I hold these truths to be self-evident: that only when girls and women and LGBTQ people have equal inalienable rights will humanity have equanimity, joy & peace, in our hearts and in the world.
Religious historian Elaine Pagels spoke at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California on January 12, 2020. I went to meet her there because while I was making my new record, words from the Gospel of Thomas kept coming into my mind. I first read these words in Pagels’ book The Gnostic Gospels but the words were written in approximately 60 AD.
Although I grew up in suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, I now live in Santa Monica, California, which is named after the Catholic Saint Monica. She is the patron saint of abuse victims. St. Monica stayed in an abusive marriage and counseled other women to do the same. I filmed my music video for “Who Made It Be That Way” at the church and surrounding neighborhoods because the song shines light on how church, community and culture work together, for better or worse.
the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.
Major religions and societies the world over still do not equally value girls and women, evident in facts from Malala getting shot in the face on a bus for advocating for girls’ education, to the Equal Rights Amendment expiring without ratification in the United States as reported in the news this past week. And homosexuality, referred to as an “abomination” in the Bible, was likely called that because it does not result in procreation, thereby failing in the duty to “be fruitful and multiply.” (See Elaine Pagels’ newest book, Why Religion?)
mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.
I (like many other people) know instinctively, and have from a young age, that balance in this world can only come by equally valuing girls and women, and the whole of human sexuality. Our emotional realities and life experiences should never be denied, silenced or discounted. Making room for our deepest truths will restore the world to a harmony it cannot otherwise know. These are the missing pieces, broken off through age-old misunderstandings. And so, it bears repeating: only when girls and women and LGBTQ people have equal inalienable rights will humanity have equanimity, joy & peace, in our hearts and in the world.