June is Pride month in the good old USA. And I am not here to convince anyone that it is a good thing or bad. I will say that I am proud of who I am. I am proud of the life that I have built with my husband. I've been to but never marched in a parade or even danced on a table at an after-party. But in 2005, after 6 years of a committed relationship, when Ontario legalized marriage equality, we proudly declared our love in front of a magistrate at Toronto city hall, during Toronto Pride weekend. And I like to think that we sent a message to the government back at home, that we were willing to travel to make it official.
I like to think that I don't know many people that would argue against my right to live as I see fit. And I never try to tell anyone else how to live their lives. I do however get tired of being called a "non-believer" or "sinner".
Firstly, I don't believe that either of those is real. The term non-believer could be used for anyone who does not believe the way another does (about anything). Just because a person believes a certain religion, does not make them any better than someone who believes another religion or someone who believes in science or inner spirituality. I know what I believe and if you believe some old book written by men that did not know that the earth is round and floating in space, I could call you a non-believer.
Second, I don't believe there is such a thing as sin. I believe that all people should respect other people regardless of how stupid you might think they are. Respect them for where they are in their own journey. And if I choose to overeat or lust after someone, that is my issue. As long as I respect the people around me, then who's business is it but mine? And I really don't care if you like who I choose to sleep with because odds are, I wouldn't choose whom you've chosen either.
There has been a lot of religious nuts out there recently pushing back against the momentum of equal rights for all. I will remind them that our country was founded by people looking to escape persecution. And that the 1st amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an established religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.
Recently, I bit my tongue when I was helping my sister move to a new apartment and two of her friends from church rode with me in the moving van. They were blindly debating that gays should not be allowed to marry. One even suggested that he knew someone that had been healed of his sin of being gay simply by repenting and accepting Jesus into his life. The other asked if the man now had a girl friend and the reply was "No, but he would like one." It was all I could do to keep from laughing and driving the truck off the road. They then went on debating the "rules of being saved". I was so proud of myself as I drove silently listening and absorbing how stupid they sounded, talking about Paul as if he were their neighbor.
I grew up in the Penticostal church. I listened and learned what I was taught. I lived that life for far too long, blindly going along with what I was told. I had no life of my own. I was not gay. I was not straight. I was Christian. I believed what I was told through and through to the point of giving up my life for Christ. There were many events in my life that brought me to where I am today. In my daily work, I respect each church and all that attend. But in my private life, I will not pretend to be something that I am not any longer. I will not be ashamed of who I am either. I will be proud.
So, even though it is now July, Happy Pride!