tolerance, marriage, hate & sexuality

I believe it was the summer of 1991 when Disney issued their first "Gay Day", and the small town I lived in and many conservative friends went nuts - you would have thought way more than our right to excess, make believe, over priced entertainment, and talking mice had been attacked - but nope, that was it, gay men and women simply wanted a day at America's most famous vacation spot set aside for their families absent of discrimination and marginalization.  Why?  To do something extremely dangerous... ride rides with each other and their kids.  This was the stuff of real worry, if you could get a talking mouse, pantsless duck, and the boy that never grows up dressed in tights (sense the irony) to befriend gay families then the good ole US-of-A would crash and burn.   Well here we are, and the issue is no longer talking animals and a land of make believe overtaken by gay extremists, but this war has escalated to Ice Cream and Chicken nuggets - we are now living in a time in which the most unhealthy nation in the world can no longer achieve bipartisan obesity. A line in the sand has been drawn, and on one side stands the muppets.  One day, I will sit my grandchildren on my knee and tell them stories of the days of old, when you could order a chicken sandwich, eat ice cream, and never wonder if the cow that was milked for the ice cream nor the chicken that was killed for the nuggets was gay, straight, republican, or democrat; a day when getting over weight could be done without political controversy...

However, all that said, I think these continuous debates about chicken, ice cream, gay rights, marriage, and the likes just shows how much we (when I say we, I mean the "we" on both sides of the argument) take great pleasure in missing the point, and are willing to chase after a more shallow and hollow humanity built around igronance.

Okay, so, let's define a few things:

  • tol-er-ance [tol-er-uhns] - noun - a fair, objective, and PERMISSIVE attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own.
    • Let's be real - which political, cultural, and social groups pontificate this word the most?
    • The idea of tolerance in our culture is smoke and mirrors, and is not practiced (from either side), someday someone is going to have to put on their big-boy undies and be the first to act out this idea.
  • Marriage- marriage, historically has had two major roles (1) religious (2) political (uniting kingdoms, empires, families or to create heirs).
    • Christians, get your panties out of a wad, the moment the state began to allow divorces to happen over reasons not defined in the bible, they no longer lined up with our definition of marriage - if the government makes gay marriage legal, this is not the beginning of some redefinition of marriage, they did this a long time ago... move on!
  • Hate- simply means to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; to detest.
    • Dear Friends (who happen to be gay): real christians (those who hold to the Bible) cannot hate.  It is an anti-Christian property.  Rather than accusing Christians of hate, it would be more congruent to call those "christians" who hate, non-Christians.  However, Christians do disagree, and up until recent history disagreeing and hate have been considered two very different things, we should return to this.  Sincerely, Christian
    • Dear Friends (who are not gay and are Christian): to deny the same rights you enjoy under a non-Christian government to those who hold to different ideas and definitions than you, does edge close to the idea of, "feeling extreme aversion" towards someone.  Sincerely, other Christian
  • Sexuality: sexual character; possession of the structural and functional traits of sex; recognition of or emphasis upon sexual matters.
    • With all the hoopla surrounding the gay/straight talk, it seems as if our humanity has been reduced to sexuality.  What if we all got into car accidents and had our bodies severed from the waist down?  Would we cease to be human?  While our sexuality is part of our humanity, it is certainly not the entirety of our humanity.  If our sexuality ceased, our humanity would not.  So can we place this argument in it's proper place, and elevate the importance of our humanity.

We're humans, we will always argue.  Our differing opinions make this democracy great (among other things).  Can we please elevate this conversation?  Can we respect our differences?  We need to, or this is going to get ugly (it already has).  Here are some ideas I have:

  1. Tolerance: can we do this?  Can we simply act out what we say we hold as a value?  Scratch that - can we tangibly be love to those who are different from us.  Christian, can you turn the other cheek (I think someone pretty important said something about that).  Do we always have to one-up the "opponent" by lowering ourselves to their mode of attack?  I've heard that the "counter attack" to the Chicken sandwich appreciation day was to show up in masses and publicly "kiss" - really, this is what we have come to - this is the opposite of tolerance and maturity.
  2. Marriage: Get Government out of the Marriage business! Rather than argue over who has the right to be married, can we take marriage out of the government business?  If you go back to the historical reasons for marriage, the only one that still survives in our nation is the religious reason.  Our government is not a religious institution.  Can't we give both straight and gay couples the same rights under civil union rights - and then allow religious institutions to determine how they define marriage under the spiritual and/or religious authority they hold to?  Sometimes I think the real fight is that conservative Christians don't want the biblical definition of marriage invaded.  But as I said earlier, it has not only been invaded, but over taken, and that happened way before this gay marriage debate started.  I would much rather have a government that focused on things they needed to focus on, keep their nose out of the idea of marriage, and transfer all "marital advantages" to civil unions for any couple willing to live in a committed relationship, and then let churches, mosques, temples, and Las Vegas chapels honor marriages as they see fit.
  3. Hate - can we grow up and reserve the word "hate" for what it really means! Can we go back to realizing that differing opinions makes for a great democracy.  My Christian straight friends, we too need to realize that a great democracy is made up of beautiful people who have very different views from us, and deserve the same rights we have (stop getting caught up in semantics), if you cannot appreciate this, then you need to do a quick study on national theocracies...if you still aren't convinced, I'm sure you could find some real estate in Saudi Arabia.
  4. Sexuality - I get it, it's important.  If you are a Christian then you know that sexuality goes way beyond who you are sleeping with at night and speaks to the imago dei in us all, which demands of us a posture of humility and love.   That said, sexuality is not worth dividing our humanity over.  It is not worth denying rights over.

Christian, we are never told to "demand our rights."  We aren't told to boycott, condemn, or demand the government to legislate our morality.  However, as US citizens we have those rights, and this is what makes us citizens of a democracy.  That said, let us remember that as Christians (takes priority over our citizenship) our energies are to be spent on making peace:

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with ALL

Can we do this