It took me nearly a lifetime
not to rely upon what I acquired by repeated hearing;
nor upon tradition;
nor upon rumor;
nor upon scripture;
nor upon surmise;
nor upon an axiom;
nor upon specious reasoning;
nor upon a bias towards what I pondered over;
nor upon another’s seeming ability;
and not upon a cleric as teacher.
I learned to rely on something
only when I myself knew it was good.
I thirsted for
the passionate will,
and the courage to stand up against those who,
relying on the ignorance of the people
and the indolence of the teachers in priest’s and scholar’s garb,
who maintained and defended their positions of authority.
I needed the courage and strength
that enabled me to address the religious hierarchy
in clear and impressive language
as to overcome their homophobic, insular, exclusive,
medieval outdated thinking.
Many, so-called teachers,
establish some conclusion in their minds which,
either because of its being their own
or because of their having received it from some person
who has their entire confidence,
impresses them so deeply
that they find it impossible ever to get it out of their heads.
Arguments in support of their fixed ideas
as they hit upon themselves or hear set forth by others,
no matter how simple and stupid they may be,
gain instant acceptance and applause
by pewsitters who never think for themselves.
Whatever is brought forward against it,
however ingenious and conclusive,
they receive with disdain or with rage,
any who dissent.
Beside themselves with passion,
they do whatever is needed
to suppress and silence their adversaries.