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

What is love?

I wrote this a few years back…

A friend and I had a discussion about love, and I was asked what it meant to me, I couldn’t quite sum it up at that point. I asked the people in my life, both close and acquaintances what it meant to them… apart from one person saying “@#*$ like a wild animal!!” (which was one of my favourite responses), their answers were short, but some really hit home, I took them into my heart, and below is what love, in some small measure, means to me… 

Love is kindness, gentility, thoughtfulness, an ear and a shoulder, it’s in a child’s smile, it’s a mother’s touch, it’s a friend’s hug, and a lover’s embrace. It is opening your heart to someone, allowing them in, no matter how many times you have been hurt, love is trust.

When I say I love you, I don’t say it lightly, it comes from the very depth of my core, it is who I am, it fills me with such passion and desire that it sometimes moves me to tears, and God willing, it is in every action I take…

Love is humour, laughter, faith, friendship, communication, honesty.

When I say I love a “thing” I really do… I love cheesecake, I love the ocean, I love a multicoloured sunrise…

Love is sitting in silence and still so much being said, love is looking across the room, seeing a smile and being filled with joy, it’s the purr and meow from the light of my life.

Love is in the simplest things, like smiling at someone on the street, or holding a door open, and not expecting a “thank you”.

The power of the word love is a wonderful thing, but the power of the action of love can change the world. Mother Teresa once said, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” The first time I read this quote it left a profound impact on me, and I feel it changed me… I read it and re-read it, and try to remember it, especially in the most stressful or anger-filled times of my life and somehow it reminds me the real reason for us to exist on this planet is to love, to love with everything we are, stand in the face of fear, anger, negativity and just love. To make the choice, in each and every moment, to love, to be kind, to do whatever it takes to take the right path.

What is love to me? Love is everything…

love 2

A Big Girl’s Fairytale…

Once upon a time there was a girl who, after the most difficult and tragic year of her life, gathered up as much courage as she could and went on vacation alone…

While sitting on the beach and speaking in Spanish to one of her dear friends who lived in the Dominican and worked on the beach, she overheard two girls sitting behind her, two absolutely beautiful, skinny, model-esque girls, talking about her… They were saying things like, “I wouldn’t even leave the house if I had a body like hers let alone go out in a bathing suit in public” and “how on earth someone could let themselves go like that is beyond me.” Some more comments, more harsh and thoughtless comments, followed…

The only thing this girl could hope for is that these two models thought the girl didn’t speak English and that’s why they were being so loud, and heartless with their words… This girls friend saw the change of expression on her face and he asked what was wrong, as strong as she tried to be, a tear rolled down her cheek and she looked at him and in Spanish, said “nothing my friend, I just missed you so much and am glad to see your sweet face” He then hugged her, told her to stop crying and enjoy her vacation…

As her friend walked away, she stared at the ocean, quietly sobbed for a few minutes, and begged God to release the anger and sadness in her heart… By some miracle, God did just that… right in front of her beach chair she saw a teeny tiny crab doing a little crab dance, side to side, as if he was performing just for her… She wiped her tears, and smiled, and the smile grew to a laugh and the laughter grew to release… She no longer felt sad and angry, AND she felt forgiveness, she forgave the models for their hateful words and she forgave herself, for allowing their words to hurt her so deeply…she felt connected to the universe and all of its wondrous, mystical and magical, beauty… When the crab finally disappeared under the sand she lay back on her beach chair and began to enjoy the feeling of the warmth from the sun on her BEAUTIFUL body, she put on her iPod and she found peace…

An hour later this girl was hungry so she got up to go to the beach front restaurant for her daily hotdog and as she passed by the two models, she looked at them right in the eyes and with a big genuine smile she said “I hope you beautiful girls enjoy your vacation!!” The shock on their faces proved her earlier suspicions that they didn’t think she spoke English… and then there was a look of fear… to which she replied “The Dominican is a magical place girls, I hope you discover it and appreciate it!”

