The issue I would like to broach is divisive. However, with the recent U.S. Supreme Court hearing on same-sex marriage, this issue needs to be rationally and civilly discussed. In explaining my beliefs, I don't want anyone to feel personally attacked. Sadly, some Christians and pseudo-Christians have shown hate and intolerance for the gay community. Forgive them. This hypocrisy is 180° polar to what being a Christ follower is all about!
I begin with a sincere moral belief:
As a Christian, I am morally opposed to the practice of homosexuality.
After reading that statement, you may judge me to be:
Fill in the blank __________________
If you feel that way, I understand your reaction. You may wonder how anyone could think like that in our open-minded and "tolerant" society. Shouldn't I be more tolerant and not judge?
I'm a fool if what I believe is not true. However, please allow me to attempt to show that those labels are not true about me and many others who hold similar beliefs.
WE ALL JUDGE. ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. WE SHOULD, WE MUST.
You are judging right now, weighing my beliefs against yours. You judge everyone, even yourself. You judge which side of the road to drive on. (Get that wrong and you may appear before a judge). You make legal, ethical and moral judgments. While many judgments are based on external laws, I believe there are absolute moral truths innate to the universe. People agree almost universally that lying, stealing, and murder are wrong. This is inherent to human nature. Observe young children playing and you will inevitably hear one say "That's not fair!" From birth we are moral creatures, continually choosing what is right and wrong. Judgment is part of our nature. We cannot function without making judgments. We cannot NOT judge.
WE CANNOT JUDGE WITH RELATIVE STANDARDS
Let's judge for ourselves what is right or wrong, you may say. However, if we each have our own "truths" and truth is relative, there is no real truth. Diametrically opposing beliefs cannot both be true. Consequently, we cannot even tell anyone what they "ought" to do. Absent a universal standard, we cannot measure what is right or wrong. We couldn't even say "She shouldn't judge." or "He should be tolerant." That would be judging.
TOLERANCE MEANS RESPECTFUL DISAGREEMENT
By definition, tolerance means putting up with beliefs with which we don't agree. If you agree with someone, tolerance isn't necessary.
Tolerance also means not forcing others to participate in and affirm our own beliefs. "Don't like gay marriage? Don't get gay married." Point well taken. " Do like gay marriage?" Don't force someone against their personal beliefs to directly take part in supporting it. Hate speech, lawsuits or fines for someone not willing to participate as a wedding photographer or cater a gay wedding against a morally held belief is not tolerance. Should a gay print-shop owner be forced to print material teaching against the gay lifestyle?
This is distinctly different from someone being denied service at a restaurant, etc. Gay people are welcome in my life, but I should not be forced to act in violation of deeply held moral beliefs, nor should you be.
LET'S JUDGE WHAT IS TRUTH, NOT EACH OTHER
Don't judge ME or my RIGHT to what I believe. I have the same tolerance for you. Please DO JUDGE my BELIEFS. Agree or disagree? I'd love to hear why.