This is the type of blog post I am loathe to write, not because I don't think it's important, but because it is the sort of mine field that gets people so lathered up they could start their own soap factories.
One of the things I often lament in this world is that 99% of the population has an inability to have a reasonable, polite discussion about something without resorting to name calling and personal insults. Don't believe me? Read an article on the worldwide web. Any article. Then read the comments. Discover it for yourself.
If you really want to get into trouble, read an article about gay marriage and make a comment that, based on your sincerely held religious beliefs, you believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. Then duck. I mean it. People will throw bombs at you, your house, your kids, and your fluffy little puppy named Gizmo who wouldn't hurt a fly.
Of course the opposite is true as well. Someone comes out in favor of gay marriage and a bunch of rude "Christian" snakes slither out of their cellars and start acting like evil bullies throwing punches in the name of Jesus. (Because we all know how much Jesus likes it when we are jerks to each other).
But whether gay marriage is right or wrong is not the point of this post. (My sincere belief, which is founded in scripture and the words of living prophets, is that marriage should only be between one man and one woman. To paraphrase the "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", I believe the family is ordained of God, that marriage between man and woman is essential to God's eternal plan, and that children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor their marital vows with complete fidelity).
Yes, I believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, but that does not mean I think that anyone has the right to go around on a holier-than-thou crusade abusing or injuring others in any way. No one -- I repeat -- no one, is justified in treating another human being like garbage. For those who declare themselves Christians and yet lash out in hatred and vileness to those with whom they do not agree, I say they are not living up to their so-called "faith".
On the flip side, to immediately brand someone who objects to homosexual behavior or gay marriage as "bigoted" or accuse them of spewing "hate speech" is unfair and unwarranted. No one would say that someone who objects to premarital or extramarital sex is bigoted or hateful. And yet this is a label that gets tattooed on the forehead of anyone who believes that marriage should be only between a man and a woman, a fact which actor Kirk Cameron recently discovered when he spoke about the issue.
Cameron, who found fame on the sitcom "Growing Pains" back in the nineties, was promoting a new movie on Piers Morgan's CNN show when he said, "Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve. One man, one woman for life till death do you part. So I would never attempt to try to redefine marriage. And I don't think anyone else should either." When Morgan asked him whether he thought homosexuality is a sin, he expanded on his comments by saying that he felt that homosexuality was "unnatural" and that it's "detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization."
Cue public outcry.
But no one stops to think for a minute. If you sincerely believe in God, as Cameron does, and you sincerely believe that God has set limits on our sexual behavior (including that sex should be reserved only for a man and a woman who are legally married to each other) then it follows that you would be opposed to gay marriage. It also follows that anything that goes against the pattern God has laid out is "detrimental" and "ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization." This isn't bigotry. It's logic.
Responding to the accusation that his words would encourage others to "terrorize" homosexuals, Cameron had this to say: "Nobody should mistreat anybody. We all have our convictions formed by different things and mine are informed by my faith. They're formed by the word of God, and I found that to be an anchor for me, a compass, and a guide for me. When people start bullying one another and calling each other names for those different convictions, then I think you get into problems."
He's right. Respect goes both ways.
It's time we all start remembering that.