Warning: This post is not meant to be taken completely seriously. Except when it is. Also, I'm a complete ass.
In my last blog post regarding my strong feelings about FUM's policies regarding homosexuality, I was confronted with the interesting phenomenon of those who share my view that it is absolutely wrong to deny equality to all people but who also strongly oppose schism with FUM. Now, these are people I happen to think are quite amazing people. These are people who long ago proved themselves to me to be of the highest honor and most uncompromising loving nature. So as argumentative as I am, I do not feel inclined to cast their words aside or to dismiss them lightly. I begin to wonder why I cannot find myself in accord with these good people with whom I am almost always in agreement. A curious thing. Why don't I agree? And by "why" I don't mean "What is wrong with them or their arguments?" or even "What is wrong with me and my arguments?" but "What does this expose about my personality and motivations that may deserve my contemplation?"
Perhaps it will be helpful for me to make a list of that which I know (or think I know) about myself within the context of this situation:
1. I am raised from early childhood to be an advocate for the rights of all persons including GLBT people.
2. My family has a large number of people who fit into this category.
3. I give the highest priority to social and environmental justice. Committment to these defines my honor.
4. My success as a human being is directly related to my ability to stand firm by my principles in the face of opposition.
5. As far as possible, it has been my policy to boycott, denounce, or otherwise protest those organizations that have stubbornly clung to policies that I feel have no honor.
6. I believe that I dishonor myself and shame my family if I fail to maintain committment to #3 through my practice outlined in #5.
7. I believe it is sinful to choose personal happiness, comfort, or popularity above one's principles.
On the other hand:
A. I am fearful of war and have no confidence in our government's ability to keep us out of it.
B. I do not want my children to be a party to war and I love my children more than my principles.
C. I cannot move to Canada because I do not have enough money.
D. I can be a Quaker and raise my children in a community that is historically acknowledged as a pacifist organization.
E. Unitarian Universalists and Neo-Pagan communities annoy me. (Sorry. But there it is.) Quaker communities also annoy me but less so. (Lower Birkenstock to white sock ratio).
F. I agree with every testimony liberal Friends share both in their simplistic manifestation as "S.P.I.C.E." and I also identify with and share an interest in conversations about how to understand these testimonies in a manner that is more transcendent, more demanding, more challenging, more broad, etc. (I'm always looking for ways to challenge myself to a more demanding and austere life.)
G. I am lonesome for community with people who share my spiritual orientation, philosophical tendencies, and principles who have the power to uphold me, correct me, sustain me, and nurture me. I also have to believe they have to have the moral authority to do so.
H. I am hungry for a community of people who both want and need my skills and offerings.
I. I want my children to benefit from a spiritual community and I don't want them to be as lonely as I have been since I lost my religious community as a young adult.
Also to be considered:
a) I don't feel any community at all with FUM. Not even a little.
b) I'm not sure why I would.
c) unless I spent more time at meetings beyond the local level where everyone I know is either non-Christian or nominally Christian.
d) but I can't go to meetings because I can't afford them.
e) because Quakers are unconsciously classist.
f) but that's another post.
g)) So it doesn't feel like schism when I resist community with people who could even entertain a policy specifically targeting homosexuality any more than it feels like schism when I resist community with the fundamentalist folks down the street
h)who are crazy.
i) And I don't mean to say that I resist greater community or that I fail to care for them as people since, as it turns out, a good portion of my extended family, almost my entire beloved village and region are conservatives and I love them to pieces. Also my best friend since childhood goes to that crazy church and talks about possessions, Armegeddon, and biblical literalism and I respect and love her.
j) but holy shit.
k) and that's pretty much what I feel about FUM's policies and christology. Wow. So not what I believe.
I can certainly be in love with conservatives. I can love them and eat with them and cry and laugh and maintain loyalty to them...as individuals. But I cannot maintain affiliation with them. There seems to me to be a very clear difference between loving individuals with whom I disagree on important matters and belonging to and financially supporting the organizations to which they belong. Organizations have powers that individuals do not have. One chooses one's political, religious and social affiliations carefully. One does not join organizations who make public statements that are directly opposed to one's most cherished values.
Now this is a question that comes out of innocence and newness not out of crankiness and bitchiness: Is it possible that my reaction to FUM is different than other liberals within the Quaker fold because I am so new? I honestly did not know that NY had affiliations with a religious organization that had anti-gay language. Frankly, having grown up in the United Church of Christ, when I heard about FUM's policy I was blown away and I was enraged. I felt betrayed by liberal Friends. I felt that there had been a bait and switch. Here I thought I was joining with a group of people about whom I could feel trust and pride and who had the moral authority to lead me and my family and then I hear about this policy which shows an utter and reprehensible lack of love. When I speak to my liberal parents about my affiliation with Friends, it shames me to have to include information about FUM's policies and that NY has dual affiliation. It feels worse than that time I had to walk into a Walmart with my fundamentalist friend for her to buy a meat product and baby formula. God, how dirty that made me feel.
So I have not pursued membership because I am not clear that I want my name associated with FUM. It would shame me and it would shame my family and it would undermine my principles.
So what will I do for my children? I don't have enough money to get to Canada.