I took part in an interesting and enlightening chat on facebook tonight. A childhood friend of mine and I were discussing life and people. Well, one talked and the other listened.
The "talker" said that she has a spouse she loves and a family she adores and yet they hesitate at times to be seen together in public. The whole family's being together opens them up for stares, whispers and rude comments. She has been screamed at more than once in front of her children by crazy people who called her lifestyle immoral.
The family went to dinner the other night as a treat to them all and sat quietly as people pointed and stared at their little group. She wondered a thousand times why they hadn't just ordered pizza and eaten at home instead of running the gauntlet of whispered (and not so whispered) rude comments about their family.
Trips to the grocery store could be brutal, she said, because zealots and fanatics make it their business to loudly proclaim judgment over the private sex life which was so publicly displayed just by their being together in one place.
She said that she is constantly judged by the way she looks. People look her over, up and down, and then decide that she's not the "right kind" of people. She stands out in a crowd of ordinary as decidedly not, and bears the burden of that.
But mostly, it's about the sex. It's about other people deciding that they have the right to decide with whom and how things....come together....as though those private moments between two people somehow include and need the approval of anyone else.
My friend from childhood is a lesbian, but it was me telling the story. You see, we both lead alternative lifestyles. We are just at opposite ends of the spectrum. She lives with her beloved Rose and the child they adopted, and I live with my husband and our 7 children and have a sex life which defies society's rules in our refusal to contracept. We are both derided and ridiculed by society for the lives we lead.
People of good morals and conscience can differ over political issues, but we should realize that we have something in common too. On both sides of the political fence, where my friend and I find ourselves, we both just want people to let us live our private lives the way we choose and stay out of our bedrooms. Isn't it funny where you can find common ground if you just sit down and chat for a bit?
(I'm not trying to start a comment war about the morality/immorality of the way anyone is living. I just found the similarities in our experiences of discrimination to be interesting and thought provoking. After all, when you strip it away, no one is convinced of the validity of anyone's argument by yelling, rudeness and insults. We are all people who deserve a basic respect as human beings created in the likeness and image of God. Even the people whose lifestyles we don't like are created in His image. It's easy to forget that when we see them as political symbols instead of people. The truth is that when you strip the particulars away, jerks are still jerks and whether you are "right" or not doesn't change the being a jerk part.)