Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

coffee and chocolate and cream and…multiculturalism?

coffee mugI’m drinking what America should BE right now (bear with me: it’s metaphor time). Coffee from Africa, rich & fragrant. Chocolate from South America. Cinnamon from Saigon, cayenne pepper from who knows where, and milk from an organic farm coop of many American states. In a bee mug (from my BFF!). With a silver spoon from my mother’s pattern.

Well, maybe the silver spoon is a bit much. :)


But the coffee/chocolate/pepper/ cream & cinnamon blend is great. And if cuisine may serve as a metaphor (and of course it can!), each flavour is distinct. None trumps the other, and each contribute to a far more pleasing whole than any single element. Kind of like the ideal America.

Now I realise: not everyone likes coffee. Or cinnamon. Or even chocolate (crazy, but true). So this isn’t a metaphor that will work for everyone. (And truth be told? My husband insists my metaphors almost never work for him…) But it works for me.

Because I am heartily sick of people who believe that someone else multuralismbeing accepted into the social contract somehow diminishes their own rights. If my niece has the legal right to marry her girlfriend, that in no way impinges on your religion, or your own rights.  Au contraire.


YOU insisting my niece may NOT marry her beloved, because it goes against YOUR religion, impinges on MY rights. To practice my own religion, which is based in love NOT simply “for sinners, not sin.” I don’t believe — nor do my  spiritual teachers — that same sex marriage is sinful. Or that gays are sinners. So putting a law into effect that prohibits my niece (and many dear friends)  from marrying squelches my religious rights. Truth.

And bashing on Muslims also goes against my religious beliefs, just FYI, which are deeply grounded in acceptance of ALL people’s faiths. Even faiths that practice hateful behaviours. Even having no faith at ALL. As long as those hateful behaviours or lack of beliefs don’t damage anyone else.


freedom of beliefAnti-gay Christians have the rights to their own fears & beliefs. They do NOT have the right to put those in to law, when it contradicts the religious rights of the rest of us. And the civil rights of gay or black or brown or ‘other’ Americans.

I don’t hear this argument very often, but it’s a critically important one for me. I grew up in a military family. Many of my family fought for this country. Some suffered great trauma: grievous wounds, PTSD, other injuries visible and not. We just inducted my father into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame two months ago. And I’m here to tell you: my father was not homophobic. He had his flaws, but that wasn’t one of them. It’s their own business, I can hear Daddy saying, with a shrug.


I also wonder why, when you Google ‘multiculturalism images’ there aren’t any images that include acceptance of gender. Not even in the Wordles… What’s up with that? I’m not saying pander to stereotypes, but surely, in a creative America, there could be some way to include not only religions & races, but gender & sexual identity?


So as I sip my incredibly yummy multicultural mocha, I’m just putting this out there: what if the lip service we pay to America being a land of opportunity and freedom for all were TRUE? What if we just let folks do their own thing, as long as it didn’t hurt anyone else? What if we all tried to just get along? It might end up being as wonderful as chocolate and coffee and cinnamon and cream… Oh wow!

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