May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! Today and always, I am so grateful for my mother's wisdom and love—for all that she has taught me, and for the example she has set throughout my life. Below, two pieces I've written on her influence (the second is adapted from Faitheist).

Thought Catalog, "Tolerance Begins at Home"

My mom is almost never embarrassed to speak her mind. But she also makes an effort not to be mean, abrasive, or hurtful to others in doing so. She taught me to be strong, but she also showed me how to be kind. Surveying the innumerable and frequently volatile disagreements and conflicts over the veracity of religious claims in the world today, I think we could all stand to follow her lead a bit more often.

(Click here to read it in full.)

The Advocate, "Saved By Grace"

The next day, she took me to meet with a Christian minister who told me that God loves all people, queer and straight, and that I didn’t need to change. This moment changed my life forever, and set me on the course toward the work that I do now as an atheist-interfaith activist. My experiences of feeling isolated and misunderstood inform my conviction that it is imperative to work for a world where people of all sexual orientations, and all different faiths and beliefs, understand one another better — a society where all people can live openly and be who they are without fear.

But before we can reach out and try to build understanding and love across lines of religious difference, we must first love ourselves. I would never have known this unless my mother had saved me, loving me when I did not love myself. Her love was a gift, given at the moment I needed it most — and I intend to pass it on.

(Click here to read it in full.)