Love is Love and the Politics of Recognition

Over the past few days, my Facebook newsfeed has been bittersweet. On the one hand, we celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Now queer people of any identity can marry their partner. On the other hand, we mourn the life and service of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine in the AME Massacre in Charleston, SC. He was a faithful Christian and representative, whose life matters.

This distinction heightens my perception of the politics of recognition. 

transheart

The Supreme Court recognizes same-sex marriage as lawful in the US. These couples, theoretically, legally have a say. They can visit their partners in hospitals more freely than before. Queer immigrants across the States can marry, gaining citizenship. Same-sex couples can also be insured on each other’s health insurance.

And I certainly agree with caleb’s sentiments:

We should rejoice in this victory!

Yet, keeping in mind:

  • in 28 States one’s employer can fire one on grounds of orientation.
  • this does not change the hearts and minds of people who oppose and bully queer persons.
  • abuse and murders of Trans Women of Color are still largely ignored by media.
  • this does not magically give homeless queer youth a home to go back to.

While researching these hard realities, I listened to on repeat, Angel Haze’s version of ‘Same Love’:

Here’s a message to the people who just don’t get it
Love is love, there is no difference
Not a medication to fix it, there is no prescription
No rehab to visit, it is not an addiction
It’s love and it’s selfless
It’s yours and everybody else’s
So don’t badger and abuse the solemnly defenseless
See us as yourself, there’s no equality in difference
Until we all get it, we’ll be drowning in the same blood
Despite orientation, we all feel the same love
We’ll be drowning in the same blood
Despite orientation, we all feel the same love

As queer persons are being recognized under the law, black and brown persons who are technically recognized “under the law” are continually treated as second-class citizens. Rampant racist behavior still persists from police officers and white men who are afraid of losing their white supremacist culture and way of being in the world. So I ponder,

When will the Supreme Court let black and brown lives matter?

How soon will it be until the prison industrial complex dissolves? 

Where is the guillotine of justice to destroy white supremacy? 

Those in the AME massacre were killed in the name of white supremacy and racism. Yet, they are resurrected in those fighting against racial inequality. They are seen at bible studies and prayer groups. And lest we forget, the bible was written by people of color!

Remember their names

We should not hold our breath waiting for the US government to end white supremacy. We should not wait for police forces to treat black and brown bodies with respect and decency. We need to celebrate the victory for queer persons in the US and grieve over our steeped racism. #allblacklivesmatter

Queering the Stations of the Cross(es): Jesus dies on the cross

(Guest post by asescalante)

“Whither is God?” he cried; “I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. – Friedrich Nietzsche 

Queering the Stations of the Cross(es): The body of Jesus is placed in the arms of his mother

The body of Jesus is placed in the arms of his mother

 Stabat Mater

Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep
Whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that mother’s pain untold?

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender Child
All with bloody scourges rent.

Queering the Stations of the Cross(es): Jesus is nailed to the cross

 

In February, the news surfaced that the CEO of American Title Services committed suicide using a nail gun.

A coroner’s spokeswoman Thursday said Talley was found in his garage by a family member who called authorities. They said Talley died from seven or eight self-inflicted wounds from a nail gun fired into his torso and head.

So horrific and disturbing. Jesus agonized on the cross for hours while today it takes seconds.

These nails pierce our world with violence, hatred, and pain.

These nails perpetuate white supremacy.

These nails must be melted down, it’s already too late.

Queering the Stations of the Cross(es): Jesus is stripped of his garments

Jesus is stripped of his garments

Now the boys and the maidens brought wood and hay to burn Thecla: and when she was brought in naked, the governor wept and marvelled at the power that was in her. And they laid the wood, and the executioner bade her mount upon the pyre: and she, making the sign of the cross, went up upon the wood. And they lit it, and though a great fire blazed forth, the fire took no hold on her; for God had compassion on her, and caused a sound under the earth, and a cloud overshadowed her above, full of rain and hail, and all the vessel of it was poured out so that many were in peril of death, and the fire was quenched, and Thecla was preserved. – Acts of Thecla and Paul 2:22

 

Queering the Stations of the Cross(es): Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Jesus tells the women not to weep for him, but for themselves and their children.Weeping is a way of resistance. Empires cannot handle chaos, emotion, or uncontrollability. The powers-that-be need the world to be dry-eyed, controllable, and at an Imperial peace. These women’s tears started the revolution. Their tears were sown into the hearts of the early followers and created a movement.

“Woman, Why Are You Weeping” by Jane Kenyon

They have taken away my Lord, a person
whose life I held inside me. I saw him
heal, and teach, and eat among sinners.
I saw him break the sabbath to make a higher
sabbath. I saw him lose his temper.

Queering the Stations of the Cross(es): A woman wipes the face of Jesus

A woman wipes the face of Jesus

Wiping Jesus’s face on his way to death is seen as an act of charity, hinting at justice, a justice-to-come. In the Catholic tradition, the woman’s named Veronica, which in Greek means “true image.” A true image of God touches a true image of God.

A Prayer:

Wounded God, Helpless Savior,
Our readied hands seek to help. Our palms are wide open.Help us to discern how to bring about the kin-dom of misfits and no-bodies. Guide us in empathy toward the battered, bruised, hurt, broken, and hated. Push us in the direction of justice beyond charity. Amen.

Queering the Stations of the Cross(es): The cross is laid on Simon of Cyrene

The cross is laid on Simon of Cyrene

in the gospels, we already met a simon, simon peter.

he was foolish, but brave.

the one who made the confession that jesus was the messiah (matthew 16:16).

now that jesus bears the cross, he is found nowhere near: a run away.

a new simon was found, one who was trustworthy and strong, simon of cyrene.

where’s the in-between simon?

the simon, like me, who you can tell silly secrets to without shame.

where’s the in-between simon who needs some friends to help carry the cross with her/him.

where am i in the story?

 

Queering the Stations of the Cross(es): Jesus falls thrice times

(Guest post by asescalante)

Jesus falls the third time

Like the many before him who would fall, and the many after who will fall, Jesus falls. Under the weight of that which will eventually kill him he falls; this weight is not simply the physical burden of wooden beam(s), but is the weight of the Empire that would find the innocent guilty, the weight of your closest friends abandoning you in your time of need, the weight of public humiliation—the weight under which Jesus falls is the weight of physical, societal, psychological, emotional pain.

The failure of Jesus is the impossibility of his message: love your enemies; the kin-dom of God is within you; who is my mother? Paradoxical, confusing, and secretive, that which Jesus taught and lived was a message that’s whole intention was the subverting of that same weight that would later crush him.

May we fall; may we fail.