My last post, addressing Kirk Cameron’s statements about homosexuality during an interview with Piers Morgan, prompted a comment from someone I do not know. This individual responded to my post with this comment:
“No tolerance is living YOUR life YOUR WAY, and letting other people live THEIR LIVES, THEIR WAY. I don’t interfere in Mr. Cameron’s choice of who he’s going to spend his life with nor am I interested in what sort of consensual sex he has. The LGBT community would certainly appreciate it if he didn’t concern himself with our lives either. Scripture (and its interpretation) is only of interest to those who follow it, certainly not to those who do not.”
This comment reveals several important points that are relevant to an issue that includes, but is larger than, discussion of homosexuality. First, the commenter argues that tolerance means letting everyone live their lives in their own way, without interference from others. Interestingly, however, it has not traditionally been those who are opposed to homosexuality and other hot button issues in the tolerance discussion that have dragged the issue out of the realm of the private and into the realm of the public. In the specific instance that was the basis for my last entry, it is important to recall that Cameron’s remarks came in response to a question that he was asked–and a question that was not consistent with the reasons he had been led to believe that he was on the show. Had Mr. Morgan asked Mr. Cameron a question about his new documentary, and Mr. Cameron proceeded to contort his answer in such a way that provided an opportunity to speak out against homosexuality then the comment above would have merit. In light of the reality of the situation, however, his comment does not hold water.
This principle holds true for the entire matter of homosexuality. I am not aware of anyone in this country going around suggesting that homosexuality should be a crime, or that engaging in homosexual behavior should result in criminal or civil penalties. On the contrary, there are many people–most them plenty noisy and aggressive–who are suggesting that homosexual couples should be granted the same rights as heterosexual couples, that marriage should be redefined to include a man and a man or a woman and a woman, and that the legal protections, rights and benefits that have always been reserved for marriage should be extended to include homosexual couples. Who, then, is interfering with whom? It is the LGBT community that is actively seeking to force its views on everyone else. If asked, I am confident that Mr. Cameron would say that homosexual behavior is unnatural and is a sin. So would I. But I also feel confident saying that Mr. Cameron would not suggest that two consenting adults engaging in homosexual behavior should be criminalized, and neither would I. Put differently, if the LGBT community would, as my commenter suggested, live their lives their way and let others live their lives their own way, the issue would pretty much go away. Issues such as homosexual marriage, sodomy, birth control and others deal with issues that should be private, and if they were kept private rather than brought out into the open by those who actually want to destroy their own definition of tolerance and force their positions on everyone else, they would not be nearly the controversy that they are. There are people who believe that the use of contraception is a sin. I do not know of anyone, however, who has argued that the manufacture and sale of contraception should be outlawed. There are those, however, who believe, and argue strongly, that contraception should not be paid for by the government. This only became an issue when those on the other side of the argument began demanding that the government pay for contraception, claiming that contraception is a right.
The second element of my commenter’s statement is that Scripture is only of interest to those who follow it, and not to those who do not. I hope the individual who took the time to leave the comment does not think that he has just advanced a novel or arresting argument, because it is disingenuous and, quite frankly, obvious. I am not suggesting, nor, in my opinion, was Mr. Cameron suggesting, that what Scripture says should be forced on everyone in our country. We live in a representative democracy, not a theocracy. We live under a government “of the people, by the people and for the people,” meaning that “we the people” have the right and the responsibility to be actively involved in the affairs of government, to make our voices heard, and to seek to effect the changes we believe should be made.
That does not mean that those who believe the Bible should not speak out in accordance with their beliefs. The same right that an unbeliever has to say he does not believe it is held by those who believe it and have their opinions and convictions shaped by its teaching. The presentation of arguments is a required, and healthy, part of the democratic process.
So here’s what it comes down to, sir… If you, and the LGBT community at large, want to keep your positions to yourselves and live your lives in such a way that do not interfere with mine, then we would probably get along just fine. I will continue to believe that you are living in sin, but I will also continue to love you with Christ’s love. You will be free to continue to think that I am an arrogant and bigoted Bible-thumper, and you can love me or hate me, or just plain ignore me, the choice is up to you. But if you, and the LGBT community at large, is going to continue to actively seek to redefine foundational elements of our heritage, our law and our culture, please be prepared for to speak out against those redefinitions. If you want to argue passionately for your beliefs, convictions and opinions, please respect my right to do the same thing. If you want to ignore the Scripture, please respect my desire to embrace it. You just cannot have it both ways.
Oh, and one last thing, for Piers Morgan and anyone else…if you ask a question, have the decency to respect the other person’s answer even if it is one with which you completely disagree. Isn’t that actually what freedom of speech is all about?