I can remember, as a child attending a Southern Baptist church, talk of something referenced in Exodus, where God said he would deliver his people from the Egyptians “to bring them out of that land into a good and spacious land, into a land that floweth with milk and honey.” This was powerful imagery for a young boy, especially when it was juxtaposed every other week with sermons about hellfire and brimstone.
For some reason, the vision of a Land of Milk and Honey came to mind yesterday, probably because I was subconsciously searching for some way to compare Canada, where I am currently nailing down details for my wedding, and the United States.
Obviously, I’m a little biased toward the Canucks since they have welcomed us with open arms, giving us — visitors, no less — the ability to legally marry with absolute and unequivocal equality. But truth is that we’re really borrowing these things since we’ll return to America Monday afternoon and have to fill out separate customs and immigration forms, and have to go back to our home where, like it or not, we are in many ways second-class citizens.
Disagree? What other group of American citizens has had its rights specifically reduced or even eliminated under local, state and federal laws, including state constitutions?
It’s kind of sad to walk into a Toronto restaurant and talk to the manager, telling her that you’re interested in holding a wedding reception there, only to have her ask where you’re from. “D.C.” is inevitably met with an expression that says, “Now I understand why these guys are coming to look at reception sites just 12 weeks before their wedding — they can’t get married in their own country.”
OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a tiny bit, but we definitely get the sympathy vote here.
More than anything, it really hurts to live in a country where, as Barack Obama told a meeting of the United Church of Christ yesterday, some faith leaders revel in creating an atmosphere of division that permeates every level of our national life. Coming to a place like Canada, where the nation embraces what we consider progressive political ideas like protecting the environment and promoting peace, is a real eye-opener.
It’s too bad we in America can’t learn a few of these lessons, too.