rome-street-01.jpg

first light
bird-song quiet, on
stony boulevards
Roma

first full day
9,000 kilometers from
mundane, work-a-day
safety’s precinct

here, chock-a-block
chronicle upon saga
via emperor or tyrant
aside the holy see

silent, stony narrative
speaks beneath foot
behind glass, illuminating
brutality of faith

photo and poem (c) by DC Lessoway

If you must
perpetuate narrow constraints of:
sexual preference
manner of dress
manner of worship
where and how to live
whole or partial limbed
whole or partial mental abilities

if you must
begin a sentence with:
“I’m not a racist but…”

if you must
use the third person plural
“they” when speaking
of a singular act or person

if you must
believe bad people
are the majority
rather than this clear truth
they are a tiny percentage

If you must
teach your children
to fear
to hate
to judge
to reject

if you must

then

please find another friend
please go your own way
as I will mine

because while

my path, not perfect
is rough, filled with potholes
such as life will be

without such hate
without such exclusion
such constraints

my life
is freer
is engaging, alive
with more smiles
more compassion
more love
more life!

© by DC Lessoway

People have books and the words written therein and call it faith. I get that, more power to you.

But oh so many follow their book blindly, and some even go further and create this senseless hate for anyone who does not follow their line. This, I don’t get.

How about stepping away to think for yourself, look into your heart, not at the crutch of words. If that little voice still tells you to spout hate, PLEASE get some therapy.

But more likely, if you really listen, that little voice will say words like, “accept” and “inclusion” and “love” and “peace”.

Share the love…

I love a good debate.  I also love watching BBCs Intelligence Squared – the World of Debate, when I get a chance.  Then yesterday, I saw a tweet from @simonpegg that had a very impassioned and eloquent speech of @StephenFry from October 2009 in a debate titled: The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world.  A subject near to my heart.

Please go to this link and watch Mr. Fry first: Dailymotion – The Intelligence² Debate – Stephen Fry (Unedited) http://t.co/KvSpe6n via @Dailymotion

Before I go further, I, like Mr. Fry noted, do not, in any way or form wish to take anything from the person who believes in his or her faith whether it be Catholicism, Judaism, Muslim, Buddhism, Druidism or any of the myriad of secular and non-secular philosophies.  I would fight to the death to defend a persons right to his or her beliefs.  Whether we believe it is right or wrong, is none of our business!  I am not here to force my will or opinion on anyone else.  Only to stem open and I hope respectful debate.

I was born, baptized and raised in the Roman Catholic faith and imbued into my brain, my heart, my bones.  No amount of atheistic thought, debate or understanding could wedge those deep-seated and what I believe is guilt-inducing nonetheless systematic brain-washing out of my noggin.

Unfortunately for me.  I say this because I wish I would have been born with a wider field of beliefs.  Needless to say I was born in a small, close-minded town with little choices other than a form of Catholicism.  I’m sure there were pockets of other faiths, but the glaring light of Catholicism white washed all else.  It took a move to Vancouver, a coastal location brimming with humanity that pried open my mind to that wide-world of convictions.

In this present day I find myself more of a non-practicing Buddhist.  As I noted above, I have no qualms with anyone of deep faith.  Of any faith.  However, when a faith draws a line in the sand and says that if you are not on their side, you are the enemy.  This to me is the defining form of hate.

Hate.  That is a whole other battle.  I’ve been striving to eradicate from my mind and vocabulary this horrific word.  For instance I would try to say, “I don’t care for that ice cream”, rather than “I hate that ice cream.”  I cringe when I catch myself saying this nevertheless when I hear it from others.  How many lives have been lost due to the overwhelming influence of hate?

I have come to understand that most faiths, at their most base level, have a fundamental doctrine that teaches love, understanding, and caring for your fellow human.  And yet, it is our human instinct to draw from these words our own view and definition of how to set it into practice.  Most clearly it is far too often such a beautiful work of humanity is debased and twisted to create such deep-seated hate and anger for anyone not toeing their line of beliefs.  And thus while humanity has such a vast capacity for love and compassion, it also has an enormous and grotesque culpability in serving up fear and hate in all shapes and forms.  Deeply into those masks we must inquire.  Those masks worn by those who shovel out what they believe you should follow.  Why are so many following these fear mongering proponents of hate, but again it is up to each of us to decide whether what we hear, see, feel and believe is right for ourselves.  I can only shake my head and hope that most will just look inside, to their own truths, and find not hate, anger, but love, hope, compassion.  How magnificently beautiful and safe the world would be.

Indeed.