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In the land of a wise and godly king, the voice of its homosexual population came to him in an uproar.
“We demand our rights! We demand our rights! We demand our rights!”
The cry undulated across the Great Square like waves of a windblown ocean. The crest of each came crashing upon the face of the Royal Palace.
In a short time the king appeared on his balcony from which he always addressed the people. He raised one hand above the multitude below and silence prepared the way for his words.
“What are these rights which are yours and you demand?’ And he listened as always he did.
“Only a homosexual can understand a homosexual!” shouted a voice from out of the multitude. “We demand to be governed by one of our own!”
The king now located that voice in the crowd just below the balcony. He observed in the hands of him who spoke a scroll. To him the king directed his words.
“If there be injustice now, there will be injustice then, for where there are those like you, there are also those not like you.”
“It is for this reason, O king,” called back the voice below with much respect, “that we men and woman who are of a biological nature different from general society, need and must have a society of our own. A geographical, political and emotional autonomy. A society which guarantees our biological nature the sexual and emotional freedoms to which it is entitled as a creation of God. We denounce those who declare us to be abnormal, and condemn us as sinful, judging not only us, but also God, who Himself made each of us what we are. And so we turn to His love and righteousness in you, O king, not as a mob, but as a people, beseeching the power of your sovereignty to grant us justice. We have gathered this evening to declare our right to possess and govern a homosexual province, a province within whose borders everyday life and society will reflect our God given biology. Homosexual love must have its place as a norm. It must be represented in law and science, in literature and theater and all the arts, in all schools and in all professions and all churches. Homosexual love is God’s love too. Homosexuals are God’s children also. And we have the God-given right to be who we are and love who we love and love in a culture where we may do so without shame or condemnation. And here, O king, upon this scroll have we penned a constitution, the laws and ways which shall govern our homosexual province. And now, on behalf of all the male and female, young and old – names upon a petition, I beseech thee, O king, grant to our cause your ear, and listen with the wisdom of God that is yours.”
And the king said, “Let your Voice be heard.”
After the reading the king ordered silence throughout the palace and withdrew from all others into the solitude of his chambers. At once he lay aside his purple robe. Alone in an unlit alcove he knelt before a window opened out to the Royal Gardens. He had listened to man; he now wanted to listen to God.
In his gaze fixed upon the heavens he beheld his own insignificance. What he felt became words within the calm of his mind. Praise the Lord, O my soul. Praise Him, all you stars of light.
Of a sudden the song of a nightingale came forth from a tree in the garden, joining melody to the words within his mind. Thou art my God—I extol Thee.
In through the window came a gentle breeze of summer night’s air. Upon its warm caress were garden fragrances. The nightingale continued its song. Bless the Lord, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me. Bless His holy name.
The king lowered his eyes and closed them as he bowed from deep within. And with a soft voice he began to pray, “Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications…”
In the morning the royal trumpets called all the king’s people into the Great Square. They came together with strife upon their lips. The evening request of yesterday was despised by those who had not made it.
“What will your demands cost us!” they shouted.
“We have our rights!” came the retort.
And to the king who had come upon the balcony these cries did bring great sadness. He paused over the multitude until their strife had settled and one could hear the morning quiet. Then he spoke.
“Through the centuries of our forefathers and into the present, the people of this land have proclaimed a belief in God. Even this request of yesterday evening which this morning has all the kingdom astir, was voiced with an appeal to His love and righteousness, not mine, though you call me Your Majesty. A testimony to your knowledge! And to Him I did go, and to Him alone. I, king of this land, knelt before Him, King of all that is. Through an open window above the Royal Gardens He did speak to me. Through an open window within He did make me understand. When finally I lifted from His presence, I noticed the change of stars high in the sky. I surrendered to sleep with the voice of that, His love and righteousness upon my heart. Listen now, O people of this land, and hear how your God answers this request lifted up before Him.”
“ ‘I,’ saith the Lord, ‘am your Creator, and My design produces life. Is there one who stands amongst you today born apart from it? Which of you is not the offspring of both man and woman? Which of you men can deny the woman’s function in your existence? Which of you women can deny the man’s function in your having come into being? And again, which of you who exchange these functions so that a man lies with a man, and a woman lies with a woman, would even be if your parents had thought as you think? You stand here today with your demand of rights, yet you are here, only because they were not like you! It is I who created the design. It is you who defile its function. Your lust you call love. Your evil you call pleasure. Your rebellion you call freedom. Your denial of My creation law you call belief in a God of love and compassion. You set yourselves up against the absolutes of My creation. For this I declare—unless you choose now to obey, I who am the Creator—rather than yourselves who are but creatures—I shall hand you over to the designs of your own perverted minds. I shall make your world as you demand it be—as you live rather than as I command you live. I shall abandon you to what you call good and just and your right to be. All your world will be like you.’ Thus has spoken the Lord.”
And all those who had made the request lifted their voices with cheer. This they did because it had been said, “All your world will be like you.” And the Lord sealed them in their desire.
