I posted these thoughts on Facebook, and since they were so well-received I thought I’d share them here.
In light of the Chick-Fil-A controversy, I now realize modern man is almost incapable of distinguishing between these four things:
1. Approval and Implicit Condemnation. Just because you support one thing doesn’t mean you’re viciously antagonistic toward another (i.e. “anti-” the opposite.) If Dan Cathy supports traditional marriage between one man and one woman, that doesn’t mean he ipso facto “hates gay people” or is “anti-gay.”
2. Disagreeing and Hating. I disagree with ideas all the time. This does not necessitate hating the person who proposed them. Your beliefs are not your identity.
3. Beliefs and People. This is somewhat similar to #2. Rejecting a belief does not equal rejecting a person. You can reject the validity of same-sex marriage on philosophical and social grounds while still profoundly loving people with same-sex attraction. I reject at least some opinions or actions from each of my friends (such as “double-rainbows are boring” or “playing the lottery is wise.”) They in turn reject plenty of my own. But we don’t hate each other. In fact, just the opposite is true. Our relationship is grounded on a communion of persons, not a symmetry of beliefs.
4. Bigotry and Disagreement. The definition of bigot is “one unwilling to tolerate opinions different than his own”—not “someone who disagrees with me.” Toleration doesn’t require agreement, merely recognition and respect. (Ironically, those quickest to accuse people of bigotry are often bigoted about their flawed definition of “bigot.”)
The solution to these failures is not more dialogue. It’s better philosophy, logic, and reason. Unfortunately, until two people are capable of making these distinctions, healthy, productive dialogue about same-sex marriage is almost impossible.
(For good measure, here’s a picture from last night of our un-bigoted, un-hateful family enjoying three of America’s great treasures: marriage, freedom of conscience, and delicious fried chicken.)
Here’s just a glimpse at how crowded our Chick-Fil-A was last night:
I really liked Fr. Longenecker’s thoughts on Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. Calling it a “triumph of the ordinary,” he makes an important observation:
“It was historic because it marks a new method of mass protest. I even hesitate to use the word ‘protest’ because it wasn’t a protest. There wasn’t any anger. There wasn’t any hate. There wasn’t any bullying. There were no unwashed crowds of unhappy people holding a sit in and causing other people stress, inconvenience and expense. There were no protest signs, no marches, no noise makers and attention grabbers. There were no revolutionary slogans, no clenched fists, no class warfare, no sullen adolescents in a stroppy mood.”
(Image Credit: Todd Stocker)