Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We are human beings, not an issue or a cause!

People often speak of Same-sex marriage, DADT, ENDA, Anti-bullying laws, and gender identity as though they are speaking of political, theological and social issues. The danger of discussing these matters that way is to forget that fundamentally what we are speaking about are human dignity and human lives.

Real people came to the confessional or to my office when I was a priest. They would open their hearts, share their fears and hopes, talk about their trials. As an Air Force Chaplain, I was surprised to discover that Protestants would often ask for an appointment with priest. It was one of the only places they could go on base, and speak freely, without fear that what they said would be reported to their Commanding Officer, and negatively affect their careers.

In my many years of working with people, I was struck by the unimaginable capacity that the human heart has to suffer in silence. Sometimes truths remained unspoken out of fear, but far more often people bear what objectively seems unbearable motivated out of love for another.

The woman in the following video reminds me of those people I encountered in ministerial service. She speaks with the strength found in her relationship as a Mother and the quiet dignity bestowed by the foundational compassion that guides her moral insights.


Maxx Sundquist said...

"We are human beings, not an issue or a cause!"

Thanks for posting this. When I got married to my partner (not legally, because that isn't allowed here) I invited a cousin who wrote back and declined to attend, saying that he was "ambivalent about the issue of gay marriage." I was saddened and upset by this; learning that I am just an issue to some people and no longer a human being feels pretty terrible. Maybe your post will reach someone who needs to learn.

Tal said...

It's easier to attack an issue than it is a person, to skip passed someone's loves, hopes and dreams with the expedient of reducing that person to an "it." It's for that same reason that gay people are so often reduced in our national discourse to the level of sexual predators, because it helps to justify conclusions already formed. Maxx, I'm sorry about your cousin. But I hope your life is gong well.