Tomorrow's the first day of the legislative session so the really, um, special fundamentalist leaders down here announced some months ago that they'd show up to remind the legislature that the MOST IMPORTANT THING they had to do first was make sure we had a consitutional amendment about gay marriage. Then they could outlaw abortion. Then, if there was time left, they could maybe fix the school funding issues plaging our state but nothing is as important as making sure the queers don't take over (which is going to happen any day now, you know). Basically, they're there to tell the legislature to listen to the voice of Christians. Well, not all Christians. Not Christians like me.
600 people on the Equality Kansas mailing list have been notified by mail, and even more were e-mailed by the Human Rights Campaign. My church and several others are going to support it too, and it was so incredibly cool to meet people today who were planning on driving up there. I went to two sunday school classes, and when I said, "I'm going to topeka tomorrow" a third of each class smiled and said, "We'll see you there." And we're just Wichita, where it's a 2 hour drive! Who knows what Topeka and Kansas City are bringing on?
An older woman in church told me today that her son had been talking to her over the break. He asked, "What happened to you? What happened to the days when you'd take all your friends off to protest a nuclear power plant? What happened to all the letter-writing and hearing speakers and making yourself heard?" She said that she felt like the activist in her had died somehow, or was lost. There are silent activists everywhere, feeling all alone in this conservative world like they want to fight but don't know how. Maybe they're like me and used to call themselves conservative, or want to call themselves conservative, but the conservatives have gone too far. They've used our party in vain and religion against us. We're going to stop it.
One big turning point for me was the fight in the topeka city council about the non-discrimination ordinances. There are laws that protect minorities in ways I think are really important, for instance, if you're a landlord and have a ton of people you're renting to, you can't decide to throw some out just because they're of a certain religion or ethnicity or gender. You can, however, throw them out if they're gay. Some people wanted to change this and the fundamentalist leaders came out and told their congregations that the gays were trying to get "special rights" (apparently getting a place to live isn't a basic human right anymore, it's special) and that landlords would be REQUIRED to rent to gays (WTF? isn't lying a commandment?) and that, churches would be REQUIRED to hire gays (churches are always exempt from these things... we don't require them to interview at jews wanting to minister, we don't require catholics to hire women priests), and soon churches wouldn't even be allowed to preach that homosexuality was a sin anymore (lesson 1: exaggerating helps people be afraid and rally behind you).
and that's what a non-discrimination ordinance means to these people, these leaders who corrupt everything that Christianity should be about. It's about seeking and helping people who society rejects. It's about worshipping a God who gave us free will, because a choice to love Him is more important than saying a prayer to prove you're a Christian so you don't get fired from your job. It's about love and not hurting people. It's about leaving judgement up to God. Jesus was the king of the jews but who did he reach out to? Who did he heal, and tell stories about? He never told the jews, "You'd best be looking out for #1, because those darn samaritans are so full of themselves these days!"
My religion is not about a far-reaching ban on civil unions, whose purpose is to break up and stomp down on same-sex families that are already established, happy, and not hurting anyone. A free America shouldn't be about that, either.
In the words of Le Tigre (who put out the greatest protest album ever this year): this is what democracy sounds like.