The girl went to the restaurant and enjoyed her hotdog, and the rest of her vacation… And that night, at the buffet, they were serving crab legs; in honour of her earlier gift from God, she chose not to eat them! And she, so far, is living happily ever after…

Love is always the answer…

At times… life can be a bitch, a total, heartbreaking, slap in the face, unjust bitch… it can take everything in which you believe and shatter it into a million pieces within a fraction of a second… Life can take all you hold dear and precious, your faith and your humanity and it can obliterate it… Life can be the ultimate force of total, all encompassing douche-baggery…

But… that’s got to be a temporary situation, it must be… we can’t allow it to take over our lives, take over our hearts and change us for the worse… we can’t allow it to extinguish the light from our hearts… we can’t allow it to eliminate our faith…

We must be stronger, more powerful and better than what life sometimes offers us. We must stand up to life and not let our SELF be changed…

We must remember the real life, the one that offers us miracles, hope and bliss… We must remember to focus on Kindness, Compassion and Love, and release the hate and the anger… I know that is asking for a lot when we are faced with such atrocities such as Sandy Hook, Danzig, and most recently, the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman in the case of the death of young Trayvon Martin… How can we let this go… ? We need to take this anger, this resentment, this hatred and transform it into something positive… We must pray for all the Trayvon’s of this world, and do whatever we can to change the system, the laws, the thinking, the privilege that is so segregated…  We must spread love in this world with such a force that the hate will just die out… Love… Love is the answer, love is ALWAYS the answer… for each of us  the path is different, but the destination is the same… we all must arrive in love…

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.

Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.

Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I AM RISING…

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On Thursday February 14th, 2013 I AM RISING… Even if I am Rising alone in my living room dancing my heart out, I am Rising…

 

I am Rising for the 3 year old me who was sexually abused by a “close friend of the family” for 6 years…

 

I am Rising for the 12 year old me who was repeatedly raped by a stranger for hours and hours…

 

I am Rising for the 22 year old me who was in an abusive relationship for one and half years…

 

I am Rising for EVERY woman and child who are victims of domestic violence…

 

I am Rising for EVERY woman and child who are victims of sexual abuse…

 

I am Rising for EVERY woman and child who are victims rape…

 

I am Rising for EVERY woman and child who are victims of oppression…

 

I am Rising in honour of the good, decent men in the world who demand an end to violence against women…

 

I am Rising in hope of a better future for my sisters…

I am Rising in fury over what happens to women and children every second of every day…

I am Rising in the hopes that I can get through one night without checking 10 times if my door is locked…

I am Rising so that women will feel safe walking down the street at night…

 

I am Rising for Freedom…

 

I am Rising for Justice…

 

I am Rising for Peace…

 

I am Rising for you…

 

I am Rising for me…

 

I am Rising…

 

I am Rising in love…

♥ ॐ ♥

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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

Hatred… when will it end?

Yesterday I posted the following status “I am so tired and quite sick literally and figuratively, of close minded, hate filled, racist, homophobes, who claim to be good Canadians… When will love prevail?

It was based on a conversation I had with someone on Facebook, not one of my friends, but a Facebook friend on someone elses page, I do not know if they are close or not.

After some serious consideration I decided I needed to post this for all to see, in the hope that people will fight for what’s right, will stand up to hatred, and seek out peace and love. My honest feeling is I do regret, in my last statement, point b), my anger got the best of me and I sunk to his level, but I am posting it anyway as I have nothing to hide.

I have removed his name and replaced it with DUDE, the best replacement I could think of while still being respectful.

DUDE:  (FYI this is the comment that started it all)

Its the Canadian human right bs.. They have a muslim lady with that shit on her head as a cop.. Now thats taking human rights a little too far..

Lalita O’Patel

Wow, normally I wouldn’t respond to someone I do not know, but DUDE that was VERY offensive.

