Friday, July 12, 2024
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How deep is your love?

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“How deep is your love? I really mean to learn, ‘Cause we're living in a world of fools, Breaking us down when they all should let us be, We belong to you and me.” – Bee Gees

As June, the month that celebrates Pride for LGBTQ+ Americans, comes to an end, we have seen many debate what love is real, just, or even moral. Some have even questioned the flags that are flown in solidarity.

Pride took its first step in the pursuit of equality more than 59 years ago when a group of gay activists decided not to march on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, but to celebrate. They realized that the best way to demonstrate for dual rights was to show that we are all the same – quite simply, people who want to live, work, contribute, and love as they were born to do.

It was not a matter of getting something from someone else, but rather to be acknowledged as a human being who deserved no more or no less than anyone else.

In those recognizable words from the Bee Gees’, “How Deep is Your Love?” why would some fools think they have any say about someone else’s love? We are beholden to the ones we love, not the presumptions of anyone else.

Pride Month comes to a close just as all of us in the United States are preparing to celebrate a concept our nation supposedly loves – liberty. The 4th of July is another commemoration of the quest for freedom from persecution, judgment, and tyranny.

The Founders were certainly not without fault in their perception of who was considered human, but they were very clear on the parameters of how we were to judge each other.

Thomas Jefferson went as far to say, “It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others.” Even John Adams, perhaps the most openly religious among the Founders, was clear to distinguish the importance of focusing on one’s own actions with regard to morality and not a perception of someone else’s, hence the clear separation of church and state. We are better served and only capable of finding ways to improve ourselves rather than claiming superiority over others.

Over the past hundreds and thousands of years, the human race slowly came to realize that the world is something far beyond what we can conceive. That realization led us to develop much more quickly as we became more open to learn … and to expect more from our individual lives.

It was science that offered the intellectual basis for early thinkers in political and individual liberty. John Locke hung out with Isaac Newton. They may have looked at different aspects of the physical world but both understood that believing what someone told them was not enough.

This questioning from science became a commitment to a wider social contract and human rights. It also became an aversion to the overreach of those who claimed to have a say over other’s lives.

Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson are well-known science geeks who used learning as justification for rebellion. George Washington and Thomas Paine, who like Adams, spoke often of their faith, spent endless evenings challenging each other to investigate and expand their knowledge, not limit it based on religious awareness at the time.

Perhaps as we consider our role in this country’s future and how we can contribute to the sustained liberty and justice for all, we can look to the definition of liberty from the late 1700s.

To quote Paine: “Liberty is the power to do everything that does not interfere with the rights of others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every individual has no limits save those that assure to other members of society the enjoyment of the same rights.”

Or as the Bee Gees said, no one needs to be “breaking us down, when they all should let us be.”

Bee Gees

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