Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Now What?

This is directed at all of the Christians who supported the initiatives in California, Florida, and Arizona to ban same-sex marriage. This is also directed at the Christians in Arkansas who supported the initiative to ban adoption or foster-parenting by unmarried couples (which, of course, includes same-sex couples). I'm not going to say what I think of those initiatives. I'm a bit of a political agnostic in that arena (Well, not about the adoption thing. Since I eventually want to adopt as a single man I absolutely oppose the Arkansas voters right now). But regardless of what I think, the conservative Christians in those states have gotten what they wanted. Congratulations. Democracy prevailed.

But now the main question, if you are a follower of Christ, is "Now what?"

Heaven forbid you consider this the end of your dealings with the gay community. If you think, for even an instant, that your ballots consisted of a "victory" and you can rest easy now, you are an utter disgrace. Because all you did was pass laws; you did not change hearts.

Gays in your respective states can no longer marry, so in your view you "protected marriage." Good, bad, whatever. You know that's not how they see it, right? You know they weren't trying to destroy marriage, right? I don't care what you think; try to put yourselves in their shoes at this moment right now. You may disagree with their views or choices, but remember that you are both still human, and thus you both contain shadows of the other within you. Their pain is just like your pain, and right now, trust me, they're in pain.

How would you feel if you were told that the person you loved most couldn't be your wife or husband? How would you feel if you were told you weren't allowed to have children? How would you feel if the people around you essentially told you that your family was pretend or illegitimate? Could you say that to their face?

It's not that these initiatives passed that really bugs me. It's that they passed with seeming glee and joy from Christians. I can respect a reasoned argument that said, for one reason or another, that these initiatives were a political or moral necessity. Fine, vote that way then. But don't jump for joy at the prospect that you are hurting others. Be solemn, have respect, and try to think about how to move forward from here.

Because like it or not, hurt has been caused to the gay community. You might think it was necessary, but that does not take away your duty as a Christian to try to connect to others. And I mean really connect, people. See where they're coming from; try to understand their pain, anger, and frustration. Don't let your Christian witness end at the ballot box (though I am very discouraged right now, and I fear that it will).

Talk to gay friends and neighbors. Try to listen and engage and understand their pain. Show that you care. And if you actually find that you can't do these things, because you don't want to understand or because you don't care, then pray, search your heart, and ask God to give you a heart for them. Wrap your head around the difficult questions. Because, come on, it's not easy. Let's say you know a monogamous, nice, hard-working gay couple who has adopted a child together. What would you want to happen there? How would you respond as a Christian? How would you show that you legitimately love them just as Christ loves them?

I know, these are a lot of questions. I didn't plan to write so emotionally, but I guess there just really isn't another way to write about this subject for me. Even though this issue is so very close to my heart, I don't have all the answers either, and I need to pray and meditate and ask God to guide me in all my future interactions. I hope that all of the Christians who voted for these measures will do the same.

Unfortunately, I just have a deep and horrible fear that they won't, and that their answer to "Now what?" will be "Nothing. We've won, and we're done."

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