Not long after the above incident, I had gone into a Christian bookstore. I was the only customer so the clerk and I struck up a conversation in which he began to tell me about his current situation. He proceeded to tell me that he had been a man, became a woman, and was in the process of becoming a man again. Just then two others came into the store. We began talking and the man began to tell me about the woman he was with. She had been a man, went through the process of becoming a woman, and was going to become a man again. Because of a change in religious beliefs, these two people were told they were no longer acceptable as they were, so they had to change back to the way they were before.
Before I could leave, someone suggested that we hold hands in a circle and pray. Next thing I knew I was standing there and on each side of me I was holding hands with one of these “freaks.” Then something happened. While someone was praying, I heard the words in my mind very clearly, just as if someone was standing there speaking them aloud, “Karen, these are my children, and I love them just as much as any of my children.” Did I really just hear those words? No one in the circle spoke them. Therefore I knew that Spirit was gently giving me a wonderful message. I may not have had an instant turnaround in my thinking or beliefs, but a seed was planted that would continue to grow and manifest until they took hold years later. I learned that we are all children of God and that we are all loved equally.
Since then, I’ve met and gotten to know so many wonderful people who happen to be gay and I love them dearly. They are some of the nicest, kindest, most accepting people I know. It pains me to see the discrimination, even hate, which they have to deal with in our society, much of it being propagated by some religions and politicians. Jesus made it very clear that we are to love one another regardless of color, race, religion, politics, sexual preference, gender, and so on.
Being straight, I don’t understand what makes someone gay. But I also don’t understand what makes people fall in love, the miracle of childbirth, or any other wonderful mysteries life bestows upon us. I am not going to get into any Biblical or political arguments over people’s beliefs about this. The point I’m trying to make is that these are human beings. They laugh, cry, hurt, and feel joy. They're kind, compassionate, and they love deeply. They care about others and will help them when and where they can. They're humanitarians, philanthropists, and they care about what happens to our world. They live in all corners of the earth, from all professions, races, cultures, and religions. They love their family, friends, and pets, and they grieve when they lose them. You don’t have to agree with the lifestyle. That’s your choice. But they don’t deserve to be hated and treated horribly just because of perceived differences.
History has shown us that since the beginning of humankind, discrimination, hatred, bigotry, and ignorance have been perpetuated against various cultures and groups of people. But history has also taught us that the human spirit is strong and we will prevail until all are loved and accepted equally. American Indians, Jews, Japanese, gays, Muslims, Hispanics, woman, and so on have been discriminated against and/or oppressed at one time or another, or continue to be to this day. What history is also teaching us, though, is that oppressing any person or any group of people is not our natural state of being. People are starting to ‘get it.’ We really are one and it really is all about unconditional love for all beings.
It’s time to stop the hating towards anyone. Nelson Mandela said it best when he stated, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper July 25, 2014.