(Serious post alert.)
In my view, truth is absolute. I know that’s not popular, but I’d argue that if science is absolute, what makes us think that moral law would somehow not be? That said, I also believe that this absolute truth is multi-faceted, like a diamond. That diamond is solid, but how light is affected when passing through it depends entirely on the interaction of these various facets.
But I digress. I’m getting a little tired of being painted as narrow-minded because of my beliefs. At the risk of stepping on some toes here, no, I don’t support homosexuality. At the same time, I don’t HATE anybody. Some of my best friends on my college campus are gay, and you know what? They’re pretty cool people. If they ask me for my opinion, I’ll give it respectfully and clearly, and listen to theirs. If they want a civilized debate, I’m game. If they don’t, I’m going to respect their right to differing beliefs, and I’m not going to force mine down their throats.
The people I cannot stand are the ones that feel it is their right to force everyone else to swallow their beliefs whole, and that’s on either side of the aisle. Recently, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance on campus was promoting an upcoming club event, with a Q&A to follow. Some jerk decided to write “fagit” on the signs (yes, misspelled.)
I knew one of the journalists for the campus newspaper, and I mentioned to him that I didn’t care what the topic was; anyone who would stoop to the level of defacing someone else’s poster is obviously too inarticulate to have a mature disagreement with anyone.
Ultimately, I have a problem with people that are insensitively vocal. I will stand up for what I believe, and I really can’t blame anyone for doing the same, even if they believe differently. Ultimately, I get along with my gay friends on campus because, while I respect their right to differing beliefs, they respect mine. They are not forcing me to swallow their beliefs. They know where I stand, and we avoid the topic when necessary.
Recently, the CEO for Mozilla was pressured to step down because he voted for an “anti-gay” bill. Honestly, I think there were mistakes on both sides, here. On the one hand, this CEO screwed up in campaigning (you know where I stand on that). Yes, that looked bad.
On the other hand, there’s a double standard – if someone campaigns on the popular side of the aisle, they’re celebrated. If they campaign on the unpopular side, they’re lynched. Way to gut a democracy.
May I remind everyone of the golden rule, here? Do unto others as you would have done to you. This applies to everyone. It doesn’t matter how right you feel you are, or how wrong you feel the other person is. People need to tolerate the opposition being as vocal as they are.
Granted, anyone who would write hate slurs on people’s houses, cars, or (ahem) posters need to have their heads examined. Furthermore, anyone who would resort to violent aggression to support their political or ideological cause need to be permanently checked into county lockup or exported to the nearest deserted island. Bullying is proof positive that a person is entirely too inarticulate and too poorly informed to discuss matters like a human being.
Beyond obvious things like that, everyone needs to learn to be a lot more tolerant. Consider for just a moment: YOU MIGHT BE WRONG. Yes, that means you, dear reader. I know you have perfectly logical and legitimate reasons for your beliefs. I do too. But we are all humans. Go ahead and stand up for what you believe, but grant others the same right, to the same extent. If you want the political volume to quiet down, start with yourself.
Someone once erroneously advised me to “be careful” that I didn’t “compromise my witness” by not being vocal about homosexuality. Excuse me? Since when was it mandatory to carry a baseball bat and a megaphone in order to share Christ? Friends, God is still on the throne, and He doesn’t need your political protests to help Him stay there.
According to the Word, I have absolutely no place to be judging people outside of the church (Romans 2:1-6, 1 Corinthians 5:12). That doesn’t mean I can’t ever speak what I believe in good conscience to be truth, but I’m certainly not going to step on someone else to do it!
What it comes down to is trust: trust that God is perfectly capable of revealing His truth to a person without me having to get my big mouth involved. I’m always ready to answer questions, but by and large, I give those invitation-only. My job is to be the hands and feet of Christ – to be a solid, unconditional friend to people, both inside of and outside of the church.
There’s one more layer to this, however – I’m not waiting for an invitation to call out garbage INSIDE the church. Judgmental? Yup, exactly as commanded in scripture: 1 Corinthians 5. This still stands under the caveat given by Christ, that the measure by which I judge, I will also be judged. Truth is, I want to be held to that standard, because that is when I’ll be the most effective for the kingdom. Where a fellow Christian stands with God on the matter of salvation is entirely between them and Him. He does forgive, and I am ever grateful for that, but He also disciplines (Hebrews 12:6). I need God’s discipline and correction in my life. This has nothing to do with my salvation. If I’m not seeking His righteousness, I am useless to the Body of Christ, and to the Kingdom.
The funny implication of all of this? When I encounter someone being rude and pushy about their beliefs, and I have any degree of authority in the situation, I will tell them to shut up and sit down, REGARDLESS of what they’re campaigning for. You won’t find me in picket lines, simply because to campaign like that on one side is very rude, and to campaign on the other side is violating my own beliefs. I’m not trying to be noble, I’m trying to do what is right.
“Narrow-minded” doesn’t mean that you can’t believe in a truth or support a cause. It simply means that you are unwilling to accept the idea that you could be wrong. I know I’m wrong on something, somewhere, and I’m perfectly okay with that. I’m always looking at the evidence on both sides, and revising what I believe.
I’m not narrow-minded, but I’m no pushover. I don’t expect you to be either. Let’s make the most of our ability to communicate as humans and have an intelligent, respectful discussion. I encourage you to take that approach with your political opposition. You just might be surprised at the friends you’ll make.