You won’t find rainbows on my Facebook page. Before you get angry and call me nasty names, let me explain … I fully support gay marriage and have tremendous respect for the members of our LGBTQ community. The recent decision to legalize gay marriage in the US is a win for human rights and I am genuinely happy for all those who will benefit. So why won’t I adorn my FB profile pic with a rainbow?
If we are sincere in our desire for universal human rights we need to celebrate our humanity. We need to stop celebrating our differences, and start celebrating our sameness. We are one species; homo sapiens sapiens (yes, two ‘sapiens’ – it means the “wisest of the wise”). We must resist the urge to draw distinctions. We must avoid the exclusivity that arises when we identify ourselves as being a member of an ideologically unique group. This means a complete rejection of the cultural practices which prevent marriage between people of different races, religions, and castes; a complete halt to barbaric cultural practices like female genital mutilation and other ‘rites of passage’. We need to openly and fearlessly address the hypocrisy of our religious institutions. We must demand the re-writing of public policy to abolish poverty and homelessness and to improve the quality of life for all.
Racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, and the myriad variations of discrimination are alive and well around the globe. It only takes a moment to peruse the daily headlines and realize that world wide, we devote most of our resources to protecting ourselves from one another. In the United States, gun Control is a more contentious issue than child-poverty. Military spending among the G20 nations eclipses the combined spending on education, social services, and healthcare. Let me rephrase that: G20 nations spend far more on killing humans than on helping them.
Social media is a chronicle of our ideological differences. It is a snapshot of our species’ state of mind. On my Facebook feed this morning I can see that Christians are afraid of Atheists, Jews are afraid of Muslims, Creationists are afraid of Science, and Americans are afraid of almost everyone and everything. One thing they all have in common is that they claim to belong to a group. They are holding their virtual hand in the air and declaring, “I am Christian”, “I am Atheist”, “I am Canadian”, “I am Republican”, and so on. It is these implied-declarations that are tearing us apart by driving ideological wedges between us. If religion hadn’t bred homophobia into the collective human psyche, would we need to pass a law legalizing gay marriage? If twentieth century American foreign policy hadn’t contributed to the marginalization of half the world’s population, would ISIS ever have formed?
I propose a Human Day. Pick a day, just one day this year, where we collectively step back and examine the ideologies we identify with and say, “Today we, as a species, will not murder, enslave, mutilate, subjugate, exclude, ignore, malign, impoverish, or otherwise cause suffering to any other member of our species. Today we are Human. Today we are all the same.” Make a flag for that, and I won’t just put it on my FB page; I’ll climb a mountain to wave it in the wind.