Because it’s important to me…

I just posted this to Facebook, publicly, because I think it’s important.

I have trolls on FB who are there mainly because I knew them in a past life. Either as a high school student, or in college, or elsewhere (acquaintance through theatre or work or whatever). I am rejecting the trolls because I am tired of listening to their hypocritical rhetoric.

This is bugging me right now because Maryland has moved into its legislative session and the religious right has come out in droves in support of DOMA, among other things. I’m sick to death of listening to how evil the liberals are, how wasteful our programs are, how we should find a way to keep our wealth for ourselves.

Our congregation helps with the interfaith “Warm Nights” support system for Bowie’s homeless population. I wish we didn’t have to because there were no homeless to help, but there are and we should.

This ugly stuff won’t go away on its own. We need to help it along because the propagation of propaganda is human, not God-driven.

Okay, here’s what’s been bugging me for months. It has to do with Occupy Wall Street, with Corporate Personhood, with slavery and destitution, with the Right to Live and the Right to Choose, and with a thousand other smaller things that all relate.

I woke up this morning with the overwhelming desire to voice my opinion. I think it needs to be shared because if you disagree with this basic concept, you disagree (in my opinion) with virtually everything lawful and right in humankind and with my basic philosophy of life. You are welcome to disagree, but you might want to consider for yourself how you treat others. Are you following the Golden Rule? Is your way of treating others how you want to be treated?

I’ve become increasingly sick of hearing how everyone has rights, but only as convenient for other people. So let’s see if I’ve got this straight. Stop me if I’m wrong.

The unborn have the right to live, but the living have no right to contraception because that means you impinge on the rights of the unborn. Okay. I hear that.

So riddle me this: If the unborn have the right to live, don’t they also have the right to be educated, clothed and fed, to live without fear of reprisal for choosing their own path for living, so long as their lives do not cause you direct and personal pain?

Do they have the right to be who and what they are without fear of judgment for being themselves, whatever color, size, shape, gender or ability they happen to be? If all people are required to respect life, then shouldn’t we all be doing our level best to make everyone’s lives livable and respectable?

How about the poor who can’t afford to be educated? Housed? Fed?

If they have the right to be born and to live, and yet we abandon them when it is inconvenient for us; if their children are born ill because we have not done our best to help them avoid the illness; if we abandon these people to the winds of fate, are we not violating our very own laws of right and fairness?

Some of us complain that people use pregnancy to gain access to programs that help keep them “on the dole” and yet reject any sort of affordable and available means to keep them from becoming pregnant. (No, this is not an argument in favor of enforced sterilization of the poor and ill.) Education and contraceptives provide a way out for people who might not know any better.

Following a book written by men over almost thousand years before we understood how pregnancy happens means we close our eyes to the reality of biology. If we promote ignorance and then fail to understand the consequences when those who are ignorant fail because they lack knowledge, we must atone for that choice by caring for those who were unable to choose a different path. Education and assistance help keep these things from happening.

When children who have been born into a household that can’t handle them, for whatever reason, are dumped on society we offer to find them temporary housing until they are just old enough to fend for themselves, only to turn them out and say “You’re old enough now. You aren’t our problem anymore.” If these children are lucky, they will find nurturing environments and will blossom with the assistance and become helpful parts of society. As often as not, these children are shunted from house to house, taught to distrust and fail to grow into responsible adults. They are turned out and left to the streets where they become the next generation drains on our precious (and expensive) resources, objects of derision rather than sympathy.

Some of us complain that we should allow everyone to spend their own money to get the education they want, but then do not provide for those who can’t afford the same education as others because they don’t have enough of their own money to spend.

Every day I hear one version or another of “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul” in the form of vouchers, denial of medical or other safety net services, reduction in services that help educate our people. All while the corporate bigwigs who don’t see people for anything other than a commodity to be bought and sold get fatter, their spouses and children enjoy plenty and waste what they’re given, including the gift to help others in need.

We are truly living in the dark ages, midst all the technological improvements and ways our lives should be better. If we are doing so well, how is it that not a day goes by but I see someone outside with a cardboard sign asking for help?

I am well and truly sick of hearing how we should just shut up and follow the rules. Whose rules? God’s? If I’m wrong, God should smite me where I sit, even as I write this. The thunderclaps and lightning should be catastrophic. I am rejecting His word. If I’m wrong, how am I still here, writing this? If I’m wrong, how has God put these things in my head? Is God really so selective that he will allow some people to live by His word and not strike others down?

You can believe what you want. For me it comes down to this: If we are wrong and you are right, why are we still here to say that YOU are wrong?

If the answer is “It’s God’s will,” then it is also God’s will that we be allowed to disagree, and a HUMAN rule that we are violating by treating others differently from ourselves.

Discrimination is not and never has been a religious question. It is and has always been a HUMAN question. We are in violation of our brothers’ and sisters’ human rights by choosing anything else.

Argue these points with me as you will, but see if you can do it without being hypocritical about your defense. Keep the rule in mind: Would this be what I would want for myself? If the answer is no, then it’s time to take a look at your beliefs and see who they really protect.

I’ll be here, waiting.

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