I have to admit, I’m bemused by the slogan that the homosexual lobby has adopted for its recent court victory, “Love wins.” I’m confused because the most vocal proponents of same-sex marriage seem to be extremely un-loving as I understand love: “Love is patient, love is kind ... it keeps no record of wrongs ... Love bears all things, endures all things.”
The vitriol that is heaped on anyone who disagrees with their opinion alarms those of us who believe that Paul’s letters (specifically Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 4), along with the rest of the Bible, are indeed God’s word. We see similar reactions over the Confederate flag, as people become more and more intolerant of any view that doesn’t match the “correct” (or “enlightened”) one.
I’m not going to use this space to defend one position over the other. What I am asking is that we take a deep breath and remember the importance of liberty. We can disagree and still get along. We can and should vote for those who speak on our behalf. Recognizing that our views may not carry the day for the moment, we can continue to work for change. What we cannot do is to silence an opposing view, even if we believe that view to be completely wrongheaded. (I am assuming a peaceful view here, not one that advocates violence against others).
The Supreme Court has upheld the right to expression in a variety of formats, and this is essential today as we struggle with conflict. Martin Niemoller’s famous poem about the dangers of not speaking out because “I wasn’t a Jew, or a Communist, or a Social Democrat” is very relevant here. We must defend the right of people to hold (and express!) unpopular opinions, or we will all find ourselves enslaved to a tyranny that our forefathers sacrificed greatly to resist.
I miss the days when we heard statements like, “I don’t agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” We must defend the First Amendment’s free exercise clause, or our freedoms will continue to erode until they are mere words on a page stripped of all reality, and we find ourselves in a desolate, enslaved land.
This Constitution was built on compromise, and we have continued to seek ways to protect the rights of all Americans. We must find a compromise that acknowledges the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on gay marriage and yet allows people to live their lives according to the dictates of their conscience.
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that the greatness of America is in her churches; we should be very concerned about those who would muzzle them and prevent Christians from having any voice outside of their sanctuaries. Similarly, we should not seek to erase the past, but to learn from it.
Let us be very careful about whom we seek to silence, or, when someone seeks to silence you, who will speak on your behalf?