Hate is hate, and the Salvation Army is full of it…

After posting the article a few weeks back, about the Salvation Army’s long running history of their anti-LGBT, homophobic beliefs, I was presented with this question:

“How can you deny the great work that the Salvation Army does for the public at large? Why does their stance on LGBT issues have to come into play, that’s their right to believe how they believe? Why should I withhold my money from an organisation that provides such great charitable work to the needy?”

Needless to say, this person is no longer my friend on Facebook, or in the real world… My answer to this is… Hate is hate, no matter how you wrap it up to disguise it, hate is hate…. No matter how many Santa’s on street corners, no matter how many donation kettles in stores, no matter how many people are helped by the money collected, hate is hate…

If the work you do is segregated, if you are selective in who you help, then your work is not true charity… Webster’s top two definitions of the word ‘charity’ are:

  1. benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity
  2. generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering; also :  aid given to those in need

NOT:

  1. benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity; UNLESS YOU ARE OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY
  2. generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering; also :  aid given to those in need; UNLESS YOU ARE OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY

The Salvation Army has a long history of trying (and on occasion succeeding) in wielding their power to fight against the equal rights of our LGBT community… See the Huffington Post article here…  

I can’t, and won’t, ever support any group that actively promotes hate… There are so many wonderful charitable organisations out there that do as much ‘good’ for the world, and their mission is to help people, ALL people, regardless of their sexual orientation, their skin colour, their nationality, their religious choices, their genders, etc…

The Canadian Red Cross’ Mission Statement is: “The Canadian Red Cross mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.”

United Way Toronto’s Mission Statement is:  “To meet urgent human needs and improve social conditions by mobilizing the community’s volunteer and financial resources in a common cause of caring.”

With organisations like these, and countless others, all encompassing, inclusive, accepting, organisations, how on earth could I give my money to a group that promotes inequality, segregation, and hatred… Sorry Salvation Army…. but until you learn the true meaning of the word ‘charity’ you won’t ever have my support….

Peace

Some of my Best Friends are Gay!

Subtitled “I’m on the Pro-Gay Bandwagon… are you?”

I’m going to begin this with a bit of poignant humour, this is a clip of Nathan Lane on the Ellen show, it’s his response to a group of closed minded homophobes who tried to have Ellen DeGeneres removed as the spokesperson for JCPenny, and how JCPenny not only stood by their choice, and didn’t give in to petty threats, but Ellen’s response of humour, grace, class and confidence, as she says “My haters are my motivators”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YNXikPtknM

I work in an industry that has such a diverse group of people, all races, ages, religions, sexual orientations, etc. and we all just… get along! It’s like in the park, when you see someone feeding the birds, pigeons, chickadees, crows… they all hang out together and eat in peace… sure every once in awhile a big bully of a seagull swoops down trying with all his might to take all the food, but the tightly knit group bands together, defends themselves, and actually invites the seagull to join them, sharing their feast… sometimes the seagull does in fact settle down and joins in, and sometimes he flies off to find another weaker group to take over… In one shift, during the course of an 8 hour event, I have witnessed this… the group, defending their territory, with love, compassion, humour and kindness, have won over the bully, and by the end of those 8 hours, we were all nibbling on stale rolls together… It warmed my heart to be a part of that progress, I felt proud to be in the company of such fine birds!

So, like the title says, “Some of my best friends are Gay”, and they are! And so what? Why does it matter? How does the fact my saying they are gay change the fact that they are some of my closet friends. Being gay doesn’t take away from the person they are, it doesn’t make them less of a person, it doesn’t make them non-human… Every time I sign a petition, read an article, or hear a story about a gay couple not being allowed to marry, or offered basic human rights such as being allowed to roam the streets freely are stripped from the gay community, or people being imprisoned or beaten and even put to death for being gay, a little piece of me dies inside.

“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

If I were, at random, to choose 5 straight friends and 5 gay friends and simply wrote one page each about them, about their life, about their choices, about their dreams, about their values and handed you those 10 sheets of paper you wouldn’t be able to tell me that these 5 are the gay 5 and these 5 are the straight 5. They are just 10 stellar human beings, doing good things in this world, seeking the same things we all seek, love, friendship, acceptance, joy, beauty, etc.

How can a nation, as ‘forward thinking’ as the United States of America think their government has the right to deny their own citizens the right to marry one another? Their own Pledge of Allegiance states: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

How can we sit by while innocent people are being imprisoned for simply uttering the word “Gay”? While our brothers and sisters are being sent to re-education sessions to ‘fix’ them? While they are being put to death for the simple act of being true to who they are? Silence and inaction isn’t the answer…

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies,

but the silence of our friends.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I know this post is long, it’s all over the place, has no real form to it, and probably not my most eloquent piece and for this I sincerely apologise… However, I believe that is because I am at a loss for what is happening in this world. I’ve tried numerous times to write this, put my inner most feelings out there for the world to read… I’ve rewritten it dozens of times and finally decided to just vent, and pray my message is heard.

I tried to write this post from a place of compassion, a desire for change, and I pray my rage doesn’t come through. To, one last time, quote the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (snippets from his brilliant and beautiful speech ‘I have a dream’ while based on the equality of the race all mankind, I truly believe his intention was for worldwide equality of all mankind in its entirety, race, religion, sexual orientation, body type, etc) :

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Peace & Love