“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

2015 SCOTUS Majority Opinion, Justice Kennedy

Five years ago in June, the US Supreme Court issued this momentous decision. This June has contained both a tenacious pandemic as well a desperate plea for truth and accountability. While difference is an unavoidable part of being alive, these differences don’t have to initiate our own tribalistic instincts. In other words, addressing inherent problems is not a zero-sum game.

Contempt is a dangerous vice. Contempt will wreck your relationships and harm your health. Warm-heartedness may not change every heart and mind, but it is ALWAYS worth trying, and it will ALWAYS make you better off. Better, not less, disagreement holds the key to greater harmony.”

Arthur C Brooks

People are complex. Organizations are complex. The vast majority of people and groups with whom we have a relationship are irreducible to a one word assessment. Leslie Knope, a character on the show Parks and Recreation, is an example of this relationship complexity. She loves and strongly believes in something (the town of Pawnee) even while being well aware of its inherent problems. She optimistically works on encouraging the good while persistently fighting the bad. While we may have been taught racist doctrines in the past, we can work to counter those today, wherever we may stand. While me may have heard bigoted and prejudiced teachings before, we can help everyone to listen, learn, and love today.

“If change and growth are not programmed into your spirituality, if there are not serious warnings about the blinding nature of fear and fanaticism, your religion will always end up worshiping the status quo…as if it were God.”

Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

A decade ago, President Obama issued a proclamation to fight “prejudice and discrimination…everywhere it exists.” Most of the time, this challenge involves persistent and quiet work, and it most definitely requires effort beyond a hashtag.

“Any powerful idea is absolutely fascinating…and absolutely useless until we choose to use it.”

-Richard Bach, One

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

  • How do YOU encourage the good and discourage the bad in people and organizations around you?