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The Children of Happiness

Interestingly, in Daughters of Copper Woman, a re-telling of ancient stories from the native people of Vancouver Island by Anne Cameron, there is one story titled The Children of Happiness.  Whether this story is related in meaning to the story related in the previous entry here by Janet Spotted Eagle, I do not know, but at the end of the story are these words:

They are to be cherished and protected,

even at the risk of your life.

They will know sadness, but will overcome it.

They will know alienation

for they see past and through this reality.

They will Endure where others cannot.

They will Survive where others cannot.

They know love even when it is not shown to them.

 

They spend their lives trying to Communicate

the love they know.

it is all there inside you; listen and remember...

The following was published more than twenty years ago, in Woman of Power, a magazine of feminism, spirituality, and politics under the title The Children of True Happiness by Janet Spotted Eagle, who was trained in the Old Ways of the People on the White Mountain Apache Reservation.  I am concerned that lesbians and gays of faith so often feel they must choose between their sexual identity and a life of faith.  Janet Spotted Eagle offers a different perspective:

 

"I am an Indian, a woman, a lesbian, a mother, a grandmother, a medicine woman.  I am a spiritual teacher for all women, all people.  I want to help you remember; it is all there inside you; listen and remember.

Thought Woman is the mother of us all.  She has been and still is a part of Indian culture, recognized today by those of us who remember the way of 'the people.'  She is the one who gives us breath; she sang life into each of us.  She has many names and many faces, and is recognized by all tribes, all people, in every nation of the world.  When we strayed from her teachings, she sent us a messenger - White Buffalo Calf Woman, Rainbow Woman, Day Woman, Spider Grandmother - these and many more.  She sent them to remind us who we are and where our spirits came from, and the direction we need to be taking.  She is sending us teachers now to remind us that as women we are the hope and life-force of this world.  That we as women have within us the answers and the knowledge to unite all people with the rest of creation, to live in peace and harmony as she intended.  We are the spiritual and physical leaders.  This is our birthright.

But we need to listen and remember where our power comes from, that 'soft power' of woman, which is the power of love, wisdom, introspection, and innocence given to us by Thought Woman, as opposed to the power of fear and domination by which we are led now.  We need to forget fear, for fear makes us weak.  From our weakness comes domination and wars.  In our weakness we try to conquer and control other people as well as nature.  Then we lose respect for all life, even our own.  We need to be led by 'love,' spiritual love, the love Thought Woman used when she sang life into us.  When we allow that love to come from us we allow ourselves to become complete, balanced human beings.  When we let our physical body unite and become one with our spiritual self, we are no longer a society of warriors led by our fears.

We who are lesbian women need to accept the gift given at birth, the strength to be leaders.  We need to allow ourselves to show that love in us, placed there by Thought Woman.  We need to become the teachers in society.  To do this we have to rid ourselves of the labels and games of this society.   And in doing this we can change ourselves and allow others to change.  They cannot change without our help.  We must realize we are woven together by Spider Grandmother's web of interconnection.  We need to unite our love and expand that web of love to include all people, all of nature, indeed the world.  We are the hope of this world.  And we need to accept the responsibility of our own lives.  We need to change the way we see ourselves.  We are capable of all things.  We must not limit ourselves.  We are a very special part of creation.  We as women were created in the likeness of Thought Woman.  And we as lesbian women were created to lead others to that knowledge within each of us.  Lesbian women were from the beginning the spiritual leaders, the healers, the medicine women, the sacred chosen ones of Thought Woman. 

I am here to teach what was taught to me as a child and through young adulthood.  I am no different from you, I have simply been taught to remember.  And I want to teach all women to remember the knowledge that we are born with, and in that instant of remembering, to accept the responsibility of giving that knolwledge to make a better world.  I am here to put in place that 'soft power' of woman.  So that while the Earth Mother is cleansing herself, we can prepare ourselves for our role as leaders in our new society.  By accepting who we are we create new communities that include all of Thought Woman's creation.  Remembering that we are the same as the four-leggeds, the winged ones, the plants, the rocks, the fish; indeed, all things she created are sacred and they are equal.  I am here to remind each one of you that to become true leaders we must be complete beings.  We must use introspection when making decisions, and we must respect all points of view.  We each have a part of the whole but we need to unite and share our knowledge, putting together each piece to make our new communities.  We cannot force our ideas on others. If we try we have not changed, but are still led by fear.

