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PRIDE

GREAT MORNING!  

Welcome back to Unity Spiritual Center!

It’s great to be back with you. I had a nice break, got to visit folks in PA. And I never get done what I hope to when I take a break, whether it’s a sabbatical or a day.

First, I ask that you take a moment and refer back to our Opening Statement…what is mine to do? That question I ask you to contemplate each week and pray that you do. And then, when you realize what is yours to do, put feet to your prayers, because prayer without action is nothing but idle words.

Only you can determine what is yours to do, whatever the question…whether gun violence or the environment or how much money to spend on your grandkids! Contemplation and prayer followed by steps forward.

Did you know, according to science…we on average have 4000 weeks in our lives. At this point, many of us have way fever that that, myself included. So, figure out if you are doing what is yours to do. And if not, then search your soul to find that magic thing that makes your heart & soul sing. Then, Principle 5…put feet to that prayer.

Thank you.

You may be aware that June is Pride Month. Much like Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and many other minorities, the United States has honored many different minorities to shed light on the achievements these groups have made in a country where they often faced discrimination.

I can imagine that many of you have had or know someone who has experienced discrimination, often based upon stereotypes. I have experienced many instances, myself. It can be unpleasant.


And so I would like to bring some awareness to this month and the minority group we honor, the many folks who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Bisexual, Non-binary, and all the forms that, as humans, our sexuality and gender identity expresses.

These different months, honoring the cultures and contributions of the different peoples is an important reminder that we all have something to offer to our communities and our country and our world.

There are many things our world would be without or at least farther behind in development if it were not for members of the LGBT+ community and their scientific and industrial contributions. Our computers, IPhones, even helicopters! People like Alan Turing, Tim Cook, and of course many actors and scientists and athletes.

The point being, in every culture, we have received many helpful and, in some instances, life-saving cures, due to the many contributions made by this group of folks.

But that recognition is only part of the reason we celebrate Pride.

The 1950s and 1960s the United States was an extremely repressive legal and social period for LGBT people. And I can imagine, decades prior to that also.

I can recall my experiences as I realized that I was, at the very least, bi-sexual. The things authorities used to harass members even suspected of being gay were frightening, and in some instances, life threatening.

There are many documentaries and films about the lives of LGBT+ folks. Some include “Paris is Burning”, “The Boys in the Band”, “Moonlight”, and “But I’m a Cheerleader” which talks about conversion therapy which was often pushed on teenagers by their parent and Religious communities.

Another good documentary, if interested, is “The Bible Tells Me So”, about homosexuality and its perceived conflict with Christianity, as well as various interpretations of what the Bible says about sexual orientation.

Most people understand that the Bible does not mention homosexuality and, in fact, if the verses that are promoted against it were truly understood in their historic and cultural significance, there is no statement against it.

We often forget that our Way-Shower, Jesus, was all about Love…not hate or prejudice.

So, this month we celebrate Gay Pride to promote self-affirming, equality, individual dignity and the increased visibility and therefore understanding of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters.

This is to counter the shame and social stigma that have been a part of our lives for too long. And, unfortunately, it is still. And sometimes it seems as if it is going again, against all the forward progress we have made.

If we have to continue to fight for equality, no matter the minority, then this is not the United States that our constitution claims it to be.

What started out in 1969, as riots that broke out after a raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City and continues to today, Pride marches on a much larger public scale.

Although there were signs of protest prior to Stonewall, the movement became more focused and public after that riot. The LGBT community began to organize and to fight back. Interestingly, LGBT and Women’s movements used the Black Community for equality as a starting point and reference.

Three presidents of the United States have officially declared a pride month. First, President Bill Clinton declared June “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month” in 1999 and 2000. Then from 2009 to 2016, each year he was in office, President Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month. Later, President Joe Biden declared June LGBTQ+ Pride Month in 2021. Donald Trump became the first Republican president to acknowledge LGBT Pride Month in 2019, but he did so through tweeting rather than an official proclamation.

“I call upon all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists.–Proclamation by U.S President Barack Obama, May 28, 2010

Obama designated the Stonewall Inn a national monument, too. “Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights,” he said in a statement. “I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us.”

Although the belief system behind LGBT+ Pride is to promote love and acceptance for everyone, no matter what their gender identity or sexuality is, not everyone sees it that way. Pride events are frequently met with the question, “Why isn’t there are a straight pride month?”

