"To say that something like sexual orientation, race, economic status, gender are not issues to us is to speak from a position of privilege. Those who are marginalized, oppressed or denied equality because of who they are do not have such a luxury."
Today, Those Crazy Liberals and Conservatives welcomes Malachi Kosanovich, author of the blog "Transitional Heresies." TCLC thanks Malachi for not only a contribution to the conversation, but leading the conversation.
Today it is raining and I am ironing my purple shirt and I am crying. Today we remember the victims of bullying, harassment, and hate crimes – particularly those victims for whom it got so bad that death was better than any form of life imaginable.
It is wrong. It is wrong that we have to have today. It is wrong that we need a day set aside to remember these poor children who have died because of the malice and cruelty of other people.
And I blame us all. Each and every single one of us.
We have failed to live up to our capabilities. We have failed to live up to what we are meant to be as divine creatures. Scriptures from every tradition teach us the same thing:
Those who act kindly in this world will have kindness. Islam. Qur'an 39.10
Those who do not abandon mercy will not be abandoned by me. Shinto. Oracle of the Kami of Itsukushima
Mencius said, "'Benevolence' means 'man.' When these two are conjoined, the result is 'the Way.'" Confucianism. Mencius VII.B.16
Have benevolence towards all living beings, joy at the sight of the virtuous, compassion and sympathy for the afflicted, and tolerance towards the indolent and ill-behaved. Jainism. Tattvarthasutra 7.11
The world stands upon three things: upon the Law, upon worship, and upon showing kindness. Judaism. Mishnah, Abot 1.2
Gentle character it is which enables the rope of life to stay unbroken in one's hand. African Traditional Religions. Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria)
He who can find no room for others lacks fellow feeling, and to him who lacks fellow feeling, all men are strangers. Taoism. Chuang Tzu 23
Treat people in such a way and live amongst them in such a manner that if you die they will weep over you; alive they crave for your company. Islam (Shiite). Nahjul Balagha, Saying 9
What sort of religion can it be without compassion?
You need to show compassion to all living beings.
Compassion is the root of all religious faiths. Hinduism. Basavanna, Vachana 247
The bhikkhu who abides in loving-kindness, who is pleased with the Buddha's teaching, attains to that state of peace and happiness, the stilling of conditioned things, Nibbana. Let him be cordial in all his ways and refined in conduct; filled thereby with joy, he will make an end of ill. Buddhism. Dhammapada 368, 376
"An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will". The Wiccan Rede
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Christianity, The Gospel of Mark, 12:30-31.
It’s not hard. Be kind. Be compassionate. This is what scriptures of all kinds tell us. And we are failing miserable.
Here’s the thing. I am gay. I am gender queer. I am green-eyed. I am short. I have freckles. I read science fiction. I play scrabble obsessively.
I don’t live or die by whether anyone likes any of these things. I will survive without acceptance. I will survive without tolerance. I have friends and family that will affirm me in who I am and in the choices I make.
In truth most of us in the LBGTQ community will find communities who affirm and support us. Most of us will survive without the “tolerance” or “affirmation” of a particular person or community. Some of us may want general tolerance and acceptance, but we can live happy and productive lives in our found communities without them.
But we cannot live without kindness. We cannot live without compassion.
It’s not hard. Kindness can take the form of non-action just as much as it takes the form of action. Just don’t tease or bully or harass us. Don’t stare at us when we go out to dinner with our partners. Don’t call us names as we walk past you on the streets. Stay silent when you disapprove of us. Leave us alone instead of mocking our gender expression.
Or be active – teach your children not to call us names. Take the hate-filled stickers off of your cars. Stop someone from making vulgar jokes at our expense. When you see children bullying others, stand up and say no.
These things aren’t hard. I promise they are not. And they don’t have to mean that you like or approve of anyone in the LGBTQ community. They are simple acts of kindness and compassion.
They are acts of kindness and compassion that can save lives, in very literal ways.
The world – not just LGBTQ communities – has lost Justin Aaberg, 15;
Raymond Chase, 19;
Zach Harrington, 19;
Billy Lucas, 15;
Seth Walsh, 13;
Tyler Clementi, 18;
Asher Brown, 13; and
Aiyisha Hassan, 19 among many others.
Could we have saved these children if we had been more kind? If we had had more compassion? Would these people still be walking and talking and living and breathing if any one or two or three of us had had enough compassion to care for them? What if each and every one of us had been that compassionate?
What if every one of us said ‘stop’ when someone made a joke at an LGBTQ person’s expense? What if every single one of us consoled someone with a broken heart, regardless of what gender broke it? What if we valued kindness and compassion more than power?
What if every single one of us stood up and said, ‘Hate. Is. Not. The. Way.’?
…We could save the world.