It has been raining heavily lately. Some places in Johannesburg are flooding. I remembered these words. “God is in the rain.”
If you have watched the 2005 film V for Vendetta, you’ll recognise the reference. If not, let me elaborate. The film is set in a dystopian future. One of the stories told in the movie is of a beautiful actress named Valerie. She begins her narrated autobiography by describing how her grandmother always told her that God is in the rain when she was growing up. Valerie realised in high school that she was homosexual. When she openly exposed her sexuality to her family and community, she was rejected and outcast for it. She meets “the love of her life” as a young adult but the affair is short-lived as both her and her partner are later arrested by government officials because they are lesbians. Valerie is taken to a concentration camp and tortured to death. The significance of the words is repeated again by the main character Evie (played by Natalie Portman), when she realises the meaning of the words. God is in the rain is an idiom denoting that good can be found in everything. So even if you find yourself caught in the rain, there is a good reason for it.
This was on my mind because of the recent homophobic acts we have seen occurring around the world, particularly those in Nigeria, Uganda and Croatia. Religious leaders have referred to homosexuality with abomination and countries are enforcing laws prohibiting same-sex unions. Have we fallen into a mental time warp into the Dark Ages, perhaps? If you are a Christian, or a member of any religious order that worships God, you would have been taught that all people are children of God. Believing people to be sinners or heathens gives you no right to judge or stone them. There will be some who will refer to Holy Scriptures and justify their condemnation of others. However, as Christians, were we not taught that all humans are innate sinners and that Jesus died on the cross for all our sins? If Jesus died for our sins then why must we punish ourselves or others for them now? There are many angles to explore this religiously. I refer to Christianity because it relates to my background. Whichever religion we may belong to, hopefully reason and a love for all humankind wins this one. We all have an equal right to life. The era we live in is defined by freedom of choice. We do not have to agree with each other’s choices but it is our duty to respect each other. Perhaps that is the “silver lining” in this situation – another lesson about our common humanity and conduct towards each other. The sad part is that we will continue to have to deal with injustice until the message sinks in globally.
We can analyse the words of the saying in another manner. More than half of our bodies are made up of the H20 compound. Maybe this is a symbol of something more profound. Essentially we are all the same. Our differences lie merely in our choices. God is in the rain, therefore God is in the water, hence also in all of us. We choose to contaminate that water or purify it. Some decisions, such as committing certain crimes, are punishable by law and rightly so. We nevertheless cannot punish individuals for who they are and who they choose to love. People should be allowed to express their freedom – religiously, politically and sexually.