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PRIDE – Yours, Mine, and Ours

GREAT Morning Beloved!

PRIDE – Mine, Yours, Ours
DO you have PRIDE? Not the kind of pride that is part of the 7 Deadly Sins….
Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, & Pride.
No, this PRIDE is the feeling we all have when we feel good, even GREAT about ourselves or something we are associated with.

Like I’m proud to be a Unitic and I’m proud of my Italian heritage.

Pride is defined as: a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.

Pride is consciousness of one’s own dignity.

We are talking about self-esteem, dignity, honor, self-respect, self-worth, self-image.
A consciousness of one’s own dignity

Do you have pride in yourself? How do you know? What have you done to establish your pride?

What are you proud of? One of the things I was always proud of is getting to and through college pretty much on my own. In a way it was a good thing that we were poor enough to qualify for some scholarships and grants! And I worked as I was able. I am grateful for the assistance I did receive. And so, I was the first in the family to receive a college degree.

What are you proud of?

June is the month that the LGBT Community celebrates the strides they have made for equality. Some may ask why a month is needed? Or even why any celebration is needed?

And that same question could be asked about Black History Month. Or Native American Month in November. Or Hispanic Heritage Month mid-September to mid-October. Or Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in May and Irish-American Heritage Month in March. We should probably have a WOMAN’S Rights Month!!!

Why do all these minorities want or need a time in the year to celebrate themselves?

If you consider the history of these United States, they have been, and unfortunately, still are in many ways, dominated by white males….government that dictates what we do and why we do it is and has been determined by a minority of our nation.

If you think about our history, each minority that came to America received some harsh words and actions as they settled in and tried to make a home for themselves. It didn’t matter what country they came from, they had to face discrimination in one way or another.

The Irish were called Micks, the Italians, wops, the Germans, krauts …you get the picture. And each minority served the same discrimination on each other! No kindness there.

So many of these ‘minorities’ have used these celebrations to say, Hey, we’re here and we are proud of who we are, where we came from and what we have become!

Unfortunately, some have had to fight their battle for equality longer than others. Women obtained the right to vote in 1920, but women were still fighting for equality in the 1960’s and 1970’s and still are today.

The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, yet we have seen multiple incidences of inequality for Black and Brown Americans.

Martin Luther King Jr told us, “Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.”

Knowing what we as a nation have done to the Native American people, to women, to Black and Brown Americans, …to anyone not white and male, and, in many cases, protestant! maybe we can understand why we need PRIDE, and all the different Heritage Months, and why we continue to this day to work for equality on ALL levels.

LGBT Pride goes back 50 years to June 28, 1969, as members of the Gay Community and their allies fought back against police brutality after raids at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York.

Gay pride is the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance.
Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBT rights movements throughout the world. The organizers took a page of the non-violent book to bring their cause forward.

Growing up gay back in the day…was difficult. There were always threats of harassment and beatings and jail. You had to be careful if you wanted to ‘be you.’

Imagine if you are able, of not be able to express who you were, really, because people told you, you were wrong, bad, dirty….an abomination. This was someone you trusted, who was supposed to love you, telling you that people like you do not belong.

How does that feel?

I could go further but let me just say that my own father considered my lifestyle ‘dirty’ and when I came out, I was kicked out of the home that I knew and loved. And denied access to my sister and youngest brother. You must understand, I considered the two of them ‘my kids,’ I practically raised them for the first 7 and 6 years of their lives before I went to college.
So, I was not happy….

But enough of me, maybe you can get some idea of why it was important to stand up for your life, your beliefs. And this standing proud is what we all must do, if we wish to be who we truly are.

We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, who walked the path to freedom, who stood up and spoke up about what was the right thing to do.

And in some ways, saying you are a Unitic is doing something of the same thing…. depending upon who you are saying it to.

Being gay is not a sin. The Bible never claims that it is. The word homosexuality does not appear in the Bible.

It’s not a choice. When you are born this way, it’s hard to ‘not be gay’. Try it sometime…try not being who you are….

Christians, anyone! should stop saying it’s a sin, because it’s killing people.

The suicide rate amongst the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community is much higher than any other sub-group.
Studies show that LGBT teens are between 30 and 40 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers but a lot of psychologists believe this figure to be higher

So, saying being gay is a sin is really a misuse of religion. We are made in the image of God.

Those who say being gay is a sin use highly selective Biblical text to make a point but leave out a myriad verses that present another whole list of issues that Christians and others choose to ignore…like selling your daughter, mixing fabrics together for clothing, stoning to death a disrespectful teen or someone caught in an extramarital affair. Just spend some time in Leviticus.

And they’ll throw around the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, as supposed proof of God’s wrath against the gay community—when in fact, in the book of Ezekiel 16:49 declares the former was destroyed because of its greed and disregard for the poor.

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”

And there is nothing in the words of Jesus that opposes the LGBT community, he never once corrects, cautions, or condemns anyone based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Rev. John Pavlovitz has this view of Genesis: the creation story quotes God as saying, “let us make mankind in our image”, and this God then ultimately creates both men and women. If we are to take these words at face value, we need to ask the question:
Which ones were created in God’s image, the males or the females?

If our answer is both (which it must be), then God is decidedly non-binary, God transcends a single gender identity, God is by nature trans-gender. We cannot have God be a He and also make women in His image—and we can’t have a God capable of creating men and women, unless God is equally made of both.

Interesting thought….

Here’s another Biblical argument laid to rest: People like to say the Bible declares that marriage is strictly between one man and one women, while the Old Testament, as early as Genesis’ fourth chapter is teeming with bigamy, polygamy, and extra-martial sex practiced by the lauded pillars and Patriarchs of the faith (Abraham, Gideon, Solomon, David)—not as cautionary tale, and not with rebuke, but simply as the story of God’s people.

The claim that the term homosexual refers simply to people who have sex with same gender partners yet will also admit that their own heterosexuality refers to far more than just their sexual activity, but to their inclinations to love, where they seek affection, intimacy, relationship. They can’t have these words work both ways.

People who are gay are just like every other person. They eat, sleep, work, play and love…

At the end of the day, the Bible is not clear on these matters. It is cloudy and even contradictory at times. There is no consistent sexual ethic in the Scriptures, no one image of marriage—and no specific condemnation from Jesus or Paul of those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender simply because of their identity and orientation. If we can admit that LGBT people have the same capacity for love, commitment, and monogamy in a mutually beneficial relationship that heterosexuals do—then all the Biblical text becomes impossible to weaponize as it has been.

Ultimately it is the fear, the prejudice, the lack of knowledge that causes anyone to lash out in hurtful words, violent rhetoric, and abject cruelty.

More and more we are beginning to understand that our faith tradition has gotten it wrong regarding sexuality, the same way it has regarding the worth of women, the plague of slavery, interracial marriage, the violence against non-Christians, and on and on. We are seeing that being LGBT and being Christian are not mutually exclusive. We’re seeing that a Church that honors God will welcome
all people.

We’ve wasted so much time, so many resources, and so many beautiful, God-reflecting lives, because we’ve made our fear our idol and tried to retrofit God into that image. The sooner we can let go of this misplaced fervor and this fruitless fight, the sooner we can live out Jesus’ clear and unmistakable commands, that we love God and all those who share this space with us.

No, being gay is not a sin.

The sin is the hatred that refuses to let go of that notion when evidence requires it is released

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