Yesterday, I sent the following tweet:
I was surprised by the responses I received. While all the Twitter replies had an amen-like tone, a few friends on Facebook — who I am usually 100% aligned with on issues — respectfully disagreed. People really had an issue with the fact that Romney was a Mormon. One mentioned how the Mormon faith preaches an intolerance of gays. Another added that the Mormon church only allows men to be head of households. Don’t get me wrong, I have issues with Mitt Romney, but him being a Mormon isn’t one of them.
The first thing that popped in my head was that the Mormons I know don’t feel that way. That thought then led me to think of how many times I think that same thought when I think about my Catholic friends. The Vatican believes women are subservient and gays are deviants. The leaders of the church knowingly allowed tens of thousand of boys to be sexually abused for decades. Interestingly, every Catholic I know — I mean hundreds of friends — 100% disagree with the Vatican’s perspective on women and gays and all are appalled and embarrassed by how the Church handled the sexual abuse scandal. Yet they are still members of the Catholic church.
Would people who would not vote for a Mormon, vote for a Catholic? It’s almost as if when it comes to a Catholic candidate it is OK, but somehow Mormons are more evil. Is it because most people know less about Mormons? Ignorance breeds hate. Or is it because they are turning a blind eye to the Vatican’s ignorant, out-of-touch, elitist positions because they may know more Catholic people? It makes me think about how being gay is becoming accepted but transgenedered still freaks people out. Everything appears to have its place in the food chain and we project opinion based on what rung the topic is located on. Catholics appear to be higher on the food chain than Mormons. Why?
Is it because if something doesn’t reflect our beliefs verbatim, it must be wrong? I remember when I first heard about the show Sister Wives. It’s about a polygamist mormon guy, his four wives and seventeen children. My visceral reaction was disgust. And then I watched the show. And guess what — they are a kind, loving, happy family. Polygamy works for them. If that’s the case, what gives me the right to judge them? Isn’t that the same level of ignorance people project on gays? Are there bad polygamy situations? Hell yeah! That doesn’t mean all polygamists are bad. Just like all gays aren’t bad, all mormons aren’t bad, all Catholics aren’t bad, all Republicans aren’t bad and all Democrats aren’t bad.
I found it ironic that during Chris Christies keynote — when he wasn’t talking about himself — he talked about respect. True respect, values the differences in people and is inclusive, not exclusive. Just because you may not agree with something, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. If some Mormon women choose to be subservient in their relationship, then who are we to judge them? As long as they are not being abused, it’s their choice and we should respect it.
When I watched the gay kiss-in at Chick-Fil-A, my skin crawled. I don’t want to see anyone — straight or gay — making out. In my opinion, this type of act feeds into all the societal fears that gays are sexual deviants. However, I fully respect the people who did it. “Stand up for your rights” moments in history, like Stonewall and Rosa Parks’ bus sit in, have moved the equal rights needle exponentially and their place in history can’t be undervalued. Yesterday, Orrin Hatch, a mormon Republican Senator from Utah, broke from Mitt Romney on gay marriage ban and stated that he does not support the amendment. Can a sista’ get a table dance?! Seriously, that’s a big deal.
This month, I saw Springsteen at Fenway Park. The stadium was filled with young and old, rich and poor, Democrats and Republicans, Catholics and Mormons, gays and heterosexuals — it was a melting pot of diversity. And, the love and unity that could be felt at Fenway that night was palpable. The patriotism and emotion in his songs brought everyone together in a way that was simply jaw dropping. I didn’t care that the lady next to me was a Republican. And she didn’t give a rats ass that I was gay and there with my wife. We were all there in celebration and our differences were set aside for a few hours. If we could bottle that feeling of mutual love and respect and sprinkle it across the world, peace would be our reality. If we hold our ground and expect everyone to be a mirror image of our beliefs, we will never get there. Diversity is a good thing. Respect is the bridge that will bring us all together. I have faith that “We the people” can be our approach versus “We the Republicans” or “We the gays” or “We the whatever.” Can’t we all just get along?
What are your thoughts?
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