As the earth's cleansing of itself increases, we will be united out of our need to survive.  Then we must be ready, replacing fear with love, a love that will fill the world.  This love comes from being spiritually and physically balanced.  We become women of soft power by allowing our spiritual/feminine side, which comes from Thought Woman, to unite with our ego/physical/masculine side, which comes from humankind.  And we then become one within the sacred hoop of life.

I am sending my voice to Thought Woman, that this sacred hoop of life we are renewing will continue to grow and encircle this entire universe.

Unite, my sisters, and remember - send your voice with mine and we shall be heard - for she listens.  For we are her children, the children of true happiness."

 

Janet Spotted Eagle began her training in the Old Ways of the People at age eight.  Part of her purpose has been to heighten the spiritual awareness of women by teaching the Old Ways of the Spirit, the ways of the Indian before the arrival of the dominant culture.

It's Never the Wrong Time To Do the Right Thing

In regard to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell discussion, I am posting here an article from a local newspaper that is pertinent, written by Ian Mackey, taken from the Springfield, Missouri News-Leader June 15, 2010 (titled Skelton ignores issue of gays in U.S. military):

 

Missouri's 4th District Congressman, Ike Skelton, stated this week he wants to avoid any national discussion on homosexuality.

"What do mommies and daddies say to their 7-year-old child," he asked?  Well, Ike, I suppose that depends on whether those mommies and daddies are straight or gay - or whether they are tolerant or intolerant of families different from their own.  A simple answer to his question is one that I give my preschoolers - "some of our friends have a mommy and a daddy, some of our friends have two mommies or two daddies, some of our friends only have a mommy or only have a daddy, and some of our friends don't have a mommy or a daddy."  That usually ends the discussion because their little wheels get to spinning so fast you really don't need to explain further.  And eventually they understand - we're all different. 

I suppose I could ignore the question.  That seems to be Congressman Skelton's preferred method any time an uncomfortable issue arises.  Unlike Ike, though, I prefer solving problems instead of ignoring them.  Ike wants "Dont Ask Don't Tell" to remain U.S. military policy, despite the nearly 80 percent of Americans who support its repeal, because he doesn't think our soldiers should be engaged in a "social experiment."  And [recently] we discover Ike not only wants to keep "Don't Ask Don't Tell" in the military; he would rather society as a whole implement the policy.  What does that solve?  Ignorance is bliss?  Well, it's not.

The acceptance of blacks, women, and all religions in the military have illustrated that social experiments in our military can have a positive outcome.  And since I suppose Ike isn't advocating for an all-male, all-white army, I'll have to assume he's worried about the timing of this experiment.  But Ike fails to realize that it's never the wrong time to do the right thing.

Ike's revered by members of his party from one end of the spectrum to the other for his leadership.  And rightly so.  So, I wish Ike would put his leadership to work to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  Leadership is responding to challenges in the face of adversity.  Pretending the issue of gays in our military - or gays in general - doesn't exist is the opposite of leadership.

What I find even stranger than Ike's decision to ignore this issue is the decision of others close to him to accept it.  Ike's gay staff member(s), his liberal colleagues, all turn a blind eye to his intolerance.  If Ike is going to refuse to have this conversation, fine.  But those of us who believe in treating all human beings with an equal amount of dignity should not accept his position.

Fortunately, it is not up to Ike whether our nation engages in a national discussion about equal rights.  It's up to teachers, parents, journalists, and anyone who believes in equality to start the discussion.  And eventually Ike will realize that the world has evolved forward, and he has stood still.

 

{end of article}

 

 

Barb

 

Gallup Poll

There is an article in the New York Times, June 5 of this year, by Charles M. Blow explaining a little noticed report from a Gallup poll on Americans' evolving views of homosexuality. Three main points he made are as follows, quoted from his column:

1. For the first time, the percentage of Americans who perceive "gay and lesbian relations" as morally acceptable has crossed the 50 percent mark. (You have to love the fact that they still use the word "relations." So quaint.)

