Things are getting serious when all my tolerant friends are intolerant. It bothers me when my friends start putting up fences and locking the doors to the inclusive club. Since my high school days, there have always been those around me who have been so flabbergasted by my view on marriage and family. It’s as if they are saying, “Didn’t you get the memo? Our generation is inclusive; we are tolerant. And we don’t have any tolerance…er…patience for puritanical, close minded, brain washed conservatives”
There is something very wrong with my generation when they wave the banner of peace, understanding, and tolerance, and then call me a hate monger when I share my views. So, I need to ask the question of my generation before they put the super glue on my lips and ask me to purse: does disagreement with a view automatically mean you hate them?
Before you count my chickens before they’re hatched, this is not another article about Chic Fil-a. Although, I must say that it just may be the tastiest stuff in our small corner of the Milky Way and could probably make even the strictest vegetarian compromise in a moment of weakness. However, it’s not my goal to defend their rights to speech, business, and the liberty to have their own view on the family. My problem is my generation; my beef is not just the chicken-haters, but my snarky friends who argue for tolerance with their hands around your neck.
Just so my cards are on the table: I’m a conservative, evangelical Christian, who thinks that the traditional view on marriage is the right one, and who really, really, loves homosexual people. Throughout high school I had to explain to many of my friends why I thought that homosexuality was wrong, how my beliefs influence my actions, and how my disagreement with homosexuality does not entail homophobia, hate speech, or any affiliation with Westboro Baptist Church.
Over the last few weeks I have heard people call dear friends in my faith things like “homophobes” and “hateful”. When I enquire the reasoning for this, it is not because they have said anything particularly hateful, but rather hold a viewpoint that is different from their own. Really? Has it come to this, Generation Tolerance? Has our tolerance become intolerable? Is it no longer possible for opposing views to exist in the atmosphere of conversation without kicking out the opinion that disagrees with your own?
I am sincerely sorry for the actions of many Christians who have wronged those they disagree with; however, that does not mean conversations have to end with the one interaction. When you have a bad plate of food you don’t give up on eating, you push the dish to the side (or try to “tolerate” it), and eat your next meal with hopeful expectations. You don’t call food dirty names like “garbage”, “poison”, and “taste bud hater” just because of your singular experience.
We Christians have much to learn from this recent debacle. Has your temperature sky rocketed at the thought of being maligned or not tolerated? Now, remember that feeling next time you want to shut someone down who does not agree with your viewpoint. Listening to someone does not mean you agree with them. We would do well if we would apply “treat others how you want to be treated” to public discourse and the exchange of ideas and viewpoints. Let us keep the faith with all vigilance – with tears in our eyes for our dying world and eager ears longing for understanding.
So please, let’s save the mud slinging for November and get on with the issues. There are a group of twenty-somethings who want to talk about these things. Yes, we think that marriage matters, family is important, and want to be a part of the conversation. No, we do not agree with the popular opinions of Gaga and the Muppets; however, we would like to talk about why. And maybe, just maybe, we won’t be the monsters that some people so desperately want us to be.