Why We Need A God/dess Who Does Not Look Like Us

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[Image: Dylan Chenfeld, a Jewish atheist, who has pased posters saying “I Met God, She’s Black” all over Manhattan.]

A version of this speech was first given on July 12, 2016 at First Unitarian Church of Hobart, Indiana, during a vigil for the victims of the Orlando massacre.

My heart aches for the families of those the 49 slain in Orlando and for LGBT people everywhere who live in fear of becoming the next victims of homophobic hatred. And my heart aches for the families of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling and for people of color everywhere who live in fear of becoming the next victims of racist hatred. My thoughts today, though, are for the rest of us, those like me — male, white, and heterosexual — the privileged ones who don’t have to live in fear every day.

I believe the religious challenge of our day is to see the divine all around us, in the natural world, in all living things, in ourselves, in our own bodies … and in each other, in one another’s bodies: male bodies and female bodies, Black bodies and white bodies and brown bodies, queer bodies, gay bodies and straight bodies, transgendered bodies and cis-gendered bodies.

For those of us who speak the language of divinity, all of these are divine, all of these are in some way God or Goddess. Each and every one of us, from our children whom we embrace to the strangers whose gaze we avoid to those whom we mock for their difference — all of these are God, all of these are Goddess. From the able-bodied to the disabled, from the dark skinned to the fair skinned and all the myriad shades and hues in between, from the homosexual, gay, lesbian, and queer to the heterosexual and all the many varieties of sexuality in between, from the cis-gendered to the transgendered, and all the many ways in which we all embrace or reject our the gender we were assigned at birth. All of these are Goddess. All of these are God. …

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