2. Also for the first time, the percentage of men who hold that view is greater than the percentage of women who do.

3. This new alignment is being led by a dramatic change in attitudes among younger men, but older men's perceptions also have eclipsed older women's. While women's views have stayed about the same over the past four years, the percentage of men ages 18 to 49 who perceived these "relations" as morally acceptable rose by 48 percent, and among men over 50, it rose by 26 percent.

{end of quote.}

He goes on to explain three theories as to what is driving this radical change in men's views, and again I quote directly from the article:

1. The contact hypothesis. As more men openly acknowledge that they are gay, it becomes harder for men who are not gay to discriminate against them. And as that group of openly gay men becomes more varied - including athletes, celebrities and soldiers - many of the old, derisive stereotypes lose their purchase. To that point, a Gallup poll released last May found that people who said they personally knew someone who was gay or lesbian were more likely to be accepting of gays and lesbians in general and more supportive of their issues.

2. Men may be becoming more egalitarian in general. As Dr. Kimmel put it: "Men have gotten increasingly comfortable with the presence of, and relative equality of, 'the other,' and we're becoming more accustomed to it. And most men are finding that it has not been a disaster." The expanding sense of acceptance likely began with the feminist and civil rights movements and is now being extended to the gay rights movement. Dr. Kimmel continued, "The dire predictions for diversity have not only not come true, but, in fact, they've been proved the other way."

3. Virulent homophobes are increasingly being exposed for engaging in homosexuality... {Blow gives a couple of examples here - Ted Haggard and George Rekers, and discusses them a bit}...In fact, there is a growing body of research that supports the notion that homophobia in some men could be a reaction to their own homosexual impulses. Many heterosexual men see this, and they don't want to be associated with it. It's like being antigay is becoming the old gay. Not cool.

{end of quote from Blow's article}

There is much more to the article, and it is extremely interesting - I highly recommend looking it up online and reading the whole thing if you are interested. The title of it is "Whatever, Dude" or "Gay?  Whatever, Dude," depending whether you have the newspaper or look it up online.  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/05/opinion/05blow.html  (Thanks to Sonja for providing this link).

Dr. Kimmel, by the way, is Dr. Michael Kimmel, a professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and author or editor of more than 20 books on men and masculinity, who was contacted by Blow for help in speculating as to the cause of this apparent change in men's views. Another person who contributed in this regard was Professor Ritch Savin-Williams, the chairman of human development at Cornell University and author of seven books, most of which deal with adolescent development and same-sex attraction.

Barb

A Summer Respite

Things will be quiet on GLBSP for the summer, except for new stories.  Children and grandchildren begin to arrive soon for a good long visit, and the tyranny of a summer garden is preparing its annual onslaught (already begun, actually, with a bountiful and early cherry harvest).  Gary's garden and orchard are primed to continue emptying the horn of plenty on my kitchen counter. 

The website will be checked daily, or nearly so, and any new stories posted.  We recommend you re-check the links page, perhaps watch some of the movies listed, and check any of the other links you may have missed before.  The Revoked link (Daniel's website) has a new entry almost every day and there are lots of old entries to check out.  Letters of the Living is frequently renewed as well - Amanda's imagination always finds a new way to stir our own.  Be sure to check out her archives - there are some great past entries.   And if you haven't signed the petition yet, consider doing so!  There may be an occasional new post on Quotables or Heritage pages, or an entry here.  Elsewhere, Talisman9 and Baha'i Rants provide interesting discussion on various Baha'i subjects.  Sen McGlinn's blog is always of interest, as is Sonja's.

We visited our cabin in the woods yesterday, and heard the whippoorwills for the first time this season.  Fireflies and night sounds were healing, and a welcome change from the sometimes too serious thoughts that occupy our minds here and on various discussion groups.  Gay Pride Day is coming up, and we expect to attend local events, as we usually do.  Come fall, we hope to be refreshed and ready to tackle the task of continuing to provoke thought and promote dialogue in the Baha'i community regarding gay rights.  The issue is not going away, and neither are we.

Keep those stories coming!

 

Barb