Tuesday, November 17, 2015
No Room at the Inn
The last couple of weeks, at the beginning of this Christmas season, there has been much upheaval in the world. The bombing of several cities and the deaths of many, the requests for asylum for refugees, the suspicion and and hatred of Muslims, and in the LDS church the leaked information that the children of gay parents will not be officially welcomed into the fold.
Everywhere, people are saying "there's no room at the inn."
My sister D posts links claiming that Canada can't even take care of its own and so in this vast country that is wealthier than most, we have no room. The refugees will take from the poor. The refugees will take from the middle class. The refugees will take from me.
Is it really that we can't take care of the poor, or is it that we don't? Is there not enough room and to spare in this enormous land of ours?
I see it among my American friends too. There is fear. What if we let in those who would harm us? Better to turn them all away. Say there's no room. Lock the doors. Let them take care of their own out there in the cold.
When Joseph showed up knocking at the door of the inn, he could have been a danger. He could have been hiding a weapon under his cloak. Mary may have only been posing as a pregnant woman. They too might have been the terror that grips in the night instead of a young couple looking for a place to stay. Thank goodness that one inn keeper, even though his inn was full, still found a place for them.
On a much smaller, quieter scale, it was discovered that the LDS church created a policy, intended only for the eyes of bishops and stake presidents, that would ban the children of gay members from receiving baby blessings, baptisms, ordination to the priesthood, and opportunities for missions. The leaked information which again, was never intended for the world to know, caused leadership to scramble and make amendments to the original policy which affected families who had listened to counsel in the first place when the church told gay men to marry straight women as an effort to cure them which resulted in failed marriages. And so the church clarified the policy by stating that it was only for those children who lived with their gay parent and it was all intended for their own good because apparently, gay people and their children, are not as capable of making decisions as their straight brothers and sisters.
The clarification assured the membership that the church loves ALL children, even though they are creating a separate class of kids who can only watch baptisms and not recieve the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Boys who can only watch on the sidelines as their friends, some who had been drinking the night before, one who is a drug dealer, and another who is having a sexual relationship with his girlfriend, pass the sacrament. Young men who will have difficulty getting dates with the Young Women in their stake who are counseled to only date boys with the priesthood. Eager young men and women who would like to serve missions but can't because they live with a gay parent.
It is obviously a way to get rid of the gay problem. What gay parent who loves his/her child is going to stay and watch as the place they once loved turns their child into "other". Even if it means that they have to leave their community, their church, their friends, and their family.
It is a way for the church to say "we have no room at the inn for you or your children."
I watched in dismay as decent people supported this, claiming that these men spoke for God. It's easy to not have to justify your own prejudices and bigotry when you can blame God for it. When you can say that God says so. You don't have to be accountable for your hatred. If you can hand over the responsibility to a group of men you don't have to listen to your brain or your heart and the courage of your convictions comes in the form of this group of men. You won't hear the still small voice because you don't have to. You can squelch your conscience. You can claim superiority because you are following those who claim to follow God.
As adults we should take responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions. We should not be pointing at men and saying "they say it's from God" as a way of justifying our uncaring responses.
These same people fight to make sure their own children are not labeled as "other". They post memes about acceptance for autism, deafness, race, downs syndrome and other instances where a child might be an outcast or difficult to accept. Yet for the children of gay people they claim that if the leadership says to exclude them, it must be so and that they will be valiant and do what is right by supporting the exclusion and saying "there's no room at the inn."
One person who's Facebook post was circulated criticized those who left the church over it by claiming that you don't just quit when things get tough.
But quitting is a viable option. We quit abusive relationships and marriages for our own well being. We quit jobs when something better comes along. We move away from cities, give up hobbies that no longer feed us, change directions when we discover we're going the wrong way, or quit one college major when we discover that we are better suited to a different career path. We quit things when they no longer work. Quitting is an important part of life and knowing when to quit is part of that eternal progression to higher paths. Quitting one thing opens the way for greater things. Joseph knocked on many doors, quitting each one when he was rejected, so that he could find a place for Mary.
"But it's for their own good," the argument whispers and sometimes shouts. We've seen this before. We saw it in slavery - "it is for their own good. We've taken them from their backward land." We saw it in denying women the vote. "It is for their own good. Women don't need to bother about politics. That is a headache for men." We saw it with the Jews in Germany whose very existence was a threat to good Christian people. It was for their own good that their businesses be taken away and that they be rounded up and cared for. We saw it in the Japanese internment in Canada, when they too had their homes and businesses taken away and they were put in camps for their own protection.
Even more scary we have seen what people have done and continue to do, in the name of God. Witch hunts, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, holy war after holy war, 9/11, the Taliban, Isis, and Paris. It's more scary because it's hard to reason with someone who believes that they speak and act for God even if it means that they wipe out entire villages as in the Old Testament, turn in their Jewish neighbor, or tell a child that they are not good enough for baptism, or even decide that a baby does not deserve a name and a blessing in the church of her family.
We've seen this all before. Again and again and again. "It's for your own good." "We do this in the name of God." "There is no room at the inn."
There's no room at the inn.
There's no room at the inn.