As I sat down to write my latest post – on a totally different subject – I changed direction because I learned of the death of the first woman in space, an American by the name of Dr. Sally Ride. She was an academically accomplished person, a pioneer in our adventure into the great unknown and a lesbian.
Nigger – Chink – Queer – Spic – Wet Back – Wop – Kike – Guinee. We’ve all heard these terms and more. They denigrate the speaker even more than those at whom they are directed. They are, in my view, terms that should never enter the minds and certainly not the mouths of people of quality or substance.
Dr. Ride did something even more remarkable than being the first woman in space. She was in a loving relationship that lasted for 27 years until her death on July 23rd. How many heterosexual couples can make that claim in an era when marriage is a matter of formality rather than a matter of commitment?
I realize that those who have a religious orientation, as I do, may ask the question, is being gay moral or a defamation of God’s law? To me that bears the same amount of weight as the question, is it moral to be a person whose skin is yellow or red? Attempting to approach this question from a non-religious and totally logical basis I would ask you this question.
Is being gay or lesbian an inherited trait or an acquired behavior? If it is the former, then it is no different than being short or tall, black or white, thin or heavy. But if it is the latter, logic suggests that a person would want to acquire this behavior to experience some positive benefit. And what positive benefit does a person gain by being gay? I would welcome my readers’ response to that question because I, despite a fertile imagination, cannot think of any.
I remember one night in September in the early 1980’s I had to go down to bail a friend out of jail. He had been arrested by the police because he was having a few drinks at a gay bar with some friends when the police raided the place. This happened with predictable regularity under the regime of Mayor Richard J. Daley, a good Irish Catholic Democrat. Apparently the Mayor felt that this made his stalwart supporters even more devoted to his cause.
The bar had a license for which it paid the City of Chicago an annual fee. In addition, it paid for inspections from the city’s Health Department to make sure that it met standards of cleanliness. The bar paid sales tax to the city on the drinks that it sold. And despite all the revenue that was derived from an on-going business, the owners of this bar lived in constant fear of a raid.
After the episode which involved my friend, I had the opportunity to meet the owner of this bar. In speaking with him, he informed me that in addition to all the licensing fees, he also paid an additional amount to various of those in authority (under the table) to minimize the number of the raids that occurred in his place of business. I wasn’t surprised to hear that.
Isn’t it time that we stopped labeling people? Isn’t it time that those of us who have a God-based faith really applied its tenets to those we encounter in our every day lives and those who don’t, accept others who are different as a matter of simple civility?
Neither I nor those of you reading this post is guiltless. We have all done things and left others undone which we regret. But I know that labeling people is not among my deeds or misdeeds. Despite that, I am not so virtuous as to be the person to cast the first stone.