Thursday, October 2, 2008

... and the greatest of these is love



Leonardo Ricardo said...

That touched my heart and my soul.

Thank you

James said...

Bloody brilliant! Absolutly brilliant. Than you for finding this for us.

dr.primrose said...

The Los Angeles Daily Journal published the following piece today. Because the newspaper is not readily available on-line, I'm posting the entire article:

Proposition 8 Unfairly Imposes Religious Views on a Diverse State


By Rabbi Lewis Barth
It was a joy to read in the Los Angeles Times that "California's six most senior Episcopal bishops ... unanimously declared their opposition to a constitutional amendment on the statewide November ballot that would ban same-sex marriages." They are joined by so many in the religious community, clergy and laity, who share the position that Proposition 8 should be defeated.

It is probably too much to ask that the supporters of Proposition 8 withdraw the proposition. However, both those for same-sex marriage and those against it might try to think together through the implications of imposing a particular religious view on a society that contains people of very different religious orientations, as well as people of no religious affiliation at all.

Or, to put it another way, what are the values that differing religious communities share, and on the basis of which could find common ground among themselves and with the non-religious in American society? At the most basic level, we have to figure out how we are going to continue to live together in a democratic, pluralistic and increasingly diverse society. What are we to teach our children about our own beliefs, which, from a pluralistic perspective, must include the concept of respect for people whose beliefs are different from our own? How are we to move from power relationships so poorly modeled in American political life to relationships in national affairs built on appreciation of others as God's children? How do we remain true to our own religious beliefs and at the same time grant that same right to others? Issues like Proposition 8 push us to consider the deeper significance of living in a pluralistic and democratic country.

People of the dominant scriptural traditions, Christians, Jews and Muslims, are all informed by sacred writings that share a concern for the poor and the powerless, even as we may differ on programs to ease their suffering. We all share a common appreciation of the world as given to us as a sacred trust, even if we differ on literal or non-literal interpretations of creation. We all, perhaps with the exception of terrorists, believe that life is sacred, even if we differ on when life begins and the right of women to control their own destinies. We even share the value of the sacredness of marriage, even as we may differ on who should be included as candidates for marriage. Yes, even in regard to same-sex marriage, religious people can have very different views.

How does the value of respect play itself out where there is such conflict of opinion or belief? Let me be specific. I can argue from the Hebrew bible, rabbinic tradition and modern Jewish thought as persuasively as one can argue the opposite from the same body of sacred literature for same-sex marriage or against it; so can clergy from other religious groups using their own scripture and tradition. But I can also say that I understand why fundamentalist Christians or Orthodox Jews come to the conclusions they do. I see no reason for them to accept my position, and I believe they have the right to prohibit same-sex marriages for members of their faith communities. But in an open, pluralistic society, they have no right to prohibit same-sex marriage for members of my community or those who are not religious. Matters of marriage, sexual identity and sexual practice for these religious groups need to be worked out within their churches and synagogues. In democratic societies, individuals get to choose whose religious rules - if any - they want to live by. We all, however, live under the laws of the state of California and the United States - laws that have, can and will change over time. While this does suggest limits to some religiously based totalizing or universalizing claims, it does let people work out their own lives and it does let groups refrain from demonizing one another or trying to exploit secular society to accept their views.

Think about the money and effort being expended to pass Proposition 8, what it would mean to direct that money and energy for the benefit of the poor and powerless, the stranger in our midst. It would be extraordinary if Proposition 8 were withdrawn; if not, it will just have to be defeated.

Rabbi Lewis M. Barth is former dean and professor emeritus at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles.

Anonymous said...

Thank you PRimrose.

Thank you also, Ann. What a wonderful video! I have tears in my eyes...


Fred Schwartz said...

The promise of Jesus is transformational Love!

Göran Koch-Swahne said...


dr.primrose said...

The Prop. 8 supporters are running into some of their own problems, according to the L.A. Times -- Mass display of Proposition 8 support delayed. The story says:

"It was supposed to be the largest mass lawn-sign planting in the history of California politics: A million signs in a million yards across the state, all stuck into the ground at the same moment in a show of support for Proposition 8.

"Except it never happened.

It seems that the signs, some of them outsourced overseas, didn't all arrive in time for the September event. And many still haven't reached supporters of the measure that would amend the state Constitution to ban gay marriage."

The story concludes:

"Opponents of Proposition 8 said they had nothing to do with the sign snafu, but they were nevertheless amused by it.

"Ali Bay, spokeswoman for Equality California, which is coordinating the No on 8 campaign, said that her side has so far distributed about 60,000 lawn signs, all purchased 'from a union shop in Kansas.'

She had a hard time not sounding pleased. 'All our materials were made in the U.S,' she said."

Anonymous said...

That's funny Dr P

Let's hear it for Made in America!

BTW, my bumperstickers have just arrived....let's see how long they last on the car. (We've had liberal stickers ripped off before).


Cany said...

This is just such a beautiful pieces. Thank you... am going to link to this.

Dr. P., thanks for the head's up on these couple of things. I love that you keep your eye on the ball.

As for the prop 8 folks... well, Nothing Better than American labor. As evidenced.

dr.primrose said...

There's a thoughtful column by Meghan Daum in todays' L.A. Times responding to the argument that Prop. 8 will require teaching about same-sex marriage to kindergarten children -- Prop. 8 and teaching to the marriage test: Heterosexual or same-sex, it's still about being grown-ups.

She argues that what we really need is education for young people about the grown-up joys and and responsibilities of marriage -- straight or gay -- to counteract what's out there in the popular culture, which is mostly about wedding dresses, wedding cakes, and honeymoons. She concludes:

"And that's why students need marriage-ed. They need it because we're being taught to associate marriage not with permanent commitment but with social status, diamond rings, gifts, throwing a big party and, for women, wearing a dress that doesn't necessarily fit through the door. As a result, many teens of all sexual orientations (and many adults too) not only confuse sex with love, they confuse the long-term implications of marriage with the short-term gratification of wedding and honeymoon planning.

"No matter what happens with Proposition 8, the way the education code is worded, it's unlikely that a lot of classroom time will ever get devoted to thinking deeply about marriage of any brand. That's a shame, because what students desperately need to be steered toward is not straight marriage or gay marriage but grown-up marriage. Now that would be radical."