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Why is it that people think you have to be just like them in order to be of any value? I don’t get it. I read an article about Chik-Fil-A today that hit a nerve in precisely the right way to make me blow my lid and resulted in a Facebook status that reflected my lost temper. The gist of the article was the restaurant’s support of anti-gay organizations.

Now, I need to establish something here: I am not gay. I am a straight female who loves men. Although I am married, which means I no longer touch any man other than my husband, I am not dead, and the eyes in my head work perfectly well for my purposes. I look.

I am also a Black woman living in the United States, which means that I am more than aware of prejudice and what it can turn someone into. I have had that unreasoning hatred directed at me many times in my life. I don’t like how it feels, and I try very hard not to make others feel that way.

I’m sorry that there will be no fiber arts in this post, nor any musings about my family or bi-polar disorder. I feel that this post contains something that needs to be said. I don’t generally go out of my way to do or say anything controversial. I am a firm believer in “he who sticks his neck out is the one who gets his head chopped off.” But this subject seems to be appearing more and more lately, and it needs to be addressed.

I don’t care about your religion, your color, your sexual orientation, or your politics. I don’t care if you are a gay purple person who prays to mud. I don’t care. What I do care about is what kind of person you are. I’m not always going to agree with you, but that doesn’t make either of us evil. Contrary to popular opinion, good people are not limited to straight Christians who go to church every day and twice on Sunday. Reading the Koran instead of the Bible doesn’t make you evil. Being gay doesn’t make you evil. Being Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, or Arabic doesn’t make you evil.  Being Republican instead of Democrat doesn’t make you evil. Even being a politician doesn’t make you evil (although they’re closer to crossing the line than the rest of us. That’s a joke.). I care only about whether you’re a good person. Prejudice and bigotry are a whole lot of energy wasted on hate that don’t get you anywhere you really want to be. Why do people feel it’s necessary to hate an entire group of people they’ve never met and know nothing about? We all want the same things: a good job, loving families and the ability to take care of them, a long and fruitful life, and to go someplace good when it’s over.  Why does anyone need to denigrate the neighbor who’s a pagan and not a Christian? Why do you need to beat on the guy who likes men? Why do you need to slam the woman who is Chinese? Why do you need to hurt someone because they’re different from you? Why is it so wrong for someone to be different from you?

One of the worst things about bigotry is the fact that people are prejudiced against something that many times the other person can’t help. I don’t know many gay people who were overjoyed when they realized they were gay. I don’t know many people of color who haven’t lamented, at least once, the fact that they weren’t born something else. No one ever wants to be different, but they can’t always help it. And it doesn’t help to be hated for what you can’t change.

We are all human beings. We all have, or should have, the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Why is that concept so difficult for people to wrap their brain around? Why is it so easy to look at someone’s differences and see the monster in the closet?

I’m not going to sit here and debate what the Bible says or does not say, either. I will say that most religions preach the same thing: to love your fellow man. Nowhere do any of them say, except for the gay man, except for the infidel, except for the African, the Asian, etc. Love your fellow man. Period. Nothing says you have to agree with the choices other people make or follow in their footsteps. If you’re not gay, don’t have a gay relationship. But who are any of us to judge anyone else based upon their differences?There are enough things in life that are worthy of your hatred,if you have to hate something. Hate murder. Hate rape. Hate child and animal abuse. But don’t hate someone you know nothing about just because they aren’t just like you.

I love the differences. Without them, there would be no differences in weaveable fabrics, no different types of food to savor, no flavor to life. Instead of slapping people down, why not try getting to know them? You might find you actually like them. You might find that your narrow little world has just expanded.

I’m not saying that every gay person, every Black person, every any type of person is a good one. There are bad eggs in every group of people. I am saying that everyone needs to open their minds to the possibilities in others who are not cookie cutter images of themselves. Broaden your horizons. Stop judging others. It’s all right to say, “That isn’t something I feel comfortable with doing, but I respect the fact that you are”.

Hopping off the soap box now. Next time, if you are still following me, we will resume our usual program. Thanks for reading. I hope you are also thinking.


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