued numerous times with those who've vowed to convert me back to heterosexuality based purely on their religious beliefs. And, on the premise that if they could re-engineer me, that's a few more chits in their rewards belt for a one-way ticket to heaven.
That's fine by me if that's what you believe, just don't force me into buying into your beliefs and I'll honor you by not forcing you to do the same with my beliefs. Deal?
I applaud how the Mormons played an Ace card with their latest move, similar to moves Pope Francis is starting to play, and suggest that others in the religious realm follow suit. Basically, even if there are underlying agendas, it's all about getting back to one simple principle—love! Love for one another regardless of race, gender, age, social standing, and sexual orientation; love and inalienable rights rule the roost.
One of my co-presenters on PFLAG Speakers Bureau, here in Southern California, always manages to bring the aforementioned points home when he speaks on our panels. What's interesting about Don is that he's straight, as white as they come, Republican, and he doesn't have a dog in this fight for equality.
Those are his words and not my judgments of him. In fact, he grew up in the Bible Belt in a time when fires of racism raged, and he couldn't stand the inequality he witnessed then, any more than the inequality he witnesses now on LGBT issues.
In his own words—powerful words he uses to draw the line in the sand—he says, "The one thing I know is, each person on this planet has the right to freedom, liberty, equality, and justice. But more importantly, each of us has the right to pursue happiness." Amen and God love him. Oh, and thanks for being in this dog fight.
You see, regardless of whether it's the Mormon Church masking some ulterior motive of support, Pope Francis smoothing things over so that the flock doesn't bail, or a wiry old guy taking a stand because it's the right thing to do, the reality is that human rights are human rights.
This doesn't mean you have to bend your rules, your views, or your truths to open your arms and embrace that I'm a man who crawls into bed with the man I'm married to and love each and every night. I wouldn't ask you to wrap your head around that if it's totally against your values and beliefs; I only ask that you respect that this is who I am.
What I will challenge you to do is to look at your values, your beliefs, what you stand for, and ask yourself the question, "If you were standing on the firing lines, facing discrimination, inequality, verbal, mental, or physical abuse because of who you are at your core, and what you believe and know is your truth, would you fight for it?"
Just as I thought ... of course you would! The truth of who you are and what you believe in is far greater than the false truth of who you're not. It's really that simple; not complicated.
Your fellow human beings of the LGBT persuasion are simply standing in their truth, rather than standing in the false truth of what someone else wants them to be. They stand in freedom, liberty, equality, and justice for all. Can you do the same?
Ready to take a stand and be yourself? It all starts with a plan to Just Be You. Join the movement at www.justbeyourevolution.com. Want more? Hire Rick to speak at your next event where he brings to life the Just Be You Revolution catered to your group or organization.