For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
While we could quibble that non-believers shouldn’t really be listed with believers, mentioning us is a big step forward!
And did you hear that the Inaugural Poet, Elizabeth Alexander, called for us to move beyond equating martial status with love? She said:
Some live by “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”
Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.
What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.
Maybe I am making too much out of this. But maybe both are signs of a new era where nonbelievers are not invisible and love is celebrated as much broader than marriage.
And someone at the Alternatives to Marriage Project also noticed the line in the poem. AtMP is the only organization that is truly fighting for equality for all by advocating for the removal of the dividing line between married and unmarried people, rather than just moving it.