Monday, November 10, 2008

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Second-Class Child of God

This is something you'll here me say a lot. Here. In person. Elsewhere on line. This is the LGBT marriage version of this.

It sounds like a blitheringly, blindingly obvious statement. It is. Living up to it is the hard part.

Let me put my cards on the table here. I am not just privileged, I am about as uber-privileged as you can get.

White (as it gets. Trust me. I AM that joke)
WASP (with some German bits thrown in)
Episcopalian (by baptism, same as one parent)
Upper-middle class (dad was a lawyer in a firm founded in the 19th century)
Prep school. (Catholic, Jesuit, and the best school in town - was and is a prep school if not quite prepared to admit it then)
Ivy League (Dartmouth, if you really wanna know.)

Short of an actual trust-fund of meaningful proportions, I am about as privileged as you can get in American society. The rules were made by and for people like me.

(And I think that fucking sucks, and kinda undermines everything we hold ourselves out to be, but nevermind.)

The first person I knew well who came out was black, dirt-poor, and fundamentalist Christian. She was also a Dartmouth student which is how we knew each other. I watched her struggles and her first girlfriend's to reconcile their identity as lesbians, Christians, and African-American women. I'm not sure if her first girlfriend ever succeeded, and it's not my story to tell what kind of peace my friend made for herself, although I know she did.

But knowing and loving Deb as I did helped teach me this lesson: There ain't no such thing as a second-class child of God. None. But knowing that and living it are 2 different things.

Now some of you to whom these words come are probably agnostic or atheist or follow other faith paths. Bear with me on this for this next part. I am Christian, if a liberal one, and the people I'm speaking to, I think mostly are as well -- much though I doubt any will read it -- so that is the language I'm using. Feel free to sing the same song in a different key if it helps.

The language used to talk about gays as different, as other, as somehow not accepted by God, as somehow not beloved children of God, is the same language, the same tired-ass worn-out rundown hungdown bullshit that has been used to talk about, well, everybody.

The Jews.
The Irish.
The Catholics in general. pick just a few from the long and awful hit parade...

And, oh yeah, in this country, most especially, and particularly, people of color.

So when you hear an argument about what's wrong with letting gays and lesbians get married or have equal rights or in anyway shape or form, remember, if you're a person of color, that your parents and grandparents heard that same shit pointed at them.

It was bullshit then and it was bullshit now.

Because there ain't no such thing as a second-class child of God. We are all God's beloved children. Each and every one of us, period, no exceptions. Start acting like it. Start treating others like it. Start expecting it.

Jesus said the first commandment is to love God and the second commandment is to love one another as he has loved us. From these 2 commandments he said, hang all the law and the prophets. That's it. Simple to explain, harder to do.

But impossible to square with saying that 2 people who love each other shouldn't get married.

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