Monday, October 5, 2009

Guest Post: Shabbat Shalom and Hag Sameach from Maine!

Grounded in her Judaism, Kerry Chaplin is California Faith for Equality’s (CFE’s) Interfaith Organizing Director and has helped to grow CFE from a staff of one to a staff of five, and from a network of 600 to a coalition of 6,000 diverse faith leaders and faith communities from across California. Kerry holds both a B.A. in Religious Studies and an M.A. in NonProfit Management from Washington University in St. Louis, lives in West Hollywood, and plays wing for her Santa Monica Women’s Rugby Club.

Currently, CFE is supporting the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry by encouraging awareness within California’s faith communities of Maine’s current marriage landscape and by sharing its Interfaith Organizing Director, Kerry Chaplin, for one week. Kerry is helping to organize major marches and interfaith events in Portland and Bangor to make visible clergy and lay people of faith who are standing against discrimination in Maine.

This was originally posted on CFE's blog Friday, October 2nd:

Shabbat shalom and hag sameach from Maine!

We are entering the Jewish holiday, Sukkot, the Festival of Booths, during which Jews traditionally take our meals, even sleep, in temporary shelters reminiscent of the transitory wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.
On Sukkot, it is traditional to read Psalm 27:
  • 11 Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
  • 12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.
  • 13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
While reading this passage at Temple Beth El in Portland this evening, I thought of our oppressors, those who hold us LGBTI people and allies down, especially those who are currently doing so in Maine. In the Portland Press Herald this morning, Bill Nemitz described a marked difference between the Yes on 1 campaign and the No on 1 campaign: while the Yes campaign puts forth the same 4 spokespeople, uses website images from online stock photo galleries, and ultimately lacks realness, the No on 1 campaign speaks in diverse voices, uses photos of real Mainers on its website, and thrives on the authentic drive of Mainers, not agendas.

Even in the two days since I arrived in Maine, it is clear that our oppressors are using the same language to bear false witness against us. The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in Maine is standing for what is just and fair, led by that which is Holy on a path toward goodness.

On this Sukkot, let us all have the courage to be led to goodness in the face of our oppressors.

shabbat shalom and hag sameach,

Kerry Chaplin

Keep checking on CFE's blog for more updates on CFE's involvement in Maine's struggle to keep marriage equality legal! Get involved at NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality.

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