Fighting for Faith, Family and Freedom

To live and love, then love no more. I'm not talking about the feeling, but the act of love. To wake up in the middle of the night and turn over to hold your sweetie, your baby, and find cold emptiness. To give anything, any thing, to just once more touch your loved one's face and taste his lips, breathe his sweet smell. Feel his warmth. Look deep and long into his eyes and say, I love you.

Desperate calls from the doomed planes and crumbling towers carried variations of the same message, "I just want you to know I love you." Surviving hearts will continue to break, and break again with fresh intensity, as each day belches remnants of loss from Terror Tuesday. Worldwide, deadly hate has too often forced lovers to salvage an amputated will-to-live from the ashes of war. Now, that same hate -- blinded by Otherness -- has crashed into American soil, ravaging American souls.

While mourning, the nation bursts with unity, sacrifice and strength to rebuild. Aside from some asinine thuggery against Arab-looking innocents in the name of patriotism, most Americans feel humanity's preciousness like never before. And most likely, we will be acutely reminded in many months ahead as our President's talk of a "crusade against terrorism" and the Taliban's promise of a "holy war against America" turns into bloody body bags on all sides.

So, "as we attempt to reconstruct our world," Family Research Council writes the day after The Attack, "let us resolve not to be swept up in partisan political bickering, petty offenses and meaningless trivialities. Let us resolve to keep our minds focused on the things that draw us together, on the things that endure, on the things that count -- faith, family and freedom."

How could I not be touched by FRC's commitment to move beyond their modus operandi of divisiveness to embrace core American values of inclusion? In war and social change movements, men and women have fought for the right of Americans to practice their chosen faith where, when and how they want. Even if that faith has nothing to do with God, but trust in a universal connection or triumph of the human spirit.

Warriors have died for family: the one they were born to, married into, collected, extended, blended, or simply one of brotherhood, sisterhood. Ah, and freedom. Much blood has been spilled to protect this most cherished of American values. Freedom to be, to live and give and build your chosen reality on vision, sweat, wit and the blessed fortune of being born American.

Yes, in this declared war against terrorism, "let us resolve not to lose sight of the things that are important."

But before the first funerals could be held, FRC emailed another Washington Update praising the courage of fellow citizens, adding, "Americans are not rising up to defend the right to slaughter the unborn. They are not sacrificing their lives so homosexuals can marry. They are not paying the ultimate price so pornographers can peddle their smut. In such difficult days, Americans are sacrificing for those things that promote the common good -- faith, family, freedom."

No, FRC didn't go as extreme as fellow fundie, Jerry Falwell, blaming America's vulnerability on pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians, and civil liberty groups. Still, Bush's pet Religious Righters reached through dust and rubble to jab at those sitting on the opposite side of America's policy table. As if those fighting for social justice on sociosexual issues are somehow less affected by and less valiant from the worst day in American history.

As if those defending safe and legal abortion haven't sacrificed their lives to Christian terrorists here in the U.S. As if homosexuals haven't been beaten or killed for simply trying to live life with the same rights and responsibilities open to other taxpaying citizens. As if none of the thousands perished in the Pentagon, planes and Towers, ever purchased porn, alone or with their sweeties.

And as if the courageous citizens FRC rightly praises have or will never sacrifice to improve sexual health and rights for all Americans, not just a privileged few. Right now, the only struggle that seems worthy is helping the devastated heal, and encouraging our political leaders to prevent another apocalypse through calculated wisdom.

Right now, it's hard to do much more than mourn, but that doesn't make living irrelevant. Picking out colors for the sunroom and guestroom seemed painfully frivolous. Walking my dog and drinking wine with a friend seemed horribly indulgent. Making love to my husband seemed, well, almost wrong when America's suffering is still so raw.

But truly loving each other -- and I'm talking about the act and the feeling -- is what can draw us together and unveil the humanity of Others. We owe that to those who have lost their loved ones to hate. Through these trying and scary days, let's fight for what counts -- faith, family and freedom -- for all, against fundies here and abroad.

Lara Riscol is writing "Ten Sex Myths That Screw America," a book she began while completing a master's degree in contemporary issues and public policy at the University of Denver. Write to her at

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