Interview with Temple Hayes about her new book The Right to Be You

Interview with Temple Hayes about her new book The Right to Be You

by Rebecca Johnson

This is a little book with a big message and it incorporates your Peace Through People Initiative Life Rights. So we have much to discuss. But, let’s start with the sub-title: The little book that could …

Like Thomas the little engine that could, we all need to move beyond I think I can to I know I can make a difference in this world. At its core, the message of this book is very simple: Love thy neighbor as thyself. But like all simple truths, it’s complicated and it took me a long time to taste that truth. I was raised a southern Baptist and came of age at a time when Civil Rights and Women’s Rights were in full force and Gay Rights, Animal Rights and Religious Rights were being hotly debated. We seemed to be screaming at each other love only those neighbors who look like us and believe the same things. I wanted to bring all those different rights under one umbrella. Life Rights which covers everyone and that means you have the right to be you.

The other need for the creation of Life Rights is from a perspective of spiritual leadership, people in life need a direct focused intention. When I have found myself with various groups of people in the past, speaking of significant issues in the world, most people say, ”I want to do something but there is so much that needs to be done that I do not do anything.” Life Rights is single minded intention which can play a major role in changing our world.

What about Religious or Spiritual Rights. You’re a minister. How important is that to your Peace Through People Initiative?

Well this initiative is in its infancy and while the little book introduces the concept of Life Rights, we must think of it in terms of the larger shift in consciousness that’s going on right now. With Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth and the internet interviews about the book with Oprah. I think it’s time for the spiritual left to come out of the closet and show that Christians can embrace other beliefs, other religions, other ways to the truth.

I speak now as author and activist and I literally and figuratively take off my proverbial ministerial robe because religion has too often separated us and too often been the cause of war. Look at the Middle East. Look in our own back yards. We use religion to condemn people who think differently. We say God won’t love you or accept you if you’re gay or you believe in abortion or your Buddhist and you couldn’t possibly have a soul if you’re an animal. Religious Rights and Spiritual rights are necessary to honor within all people, however Life Rights eliminates all together the ability, the permission, the thought of taking another life and calling it God’s will. As I heard when I was a teenager, Guns do not kill people, people kill people. So on this same intention, God does not create killing, people create it.

It sounds like all these rights and our differences come down to our religious and spiritual beliefs.

In essence, yes. Beliefs are very complicated and layered. As stated by Jesus, it is done unto you as you believe. Our beliefs create our world, our day to day responses and reactions. They have to do with when and where you were born. Religion plays a part but so does the family and society in which you were raised. The environment in which you live.Government, too. And that’s the difficult part. To accept someone, love someone, embrace someone who believes differently than you.

Is that why you open this book with the quote “Peace begins right here, right now.”

Yes. It’s my personal mantra. And it has served me well all through my life. At the age of five, in a small, southern Baptist town, I had my first mystical experience, a call to ministry. Can you imagine how big a dream this was for a young girl in a fundamentalist church? Women couldn’t be leaders much less a minister. And I wasn’t your typical southern belle. I was an athlete and served in the military. These were hard roles for girls to assume. I think they still are today on many levels. I think that’s why I was so attracted to new thought and new thought churches. But even in the 1980s, you know talking about going to a new thought church was just as big a deal as talking about going to a gay bar. And even if you wanted to participate in either one, they were very hard to find. Even then, I consciously chose not to protest or convert. I think I was trying to accept that others believed differently than me.

Is that when you began to believe in yourself?

I think it was the start of the process. At first, I was afraid to be me. That’s when I discovered alcohol. I could secretly believe what I wanted without having to feel the consequences of my thinking. Recovery was an important step not only understanding other’s beliefs, but embracing my own, what I truly believed, and from that came acceptance and the ability to live an authentic life.

So, understanding your own beliefs and acceptance of yourself is key not only to inner peace, but world peace?

Absolutely. How can anyone imagine being one with the world, being one with others when we cannot be one within ourselves. When I feel separate, I perceive others as being separate. When you understand it’s okay to be you, it’s okay to believe what you believe and be happy about it. Then you can love others, too. I want children to get that message now.

You wrote this book, this message especially for children?

I want to find out how children of all ages in our community are doing and I’m using the book as a vehicle. I want to talk to students in schools, children in hospitals, seniors, the homeless tent community, and I want to involve the leaders and activists in our community. I’m hoping to speak to Rotary and Lion’s clubs, the chamber, at libraries wherever the opportunity presents itself for me to discuss our Life Rights and find out how people are really doing, what they really think.

And of course, the media. I’m hoping that they will support this Peace Through People initiative and endorse all our Life Rights. I’d like to get sponsors to help print more books so we can provide a copy to anyone who wants to read it. And I hope to put some of the proceeds back into charities that help support all our life rights.

Instead of saying that our children are our future, we need to realize that now is the time to start with our children….in the present time. We need to teach our children how to be in nature and honor life from insects, to furry creatures, to the winged creatures to all of life. Children today have become desensitized…they say well at least only 4 people were killed, it could have been more….what kind of statement is this? We have all lowered our standards in this life. If it is happening to you, it is happening to me…life is precious and as we honor it in all things, we ourselves will live longer and happier lives.

Where can people get copy of the book? How can they help with the initiative?

Right now, the book is available at Wing’s Bookstore and Café and soon there will be a wider distribution. All interested will be receive the latest information by subscribing for email updates at

Thank you Rebecca and many blessings to you and all,

Temple Hayes

Temple is the CEO of First Unity Campus in St. Petersburg, Florida, a New Thought center that transcends religious denominations, embraces all ethnicities, and reaches beyond national borders.  Temple’s life mission is Life Rights.

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