Grey clouds blow across the sky.
Sands warm to the touch.
In China, Evangelicals are being persecuted for their beliefs. Coptic Christians are murdered in cold blood in Libya. The Hindu minority in Kashmir as well as other minorities around the world face pain, suffering and even death at the hands of the mob rule. These are cases of religious freedoms being crushed. These are examples of those of one religious sect or another becoming another victim in a war of power or hate.
In reaction to being told that they could not discriminate against homosexuals and in fear of their Christian ability to conduct business, the majority of Indiana lawmakers as well as the governor signed into law a bill that allows for anyone, not just homosexual but ANYONE who falls outside of their religious beliefs to be discriminated against. This includes not only the gay man shopping for a wedding cake but the Buddhist buying vegetables at the local market, the tattooed biker buying deodorant, and even the belly dancer trying to find a place to hold a class.
Most would say that this is a slippery slope argument. I would, at most times, tend to agree. However as the marriage equality movement has gained speed, a new cry has gone out. This cry is from Protestant, Catholic and Evangelical alike; you must stop the erosion of our religious rights. You must protect us, the majority, from the minority that infringes on our ability to be prejudicial and judgmental. We have lost our religious freedom and America is falling.
This cry has been taken up by far right wing politicians who are either believers or catering to a constituency of believers. In and around the country we watch as the backlash of marriage equity, anti-gay legislation, and open religious freedom becomes a clarion call to those who have long sat in the shadows and filled their hearts with hate. Now, they have a forum, a soapbox to stand on and a group of like-minded individuals to chant the slogans. And in some states, they are winning.
Earlier today, Indiana Governor Mike Pearce signed into legislation what has been called a religious freedom bill. Other states have looked at similar legislation. Some has passed. Others have folded when faced with the overwhelming support of multi-states businesses, religious leaders, social progressives and others.
I asked myself why I wrote this. What effect could I have, across the country, even as someone who purports to be a religious leader? Something came to mind as I lay there thinking about it. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Some would point and ask “Is this truly evil?” Decide for yourself. Read, learn, stand, and write. For myself; prejudice, hatred, and the tyranny of the majority are all hallmarks of evil.
With the new year (February 19) comes new growth, new paths and new visions. On a personal note, I have decided to try and live a vegetarian life. While only slightly for religious or ideological reasons, it is the best way I have been able to find to get long term weight and cholesterol problems in check. While exercise and diet have been slightly successful in the past, the elimination of items such as beef and pork along with healthier eating seem to be the best possible solution. It has been an interesting time over the last week and we will see where it leads.
The Retreat has been concentrating more and more recently on Haikus. These are somewhat of a Taoist Koan, a way to express stories and moments to the world as a whole. This will continue however, there may be more prose as well as pictures and other windows to the world. Those who have followed the Retreat over the Year of the Horse have seen some difficulties. It was, pun intended, a wild ride. I hope that the Year of the Sheep will be a bit more sedate.
Thank you to everyone who has posted comments or likes. Namaste.
Mountains grow with rain,
Mist shrouding the peaks from view.
To the blind man’s hand-
Warmth echoes through fingertips.
Skin is colorless.
Love, hate, fear-all emotion
Are simply lines on a face.
Beast inside all men-
Howling at the darkened walls.
Held in gentle chains.
Tree over small yard,
Ground littered with children’s toys.
Alone in the dark.
Bed sits unused and unmade-
Air conditioning rattles.
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