Can’t you be more tolerant?
In the debates over marriage today, we are often told as Christians that we are haters, we are bigots, we are homophobes, and we are intolerant. Now keep in mind I don’t mind someone having a different opinion on homosexuality than I do. What I do mind is this kind of behavior that does not deal with the arguments but rather deals with the attitudes of the person. Arguments like this distract us from the data.
Keep in mind there were people who were screaming for us to be open for years for people to live the way they wanted to individually. If they wanted to be homosexual, let them be homosexual. Let them love the person they want to and let us stay out of it. Now I think that their behavior is immoral, but fair enough. I don’t want to legislate against it. One aspect of Natural Law thinking is that you are willing to allow some lesser evils for the greater good of human freedom.
Now today we are the ones telling the homosexual community and their supporters to do what we have really been doing. That is to allow us the right to live the way we do and practice our religion that way. We believe homosexual behavior is sinful. Now you are free to believe all you want that it’s a sexual behavior with no moral ramifications. The point is that we do not think so. We think that whole debate is still open and to not listen to that debate is to treat our opinion like it doesn’t matter, not really tolerant is it?
You may not think homosexual behavior is wrong. Fine. We as Christians do think it is and if we really think that, which we do, it is the most loving thing that we can do to state it. Now of course, that does not mean that it is always said in a loving way or said out of love period. The reality is that when it’s done in an immoral way we condemn it even if it is true. While we hold that homosexual behavior is immoral, that does not mean we support a group like Westboro Baptist. I think bullying is wrong on all fronts and the only people I get tough with are those who are trying to bully others.
And yes, that is happening. There are people being hurt by the homosexual community and their supporters by this title of “haters.” Consider the case of Adam Smith who drove through the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A and told the girl running the drive-thru that their company was a hate company. This man did not have the guts to park his car, get out, and go into the store and talk to the manager who would have some authority. This lady is just doing her job and got bullied. Now the guy got fired, but what happened to that girl for the rest of the day?
What about the store that had spray-painted on it “Tastes Like Hate.” Anyone working there could think that if a person is willing to vandalize, what else could they be willing to do? Look. We understand that you want to get your viewpoint out there but the best way to do that is not to try to win by using these kinds of tactics. If you want to discuss the issues, discuss the issues. (Note also I do realize not all homosexuals and not all people who agree with SSM are like this)
What is this doing when someone is told that they are a hater? Here is what the person who is being called a hater is being told. “SHUT UP!”
What you are saying is that your mind is made up, and there is nothing wrong with having a conviction mind you, but you do not even think the other side deserves a hearing. You are telling them that you will not listen to them at all. Their opinion is not worth it. This all the while telling them they should be tolerant of the other side. Excuse me if we don’t hear it when this kind of event happens.
This keeps you from discussing why the person holds the opinion that they hold. Why do that? Because in telling them they’re a homophobe or a bigot, you’re just saying “I don’t care why you think what you think. I’m going to tell you to be quiet or you will not be accepted.” If you’re sure your opinion is the correct one, the reality is that you should not be afraid to hear the other side. Why should anyone treat your opinion seriously when you automatically refuse to listen to someone else’s?
As one who is in the area of apologetics, I find that I love to hear what the other side says. I am sure I am right. I realize I could be wrong, but I have my opinion after years of study. It is enjoyable to enter into the debate and think you can win simply by pointing to the facts on your side and the bad reasoning and lack of facts or information that is not true but is claimed to be factual that the opponent presents.
What is happening is meant to end dialogue and not encourage it and quite frankly is simply emotional reasoning. You cannot determine whether homosexual practice is right or wrong based on how you feel. What if someone else feels differently? Why should your feelings trump everyone else’s? You also cannot command someone to just feel differently. IF that were the case, most of us would command ourselves to feel happy. We’d like to, but we don’t. Ever had one of those nights where you want to try to sleep but you’re up worrying? Telling yourself to feel calm doesn’t really end the matter.
How about we come and actually discuss the data and not use emotional reasoning. Let’s discuss homosexuality. Let’s discuss marriage itself. Let’s discuss morality. Let’s talk about the data. I don’t come to this debate to talk about you or me. I come to talk about the data. Let’s do that.