The king carried out the word of the Lord. To the Royal Island of Beauty they were to be banished, a place so extremely lush with fruits and flowers that it was said the hands of angels did garden there. A land of such clean air that clothes hung in the breeze became spotless. With springs of water so pure, sick men took drink and then were well. Fish of beauty and taste abounded in its sea. Through its sky, birds of much color formed flying rainbows. The eyes of the king’s people were often upon the Royal Island of Beauty. But it was by private invitation alone that one could cross the sea to its shores—until now.
“If what is called sin pays these wages, along with them I go!” In this way did many sing their choice into the day. And the Lord sealed them in it. As were those they chose to follow, so did he make them. Hand in hand many went who that morning had shared but strife. Male with male, female with female, two by two they went. Few were those who danced not down the street toward the ship of this one-way travel. It was here at the dock, looking down from the lofty bow of this vessel, that he who last evening read from a scroll did so again.
“Be it known to you, O king, that we who sail on this ship today, have found favor in the sight of God. Beyond you He did move, granting us what you would not. Our freedom He gave us. Our rights we now own. Against your many words, our numbers He has multiplied. The future will remember us as blessed.”
The scroll he rolled up and with it he pointed to the Royal Island of Beauty. With a loud voice of victorious tones he cried out—“Let us sail to what God had deemed our just due!”
And away the vessel went, a fiesta upon the waters. Into the distance and voice of the sea faded the great bellows of merriment.
The eyes of the king’s people were still often upon the Royal Island of Beauty. But their gaze was without longing. The seasons had not yet circled the departure of those who had shown themselves unfaithful to the king, but still it seemed the consumption of centuries had ravaged the place to which they had hurried, the land they had proclaimed as a paradise given them by God. From that very dock by which the unfaithful had departed, the people of the kingdom watched what at first they did not understand. Then they remembered the words of the Lord—“All your world will be like you.” The very words for which the unfaithful had cheered.
It was the absence of flowers upon seasonal breezes that first brought notice to the kingdom. Every year at that time fragrances more lovely than any princess wafted through both the king’s palace and the poor man’s home alike. Across the sea from the Royal Island of Beauty they came. But now they came no more. And the people wondered.
From those who put spyglass to eye, a report soon reached the king. Upon every plant, bush and tree, green alone was the color these men could see. No colorful fruits, no beautiful flowers. Strewn across the beaches were poles once used to fish. Now they lay half buried by wind blown sand, a graveyard of other times. The footprints of man no where around. And where they did find them, from that place their eyes did turn. Amidst torn feathers and blood, women whose clothes bore no resemblance to clean, chewed the flesh of those birds of peace whose many colors once formed flying rainbows. All were horrified.
“It is as the Lord declared,” announced the king to his people. “Abandoned to themselves, their evil had reached into the skies. Be it known today, the world to which they hurried with merriment on their lips, is but a place of on-rushing death. He the Creator of paradise is also He the Creator of hell. By their own hands God has done this. And our eyes shall witness His even greater wrath upon them. They indeed shall be it to themselves. It is as the Lord declared.”
The people of the kingdom could with their own eyes see the spread of death devour what was once rightly named the Royal Island of Beauty. But only those who made their report to the king could explain.
It was seen by them how those upon the island had become like swarms of locusts to all that land’s vegetation. The extinction of creatures but for themselves had reduced their diet to leaves. The naked eye of all the kingdom watched as the land once lush and green became but barren and brown.
Time was consumed by days and weeks and months, and the humanness of those upon that island had been consumed by the design of their own minds. The report of them barefoot and naked and scratching through dirt hunting out roots caused the king to cry. But it was that which was next seen through the spyglass for which he trembled. Man had begun eating man. Groups stalked groups and human flesh became food. As animals of the wild in bodies of men and women had they become. Yet still they did live as no beast of the field does—male lay with male and female lay with female. All life for them had died except that for which it was dead—their sin. The king ordered that no more reports reach his ears. But it was by sight and scent that all the kingdom would hear the final news of the unfaithful.
It was the time of year that breezes never blow. Yet blow they did. And upon them came the stench of flesh rotting in death. Across the sea from the Royal Island of Beauty the last of the unfaithful announced another and final departure—without words, without merriment, without a ship. For this parting too, the king and all his people gathered at the dock. Fragrant oils upon black cloths were held to each one’s nose. But the wrath of God could not be sweetened. Every eye within the kingdom gazed above that island into a cloud of gloom. The dark plumage of vultures had amassed across the sky. The last of the unfaithful had died with no one to kill them, but they who before had done the eating, would now be eaten. The king and all his people stood amidst the powerful silence of fear—that conviction out of which does grow one’s knowledge of God.
After a while the king did speak—“It is as the Lord declared.”
Across the sea from the Royal Island of Beauty seasonal breezes still blow. Much time has passed since flowers were upon them. Of such days young children have no memory. They think it strange when their elders gather at the dock and stare so solemnly at the barren land where no one could ever live. The name by which their elders call it seems a mistake. But oddest of all to these children is when their elders inhale deeply of those seasonal breezes and declare – “The loveliest of fragrances” –when there is no fragrance at all. The children understand not the fragrance of peace with God.