Today’s 7-2 decision by the US Supreme Court concerning religious liberty and gay wedding cakes preserves the framework of anti-gay discrimination laws and really doesn’t bother me. I understand the bakers had a nuanced argument (the gay couple also had a nuanced argument too, hence it was not a slam dunk case IMO). And the truth is, religious liberty is a serious issue and we need to tread lightly when it comes to forcing people to do things that violates their spiritual beliefs … especially when it was totally not necessary.

What’s more, I think it’s by and large a distraction from more important things. The LGBT community in countries where basic legal equality has been won — such as my country, the US — are very fortunate. Gays and lesbians are on better footing than ever before. Regarding gay and lesbian rights, we just have some fine tuning to do. Also, we have to support transgender rights. We have to elect Presidents and Senators who will nominate and approve Supreme Court Justices who will uphold LGBT rights, it is true. But we also ought to turn our attention to doing what we can to support LGBT communities throughout the world, turning our attention to global concerns.

It’s also worth reminding ourselves in the LGBT community that the political dimension is only one aspect to our lives. It is a pull towards togetherness and liberation that tugs at deeper, spiritual concerns we have as a community. Although it doesn’t get a lot of ink in the queer press, basically we are all walking down a road of discovering new models for being Love and doing Eros in the world. Thus, done well, our spiritual quests confront the core teachings of the world’s Great Traditions in audacious and disruptive ways simply by being authentically ourselves. As those of us in theistic-based worldviews say, we are all made in the image of God and we are pioneers in unveiling unabashed and unashamed gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender faces of God for the first time in history.

The political dimension of our lives is just one piece of an integral whole. One useful way to picture all the major perspectives on human nature is the Four Quadrants model developed by Ken Wilber. The issue of gay wedding cakes concerns the laws regulating discrimination by private businesses: that’s something with a home in the lower-right quadrant. (Technically, it has aspects in all four quadrants, but let’s keep it simple.) The lower-left quadrant includes all the ways that we need to shift the culture, philosophy, and worldviews to make more space for the dignity and flourishing of LGBT people. The upper-left quadrant includes all the ways we need to do “inner work” to heal from our psychological wounds, do shadow work, and grow spiritually into wider and more expansive concepts of our relationship to All-That-Is. The upper-right quadrant includes all the ways that we need to keep our bodies healthy and sound and our individual duties to others fulfilled.

When I speak of Integral Spirituality on this blog, what I’m talking about is including all four quadrants of human nature in our priorities, among other things. If we are focusing too hard on only one of these angles, we are leaving important things out in other dimensions in our lives, and this can come back to bite. For example, if we devote ourselves passionately to political change but neglect to have compassion for all sentient beings as an enduring feeling in our hearts — something that the gift of meditation can help to further — we are likely to encounter burnout. Or, if we get totally focused on our physical fitness to an extreme, we may find ourselves disconnected from the pulse of the living community.

As a footnote, since it has come up today in a conversation or two with libertarian-oriented thinkers, my political philosophy (I call it “Integral” by the way) insists on a balance between individualistic and communitarian principles. There are no strong individuals without a strong society, and vice versa. Since government is inevitable (yes, for at least our lifetimes) it ought to be as virtuous, well-functioning, and enlightened as possible. There is nothing “forced” about participating as a citizen when your self-identity is rooted in a higher, more expansive level of self-recognition.

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