Pride 2014 – Why We March


Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. She has said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstances. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura written by someone (Dr. James Kauffman) who’s looking for some more guidance….

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,

Jim

**

Why do we march?

In part because of the ignorance of people like Dr. Laura, who dispense God’s Law in a way that takes LGBTQ folks straight to shame. Shame that is the feeling you are an ugly duckling at the core; that whatever it was your duck parents had hoped for, it wasn’t you; that love and life are happening somewhere else but all that’s happening for you is loneliness and tears.

The great writer and humanist Isaac Asimov once said about the Dr. Lauras among us: “it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes.” Then Isaac Asimov says: “I personally resent it bitterly.”

The only problem is, when you are in your shame, it’s hard to access your resentment which is all about self-defense. You just feel your soul being eaten alive. You just feel worthless. You just feel silenced. “Shame,” says writer Kirsty Eager, “isn’t a quiet grey cloud, shame is a drowning man who claws his way on top of you, scratching and tearing your skin, pushing you under the surface.”

That’s what you feel in your shame: the drowning man about to take you under….

**

Why do we march?

Because of the facts about shame. How to heal it.

One of the very best Ted talks I ever heard came from scholar and emotional intelligence researcher Brene Brown. “Here’s the bottom line with shame,” she says. “The less you talk about it, the more you got it. Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgment.” By keeping quiet, Brown says your shame will grow exponentially. “It will creep into every corner and crevice of your life,” she says. “Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”

So now I want you to do something for me. I want you to summon up the ugly duckling feeling inside you. This is scary to do if you are doing it truly, because it takes you to the brink of feeling destroyed, feeling like a nothing, like you are suffocating, like you are being burned alive. It’s horrible…

But I want you to go there anyhow. Summon up the ugly duckling in you—and give it voice. Like this: <horrible quacking sounds from Rev. Makar>

Now: all together! <QUACK>

**

Why do we march?

We march because “Shame depends on me buying into the belief that I’m alone,” but marching proves that belief false (Brene Brown).

We march because “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive” (Brene Brown).

One more step
One more word
One more prayer
One more song, we march because “Each time a person stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope” (Robert Kennedy).

We ugly ducklings, we’re gonna go out there and find us thousands of other ugly ducklings, and we’re going to make horrible quacking sounds and it’s going to be great–

(Don’t let a little rain make you stay away—last I heard ducks float)–

It’s going to be ripples of hope all over the place, spreading outwards, making a difference….

Difference that is happening right now … difference that we’ve been seeing most notably in the courts of this land. Back in June of 2013, the Supreme Court in its United States vs. Windsor ruling struck down the heart of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Since that ruling: more than 40 federal and state courts around the country have struck down state bans on same-sex marriage. Now, just this past week, the Supreme Court declined to hear any petitions for reviewing the marriage equality cases from Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Virginia

and so marriage equality is the law of the land in those five states
and can you feel the energy building? Can you feel it?
North Carolina makes it 29 states where marriage equality is a reality, and even more are on the way!

Let me hear you ugly ducklings quack!

<QUACK>

Quack even louder to let Georgia know what’s coming for it…

<QUACK>

We march because we are making history
We march because we stand on the side of love
We march because I don’t care what the Dr. Laura’s of the world say, wherever there is justice and the struggle for justice, that is where we find God.

We march because we need to know the truth, we need to feel it in our bodies, we need to see it and hear it and it’s not something we can do for ourselves in isolation all alone, we can’t think our way there, we can’t cogitate our way there, we have to get out of our heads and get out there, be among other people, see their faces of empathy and understanding, hear the cheers, it’s got to be

One more step
One more word
One more prayer
One more song

That’s what it’s got to be

and then something will happen
it’s amazing
the truth will come upon us
the truth which heals us
the truth which gives us courage to keep on keeping on

Do you want to know what that truth is?
Want to know?

This: we aren’t ugly ducklings after all
never have been
there’s more to the story
doesn’t matter how deep in your shame you might be feeling
there’s more to the story
it’s just the truth

the beautiful, blessed, GRACIOUS truth

We are swans
That’s who we are

THAT’S why we march!