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Or maybe she’s a lesbian. 

Really, do we think of God as having human characteristics, such as a face? A gender? A sexual orientation? A shoe size? My early concept of God was sort of like Santa Claus without the paunch– an old Caucasian dude with a long white beard, hanging out in the sky. The notion seems childish now. The personification of a higher power seems like a feeble attempt to define the ineffable in terms we readily understand. But if it must be done, why not envision, say…Ellen DeGeneres? The notion is every bit as ridiculous, yet every bit as valid. 

I believe the divine encompasses of all the possibilities we see in form (not to mention the vastness of what we do not see)–masculine, feminine, androgynous, heterosexual, heteroflexible, gay, dark, light, tall, short, freckled, flora and fauna. Maybe, like me, you believe that each of us has an inner spark which originates from the same animating force. This Infinite Source, that encompasses all that is, gives us cause to relax.   

There is no gatekeeper to God. We are all invited to the party. 

And yet, some still get the door slammed in their face. I have been touched by the harm of intolerance. There was the handsome 6th grade Hispanic boy I counseled who was physically and verbally bullied, based on the perception that he was gay. There’s my lesbian rock-star colleague, who stopped attending her beloved Catholic Church because she felt condemned. And my bright, young therapy client who lives in fear of going to hell because he identifies somewhere between questioning and bisexual. It is ironic that such inhumane prejudice often originates with religion–the supposed launch pad of love. But what about the large numbers of religious and spiritual folks who have a message of unconditional inclusion and love to share?  I want to hear from them. I want to hold a megaphone to their lips. I want to speak out, too. Not to fight against intolerance–but to celebrate the spirit of inclusion that is already in these communities, and growing.

On May 23-24th, some 300 “believers” are coming together to give voice to LGBT justice in Washington, D.C.  The Human Rights Campaign Clergy Call will join folks representing some 30 diverse spiritualities and religions– from  the familiar big 3– Christian, Jewish, Muslim–  to the fringy Metrospiritual from your local Whole Foods Store. Together, we will promote peace, practicing the lofty tenets we espouse–acceptance, compassion and basic neighborly decency. We will take a stance against bullying, so innocent children are safe at school. We will speak out on behalf of the employment non-discrimination act (ENDA), so people can’t be denied a job or fired based on whom they love. And we will faithfully represent the LGBTQ community in favor of the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

“Freedom arises from a multiplicity of sects,”James Madison,1788.

Capitol Hill Photo by Damian Brandon