When we’re free to love anyone we choose/When this world’s big enough for all different views/When we can worship from our own kind of pew/Then we shall be free. ~ Garth Brooks
Having freedom is a top priority for me. Guess what? I’m pretty sure that’s the same for most people. People from all walks of life including the ones that don’t have my beliefs want to feel free to live and love as they wish. How do we create this freedom for all when people are so called, “different”? Are you able to accept the differences in others? In many ways, this is a complex issue yet simple.
Our friends from the LGBTQ+ community struggle, in many ways, to find the same freedom that I and maybe you enjoy. Here’s the story from Readers Digest behind the Garth Brooks quote I used at the beginning of this musing.
Yes, pro-LGBTQ+ quotes can even appear in the lyrics of a country song. Garth Brooks, whose late sister Betsy Smittle was a lesbian, sang these lines in the 1992 single “We Shall Be Free,” which he cowrote with Stephanie Davis. Although the song was banned by many country music radio stations for its progressive, pro-gay point of view and failed to reach the Top 10, the video still won Video of the Year at the 1993 Academy of Country Music Awards.
How much have we changed in the past 30 years in how we view and relate to LGBTQ+ people? Last week, I was playing golf with my friend Pat. We were paired up with a couple of guys from Fort Collins. Sometime early in the round, one of the guys went on a tirade about how LGBTQ people were ruining the world. I listened to him and after he was done, I simply said, “I guess I just want everyone in the world to have the same rights you and I have to be who we are. It’s pretty simple.” Needless to say, he didn’t have anything else to say about the subject. I don’t believe I changed his mind, but I do believe I supplied him with something to think about. After all, there was no way to get mad at me and he clearly wanted to be mad at something.
Is this all as easy as the golden rule? I think so! There’s only one way to find out. Try it out. Share this article with a friend or two and get their opinion. Let me know how it works out!
Jim Babcock, RScP