Ally to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
When I was younger Mr. Rogers would sing, “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor.” Later he would sing, “I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.” Then I would go to church and I was taught to love my neighbor as myself. In my childhood church this did not really mean everyone. You could love everyone just as long as they belonged to that church.
I always had a hard time with this. Jesus was healing prostitutes and was helping everyone. He wasn’t being picky about who he loved. He loved the poor, the Gentiles, the Jews, the sick, the Arabs, fishermen, the homeless, the blind and disabled. Black and White’s were precious in his sight. Isn’t this the way we should be treating ALL of our neighbors?
This is national Ally week. It is a week where we can engage in dialogue about how everyone can help become better allies to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) youth. I think this is sad that we have to have a week that is designed to get people to love their neighbors.
A few years ago someone came into my office and was asking me how I was going to vote in a presidential election. I had not decided. My great-grandmother was the first woman to vote in our family and I have been taught at a very young age to examine the issues when casting my vote. It is not a decision that I take lightly. This woman continued and said, “I hope you will do the right thing for God.” I asked her, “What do you mean?” She said if I didn’t vote for her candidate that gay people were going to be able to marry. My reply was simple. “I really don’t see how that would personally affect me. I don’t see that as an issue in my life. I’m already married.” With that she stopped talking and left.
Later, I realized this was an issue. What if one of my unborn grandchildren wanted to be in a same-sex marriage? How would I want them treated? Would I want them to go to the prom, just like everyone else? My answer is that I want them to be treated with love and dignity and shown the respect that we all deserve. I want them to know what a loving marriage is all about.
That year this “Christian” lady gave me lesson in love. I am sure I canceled out her vote. I can’t vote for hate. It may have cost me a few tax benefits. I was voting for God. We are all God’s children and deserve to be loved.
Isn’t that what Jesus was doing?
When I had my near death experience I saw that God’s spirit lived in everyone. God’s beauty is in each one of us. This leads me to think the Mr. Rogers had it right. It would be wonderful to have a neighbor just like you. How God made you is really between you and God.