As I watched the council deliberating the non-discrimination resolution on the night of Feb. 20, I struggled to understand the Biblical arguments offered by our Fundamental Christian neighbors. But after the resolution was passed, my thoughts turned to one of my favorite scriptures, Genesis 32: 24-31: "Jacob was left alone... and a man wrestles with him until daybreak... when the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket... but Jacob said, I will not let you go, unless you bless me... and the man said, you shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans and have prevailed... (and when the man would not tell Jacob his name)... he blessed him... (and Jacob said) I have seen God face to face and yet my life is preserved."
For me, the most important message in this story is about the importance of the struggle. When humans struggle with deeply held beliefs and teachings, it is a testament to all the wonderful qualities which make up our humanness – intelligence, compassion, creativity, common sense and self-awareness. Not only was the vote in favor of the resolution important to the growth and flourishing of our collective spirit, it was a vital acknowledgement of the struggle in which our LGBTQ friends and family have engaged all their lives.
I was moved to tears by the honesty, deep sincerity and heartfelt beliefs expressed by all the council members; and my faith in the democratic process was revitalized – something, that as a loyal citizen, has been battered and bruised by the assault on our democracy from internal and external forces this past year.
As humans, our journey on the path of grace and compassion must challenge us because nothing worthwhile comes without struggle. Thank you council members for affirming the best in what it means to be human. I have faith this vote will not ever be regretted because when you put goodness into this world, it is behavior pleasing to God – however you conceive God to be.