Please note this article is solely my opinion and ideas. I will understand if you disagree with me. I must work through some serious hate and anger. Writing this post is how I can best do so. This message contains my deepest philosophical beliefs on the nature of love. My spiritual identity is ‘feral Christian.’ I am looking for answers alone, without a church or religion interfering with my reasoning.
Sages throughout time, including recent teachers like Ram Dass and T. Harv Eker, have emphasized that showing love to everyone, not just friends but enemies, will have little effect on them, but it will bring monumental change for us. Christ himself told his followers, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. Love is the new commandment.” It’s the 11th commandment! Christ asks his followers to love their fellow humans as He has shown love to them. Even Leviticus, whose oft-cited anti-LGBTQ+ stance has provoked so much hate, said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Many Christians observe these laws reserved for Jewish priests like a fussy eater at a salad bar. He also said you can’t eat Hot Pockets because they’re more than three days old, or wear a cotton-poly blend, a favorite among churchgoers. He gives terrible gardening tips. Don’t get me started.
Right now, the anger that is eating me up is due to the fact that so many Christians refuse to practice the 11th Commandment. To be happy, I must meet their hatred with love. This practice of loving my enemies is difficult, but I believe with all my heart that it is the right thing to do.
The monumental change promised to us if we love people we hate is that we get to experience happiness. Practicing this kind of love is really, really hard to do. It means that my righteous anger at the recent Supreme Court decisions, which negatively impact protections for race, gender, and love, needs to somehow transform into love for those who made the decisions and those who fought to strip people of their rights and protections. Is this love impossible? Maybe. But pursuing this ability to love someone who hates me is a quest for happiness. I may never reach it, but I will at least try.
To help me on the path toward this love for someone I hate, I had to phone a conservative friend and talk to her about it. I trust her opinion, and I know that even as a lesbian, she respects the supposedly impartial nature of the law. This decision, she said, protects us, too. The judges cited the First Amendment not because of the right to religion but rather the protection of free speech and freedom of the press. A website is media, which falls under the guise of the press because it puts forth ideas.
In the case that directly affects me, a white gay male, I examined the circumstances. The web designer had come under attack from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for unsuccessfully attempting to launch a web design business that refused to serve homosexuals. The designer’s open hatred is appalling to me, triggering my hatred for her and the judges who supported her. It is, therefore, a source of unhappiness and misery.
I began my journey by asking my conservative friend, “How does this decision protect my rights?” The truth is that the decision protects the right to hate. So it doesn’t protect me from much of anything if I am on a mission to love everyone. Let’s look at the essence of the decision. It’s protecting a person’s right to refuse to put forth ideas that go against their beliefs. Commodities and services that don’t put forth ideas are not protected. Piggly Wiggly can’t refuse to sell groceries to homosexuals. The Beverly Hills Hotel can’t refuse to give a room to gay couples. That was my friend’s argument. But even she was uneasy with it.
My friend saw that the decision opens the doors to refusals of goods and services that have no speech attached to them. This opened door means there will be some States that will allow such denials now, believing this decision protects businesses that wish to refuse goods or services to LGBTQ+ people because it goes against the beliefs of the owners. The decision was very clear that it protects free speech. A person or business that uses speech or the written form cannot be forced to put forth ideas they disagree with, nor can they be prevented from choosing which ideas they wish to put forth in the form of press or speech. Even the White House misstated the ruling, saying “Products” can be refused to LGBTQ+ people, which isn’t the nature of the decision.
When States see a window, they will pass laws that allow open discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. Challenges to these laws will go to court, and there should be no grounds to refuse these “idea-free” goods and services. But the decision is dangerous. As much as I’m trying to love the six conservative judges in this court, I believe they are determined to strip away as many rights as possible. Taking away LGBTQ+ rights empowers people who hate me to do nasty things. It empowers them to tell women and men that their bodies are no longer sovereign; they no longer have an implicit right to certain kinds of medical care, be it abortion or gender reassignment. The judges have told colleges that they can no longer give a leg up in the admissions process to disadvantaged classes without access to quality education or who had to overcome language barriers. How do I love these judges? It’s nearly impossible.
The only answer is to focus on the people I love now. My love for my fellow man currently extends to my people, who deserve the love denied them. We should have a “love-in” on the steps of the Court. Instead of righteous anger, what would happen if we overwhelmed these judges with our love? Would there be negative repercussions if we openly and freely expressed our love? Could a peaceful, loving approach accomplish more than our vitriol and righteous anger? I don’t know the answer to those questions. I can only say that it is my belief, and I have a right to express it in this blog post.
Love is the newest commandment. Jesus never once said that such love only exists between a man and a woman. The web designer who disagrees with that idea is disobeying Christ. She is openly defying the teachings of Christ, whose name she is using to justify her hate. And my belief, no matter how painful, is that I must love her to be happy. Wish me luck.