We do not live in a country of all white Christians, the BEAUTY of Canada is our multicultural blending of all races, religions, creeds, sexual orientations etc.

We accept and don’t judge… We open our arms to anyone who wants to live in a country of acceptance.

These are the reasons I am PROUD to be a Canadian! I love all my brothers and sisters for who they are, and relish in their innate FREEDOM to express their individual choices without being condemned or have fear of living a FREE life. Live and let live… Lest ye judge, I believe that is in the Bible…

DUDE

I do agree with u Lalita.. Im a Christian Lebanese and i do believe in the bible.. Im proud to be a Canadian also.. I do respect evrything Canada has.. I dont agree with defferent religions coming here and try to change to abuse the Canadian rights.. In France last year 2 muslim women where not alowed to wear that shit on there head cause of the school rules and they could not do anything about.. In Canada it would be defferent.. I dont care what religon u are u should not break rules.. Thats my point.. They r changing xmas cause of other religons.. I dont agree with that..

Lalita O’Patel

Sorry but I disagree with you… The ‘shit’ to which you refer is called a burka, and whether you agree with it or not, it is Muslim law… Orthodox Jewish women have to always wear a scarf or wig so that no one but their husband can see their hair, is that ‘shit’ too? Catholics denounce homosexuality and birth control, ‘shit’? And true Canadian laws should be Native/aboriginal laws, as the Europeans came and stole their land and claimed is as theirs. How does wearing a Burka, or ‘shit’ to you, abuse Canadian laws?

DUDE

U can wear ur hijab anywhere u want but when evry cop in canada has to wear there cop uniform u have to do the same.. thats my point.. The Canadian rights doesnt see it that way.. They let her where that shit on her head and be cop at the same time.. She does not respect the Canadian laws to wear the uniform.. Now how unfair is that for every Canadian?

Lalita O’Patel

Still calling it ‘shit’ eh? 😦

Its very VERY fair for EVERY Canadian, it means we EMBRACE our people, our differences, we adapt, we accommodate, we CARE!

If we push everyone to be the same, to assimilate, then we may as well be the Borg from Star Trek, ‘you will comply, resistance is futile’. Robots wandering around, all looking the same, acting the same, losing what makes Canada so special, our ABSOLUTE RIGHT to individuality, religious freedom. How on earth does wearing a burka, yes it is called a burka, affect their ability to perform as well as any other officer on the force, positivley or negatively?

My humble interpretation of your comments is everyone MUST do it your way (or your version of Canada’s way) or get the hell outta Dodge, or in this case, Canada…

Do you also agree with the US’s ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy for the military? It would stand to reason, based on all your comments, that you do…

DUDE

Ron i agree with u :)) Lalita, i realy dont care about the states.. they wanna be gay thats there problems not mine.. i have problems with muslims coming to this country and trying to change it.. Its realy getting too much.. They wanna practice there stupid religan they can.. dont tell me how to practice mine.. do u know my brother works in the arab countries and he has to hide to eat his lunch cause of stupid ramadan.. do u know that when u go there u have to wear that SHIT before u enter there country.. but when they come here they wanna change everything to suit them.. just because canada is great and gives them some rights. they abuse it.. i came from there and i know those people more then u will ever know.. u think u know then but u know shit about them.. Get ur facts in order before u open ur month and make an ass of urself.. im done with u cause u know nothing.. Tracey, sorry about all this.. im done and i didnt start it..

Lalita O’Patel

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Again a quote from the Bible…

a) I AM IRANIAN, so don’t go saying I don’t know what I am talking about! Born and raised in Canada, but of Iranian descent…

b) I am so over this conversation with you, insane, rude, arrogant, closed minded racist, homophobe… I fear for those around you, with that much anger and ignorance…

Tracey you know me, I am not sorry at all for standing up against hatred…. I won’t ever apologize when I am trying to protect others against evil hate filled people…

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