Civil rights is the defining issue of our age. My grandparents were born into a generation that for the first time had never lived in a country where women could not vote. Growing up in Atlanta in the 50’s and 60’s, racial equality shaped my parents worldview. My generation is fighting for civil rights still: the right to marry and the right to practice our faith.
In my lifetime the Helms Amendment has died, the pentacle has appeared on the gravestones of the fallen in Arlington cemetery, several states have granted legal status to same-sex marriage and Pagans have participated in the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Yet there is more to do. Prisoners still lack access to clergy of their faith and suffer abuse at the hands of those who demean our ways. Many people still lack the right to marry. Here in the state of Georgia you can be fired or denied housing or services for being Pagan or gay or old or fat without any legal recourse.
Every day there is a new story to dishearten me. Yet I have found great consolation in The Charge of the Goddess. As a Pagan I have no “scripture” but The Charge is the closest thing I have to that sort of external, written authority. That sort of “Divine Promise” or spiritual reassurance.
Let Her worship be within the heart that rejoiceth; for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals.
All acts of love. ALL acts of love. There is no qualifier given. No preference for heterosexual love, for platonic love, for familial affection. There is no guide as to depth or length or intensity. ALL acts of LOVE. The only requirement is action.
Acting out of love, displaying love and communicating love are all ways of honoring the Goddess of Wicca/Witchcraft. When I hug a friend, that is a ritual in her honor. When When I stand for another’s right to love, that is a ritual in her honor. When I hold open a door for someone elderly or disabled, that is a ritual in her honor. The love of beauty, of honor, of justice, of chocolate and of sunflowers are all rituals that honor the Goddess.
That’s something I think is key to remember as we continue to struggle for civil rights. We do this out of love, and our love is a ritual, an offering and a blessing. For the Goddess tells me so. Though others may try to take the moral high ground, they will fail because they lack love. Allah, Jesus, Yahweh, Buddha and all the great sages have instructed us to love. Pagans are no different, except that we refuse to qualify what is acceptable love. Love that does no harm is a blessing. It is a ritual.
As a Wiccan it is the foundation of my religion. Where loves lives I worship. I connect to all that which is Divine. It is Love that nourishes my Will and fuels my magic. Where there is no love, there is barrenness and I refuse to walk in the dry, arid, dead homes of hatred, cruelty and dishonor. I am human, I will make mistakes, but there is no quota set on our love. To love is to act, to act on love is to honor my Gods and to honor my Gods is to seek justice, honor and liberty. To find the balance and harmony in life.
So why does a straight woman support same-sex marriage? Because ALL acts of LOVE are her rituals. To outlaw expressions of consensual love is to outlaw my religion, and I will not be outlawed. Will you?