"It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubborness of the inorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed." - Albert Einstein

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I aspire to a stubbornly incorrigible nonconformity. The degree to which I have achieved my aspiration I leave in the capable hands of those whose wisdom and humilty exceed my own.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Standing On The Side Of Love

On Sunday June 24, 2012 I was a part of the Cascade Unitarian Universalist Fellowship contingent in the Seattle Gay Pride Parade. It was unbelievable, in a good way. I had so much fun.

There were just eleven of us with the church banner and signs promoting marriage equality, standing on the side of love, and acceptance of all people including LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people. We were so welcomed into the crowd in the several hours before we actually started marching in the parade. People thanked us for coming all the way from Wenatchee for the parade.

Along the parade route we passed out beads, temporary tattoos, and candy to the crowd and we got more positive comments and expressions of appreciation for coming all the way from Wenatchee.

On Saturday evening before the parade I was thinking how nice it would be to be able to have a Gay Pride Parade in Wenatchee. And then I thought how difficult and potentially dangerous that would actually be. I see so much around me changing and know that the day is coming, and soon, when my LGBT brothers and sisters will be fully accepted, allowed to marry the person of their choice, and any discrimination will be socially unacceptable. Just like what has happened for African Americans or people in mixed race relationships. But we are not there yet.

That got me thinking about what needs to happen so that in my lifetime we will have a Gay Pride Parade in Wenatchee. The first thing is for people of conscious to speak up, publicly, loudly, and passionately. And I think that the first institutions to do this should be, at least in my mind, religious and/or spiritual institutions that celebrate, in word if not in deed, the inherent worth and dignity of all people.

It has become a passion of mine to help shepherd this into reality in my own church home, the Cascade Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (CUUF). We are starting the process and we are on our way. The Unitarian Universalist Association has a formal program for recognizing congregations that fully welcome and include LGBT people in the life of the church. There is a process to being able to have that designation awarded to a congregation. It will be a time consuming process and one that may, at times, be challenging or difficult. I have already run into a few people who question the need, since they already feel that LGBT people are welcomed at CUUF.

It is not enough to say to each other how tolerant and welcoming and inviting we are. It is a hollow gesture if it is not public and proud. That is one of my primary focuses for the coming year, to shepherd this process into reality.

Perhaps it is fortuitous that I am recently retired and have a little more time on my hands. Perhaps it is the universe affirming my calling to this ministry. Maybe it is just random good luck. In any case, I have a mission and tasks that I understand and appreciate.

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