The Freedom to Love
Dear old and new friends,
A Fourth of July parable is a true Hollywood story about the film producer Samuel Goldwyn who wanted to buy the film rights to Radclyffe Hall’s controversial novel The Well of Loneliness. “Sir, you can’t film that,” a studio adviser said, “it’s about Lesbians!” Goldwyn replied, “All right, where they got Lesbians, we’ll use Austrians.”
In the 1950’s and 60’s same sex love was never shown in motion pictures or publically acknowledged without direst consequences. Movie stars, sport athletes and the common person lacked the freedom to publically acknowledge their true sexuality or their love for someone of the same sex. The Fourth of July celebrates the 1776 signing of a draft of the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson. It declared, “These truths are self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Sadly those rights of liberty and equality then and for many years to come weren’t accessible to black African Americans, women of any color or anyone whose birth sexual orientation wasn’t heterosexual. Those freedoms declared so beautifully in 1776 were more a dream than a reality.
Now 238 years later, this July 4th celebrates an evolving realization of that dream of liberty for all that includes the unalienable right to love whomever you chose, which is the heart of the on-going controversy of same-sex marriage. A wedding is first of all a joyous announcement to the community of a loving relationship of two persons as well as the ritual of their marital union. In the past ten years a radical cultural shift has occurred in America regarding sexuality and marriage. Now 19 states and the District of Columbia allow same sex marriage. Only 30% of Americans supported gay marriage in 2004, now ten years later it is 51% and growing. Today Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Lutherans allow gay clergy! How have such radical cultural changes been possible in only ten years?
A possibility is the Hundredth Monkey theory. A study was made of a group of small islands near Japan when a few monkeys began washing their potatoes before eating them. Soon younger monkeys quickly adopted this behavior causing unrest among the old monkeys who grew agitated. In time, more and more monkeys began washing their potatoes, until the “hundredth monkey” did, reaching a critical level in collective acceptance. Then not only all the monkeys on that island, but all monkeys on the other unconnected islands began washing their potatoes!
Instead of with fireworks, celebrate this July 4th with a fiery patriot determination to further the fulfillment of that glorious 1776 dream of freedom. Remembering the Hundredth Monkey, pledge in your thoughts and deeds to grant full equality to others, regardless of their race, religion, color or sexual orientation.