I’ve been lucky in the past week to have rediscovered an old friend, one of my best friends from first through third grade. She now lives in Massachussetts with her husband, where they spend huge amounts of time organizing and writing letters and garnering support for MassEquality. We grew up in an extremely conservative town, her family is very Catholic, and her parents are still active in the Republican party, so I was pleased and surprised by this turn of events.

And today I read this letter from a mother in Massachussetts, and I’m overwhelmed by the simple beauty of her statement; “God does not give inferior gifts.”

Unfortunately, all of the religious right-wingers who shout their hatred from every platform they can find (*cough* Fox News *cough*) do their best to drown out these sweeter voices of love and welcome. And these are the voices that need most to be getting public recognition. So much of the ammunition against the queer community is based, falsely, on “religious” values and “morality,” and there’s a huge segment of the American population that believes every word. Our country was settled by (among others) religious misfits looking for a place where they could be free to worship; for better or for worse, they got it, and some of their descendents are doing their best to inflict themselves on the rest of us.

As someone who is pretty immersed in synagogue life, it bothers me that I’ve become automatically suspicious of people who I assume have right-wing politics because they are “religious.” It’s a prejudice I’d like to eradicate, but it’s difficult without constant reminders that some people’s beliefs actually do start with the precept that everyone is holy. I’ll be sending my thanks and love and appreciation to Dorothy Donahue and my friend Liz in Massachussetts, and I’ll be listening for the voices like theirs when they appear.

(for Ruchel Zisl)