LGBT+ Pride is meant to celebrate the new attitude America, as well as the rest of the world, has about gender and sexuality. People in the LGBT community have been shunned and ostracized for years and years, and finally are at a point in our culture where we can accept and celebrate other sexualities. It’s not that we shouldn’t be celebrating heterosexuality, it’s that we’ve never lived in an America where doing so was unacceptable. LGBT+ pride is a triumph for America to see how far we’ve come as a country, and a way for us to honor people who have risked their safety and their lives to make the world a more loving and acceptable place for people of all sexualities. Although we’ve come a long way, we still have quite a bit of work to do to ensure that everyone can safely and happily celebrate their identities, not just during June, but all the time.

Why is being able to be ourselves important? I believe to be able to connect with our higher self, we must know ourselves and accept who we are. Even if we acknowledge that there may be something we would rather change, we must know and accept ourselves first. That is how we become authentic.

We want to live authentic lives as much as possible.

My struggle for acceptance of myself and by others was long and is still something I work on. I have come to accept myself on many levels, but understand that, as long as I am in physical body, there is work to do.

When I realized my sexuality, some people supported me and others did not. It took my family a long time to, at the very least, tolerate me. I really dislike that word. I wanted to be accepted!

I was kicked out of the house by my father. Separated from my siblings, the youngest two who I considered MY kids because I had raised them until I went off to college.

That was hard.

But in that separation, I got to accept more and more of me. I had to be careful, because it was still illegal to teach and be gay.

I did find acceptance from friends and eventually had some reconciliation with my family. I worked hard to be a part of that family, even though I was never really completely a part of them.

My Mother finally came around and we had a wonderful relationship when she passed. Something we both worked on. It’s that 5th principle!

They were grateful for my becoming more honest with them. But some friendships ended. They weren’t built on truth but on a false self I had projected.

The important people in my life, and I would suspect, most LGBT+ folks, are happy to know the real me.

AS Rev. Michael Gott has stated:

The other thing that saved me was Unity. I wasn’t necessarily the most understandable person when I was younger. I had a lot of anger and hurt by my family and the religion that I tried and tried again to find some solace.

It took a bit of time, but finally a friend told me about Unity. I started attending and soon was taking classes to eventually become licensed and to be able to spread the word here.

In Unity, we believe God is absolute good. And because all people exist within and as part of this divine energy, each of us is also inherently good.

I am also incredibly grateful to be a part of a spiritual community that recognizes my uniqueness as a gift from God.

This path to authenticity has been so healing for me. I believe it is universal.

Unity Leaves No One Out

Unity extends an explicit invitation to members of the LGBTQ+ community, who we know have often been rejected by spiritual communities because of who they are or who they love. Through prayer, publishing, and community outreach, we are committed to respecting the dignity of every human being—and that includes their gender identity/expression.

The Unity movement is open and welcoming of all individuals regardless of race, color, gender, age, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical disability, or sexual orientation. We invite you to read our formal (yet ever-evolving) statement of diversity and inclusion.

Together we embrace our individuality. We celebrate our uniqueness with full acceptance of all people, including every expression of the Divine. We come together with love and compassion to be a light for all. We stand together in Unity.

We see many symbols for Pride, the most prominent is the Flag:

Original flag and is representations

Hot Pink symbolizes sex

Red equals life

Orange symbolizes healing

Yellow stands for sunlight

Green represents nature

Turquoise equals magic & art

Indigo stands for serenity

Violet represents the spirit of LGBTQ people

We all might want to keep in mind that someone you love could be a member of the LGBTQ+ Community.

No Strangers

THERE ARE NO STRANGERS. I AM CONSTANTLY AWARE OF THE LOVING CHRIST IN ALL PEOPLE.

Ye are no more strangers . . . but ye are fellow-citizens . . . of the household of God. EPH. 2:19.

WE NEED never feel timid or hesitant, for there are no strangers. The Christ is the same in each of us. He looks on us lovingly through the eyes of other persons, just as He looks lovingly on other persons through our eyes.

In the heart of every person with whom we are not yet well acquainted, there abides the divine friend, the Christ. He is waiting for us to behold Him, to recognize Him. He is waiting for us to express good will to Him.

It is as though He were saying: “These persons are not strangers. I, the Christ, am coming to you in a new guise. You know Me. Look for Me. Silently let My Spirit in you speak to My Spirit in all whom you have thought of as strangers. My Spirit, the Spirit you share, is a friendly Spirit, an understanding Spirit. As you depend on my Spirit, you will find there are no more strangers, there are only new friends, blessed friends.”

Watch your thoughts, watch your words, watch your actions.


1 Comment

  1. Margo Haq says:

    This is beautiful to me! I wish I had known Unity earlier in my life so that I could have accepted myself sooner. On the other hand, I might have never known Unity at all so I am grateful to have been introduced when I was.

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