Andy’s Flaming Chalice – June 2012

June greetings! It is the Northern Solstice on June 20th, and we enjoy noting it as the longest day of the year. Whose heart hasn’t cheered at the thought of darkness at bay, then saddened a bit to know the days already grow shorter? The psychosocial difference between darkness and light is perhaps less for us than any of our forbears, for we live in a conveniently, near-omnipresently well-lighted time and nation. Indeed, in urban living it can be the darkness that is hard to come by and precious, especially if one craves a starry sky. Yet our deepest cultural bones understand that daylight nourishes and protects us and we look forward to its maximum.

June is also the month most preferred for weddings, and this traces back to Juno, the goddess/patron of marriage and newlyweds. It is lucky to marry in “her” month; yet how many June marriers give Juno a passing thought? Darned few, of course, but the connection remains vibrant: those cultural bones again.

June is LGBTQ Pride Month, too. In light of President Obama’s recent support for marriage equality, I’m guessing it will be especially positive. I sharply disagree with people who believe marriage is solely a sacrament between a man and a woman. Still, are these folks listening to their cultural bones? It’s easiest to think that they’re having their prejudices cynically manipulated for someone’s political gain, but who am I to say their bones are not speaking to them? Do the “bones” get it wrong sometimes? Maybe they do. When others voice ideas that seem parochial or even repugnant to me, ought I to feel compassion for their own relation to personal moral imperatives, if those imperatives are manifestly inconsistent with my more liberal human and Unitarian Universalist social principles?

To stir the pot a bit more: Writer and advice columnist Dan Savage penned a 1999 article I read today, saying that it is/was time to move past gay pride, that pride is essentially a misleading and unsupported view of what it “means” to be LGBTQ. Says he, “being gay or lesbian is not–repeat, not–an accomplishment, and it’s nothing anyone really has a right to take pride in. What matters is how a person is gay, not that a person is gay[….] All gays and lesbians do not agree with each other, do not like each other, and do not look out for each other…. Gay isn’t good–and it isn’t bad. Gay just is.” Savage’s notion would apply to other largely immutable traits like skin color or gender, too. Is there still a place for “pride?” What do YOU think?