Let’s Do Better

On Friday, June 24, 2011, New York State joined five other states and Washington, D.C. by legalizing same-sex marriage.  Almost immediately the news spread across social networking sites.  Among those supporting the actions of the New York State senate were many celebrities including talk show hosts, actors, and musicians.  Many of their followers also joined in by responding to their posts.  Some applauded their position while others expressed their disagreement.  What was most disheartening, was not on which side a person was found, but rather the tone of the conversation.

For the record, I am against same-sex marriage.  This position is completely religious in nature.  I am not homophobic, nor do I hate homosexuals.  I do not feel that I am better than they, nor do I feel I have a monopoly on goodness.  I simply feel that marriage is a sacred institution ordained of God to be between a man and a woman.  Nevertheless, I know that all people do not agree with me and it does not make them my enemy just because we are not on the same page.

As I read some of the dialogue on this subject, I found it very disheartening.  Many that are opposed to same-sex marriage expressed their view by stating their loss of respect for the person on whose post they were commenting.  Some stated that they would no longer listen to or buy their music.  Others resorted to name calling by using words such  as “pervert”.  Some screamed their position by way of using all capitals.  All this was done in the name of Christianity.

Those representing their support of same-sex marriage were not any better.  Anyone who disagreed with them was a bigot living in the dark ages. Such disagreement also was cause to label them idiots who believe in God and the Bible.  The criticizers also saw their objectors as nothing but people filled with hate, even those who did not express their position in a disdainful manner.

Although I believe that both sides are completely out of line in their approach, wherein this dialogue is concerned I think that I am a little more disappointed in those who share my view on this issue.  Most who disagree with same-sex marriage do so because of their religious beliefs.  Because of this, I take the assumption that they believe in God and want to follow His commandments.  Although God may want us to take a stand on such issues, I personally believe He would want us to do so in a more compassionate manner.  Wouldn’t He want us to see that there is more to a person than just their homosexuality?  Wouldn’t he want us to also look for the good in a person?

The classically influenced pop singer, Josh Groban, was one musician who applauded New York for its recent vote.  Does God now want us to no longer listen to Josh’s beautiful music?  Does disagreement on an issue mean that we can no longer respect a person for his wonderful gifts and talents?  I also think of Ellen Degeneres.  She is hilarious.  She brings the gift of laughter to so many.  Although I do not know much about her, I assume that she is a good human being.  Can we not enjoy her quick wit and humor because she is a lesbian or does God really want us to determine a person’s worth based solely on her sexual orientation?  I am not speaking of supporting entertainment or media whose content promotes lifestyles with which one may disagree, but rather about looking for and enjoying the good in a fellow child of God.

Since I am in no position to speak for God, I guess these are questions that each person must answer for himself.  But, I believe that it is possible to stand firm in one’s beliefs while at the same time seeing the beauty and goodness in everyone.  I believe in God and strive to keep His commandments, but if people want to see only the bad in me and with what they disagree, I guarantee that they can and will find it.  I would rather them look for the good and therefore that is what I intend to do.  I will continue to listen to Josh Groban’s music and I will enjoy Ellen Degeneres’ humor on occasion. We do not have to be enemies in disagreement.  We can be examples of the believers.  We can be bearers of God’s love for all of His children.  In doing so, we will all find that we have helped make our world a better place.

Remember that 2 Plus 2 Doesn’t Always Equal 4                                                                     [And please take time to read my original post to understand Why the Title of this Blog? (Feb. 17, 2011)]

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11 responses to “Let’s Do Better

  1. Oh, boy. I do agree with you on this issue. To me–it really doesn’t matter what a person’s sexuality is, as long as the person doesn’t try to “convert” me (sorry, I just thought of the episode of Ellen Degeneres’s television show in which Laura Dern got a toaster for helping Ellen “out of the closet”). But I don’t want someone to call me a bigot because I don’t wholeheartedly support gay rights, just like I don’t want someone to call me a bleeding heart liberal because I don’t oppose gay rights. I just believe that people have to live with the consequences of their decisions, whether it be related to their sexuality, views on abortion rights (again–if you choose to end your child’s life, you have to deal with your conscience, not me). etc. Too many people have killed “in the name of God,” so I’m pretty skeptical about using the Bible to support or contradict gay rights.

    By the way–what is a bit surprising at this point is who HASN’T spoken out about this issue. Maybe it’s because they really don’t see it as that big a deal.

  2. sometimes I think there is so much more to genes than we realize…you totally hit the nail on the head as far as I am concerned…no one in this world shares my views like you do…think we take after Grandpa Larson???

  3. Thank you for this post Jeannie. I rarely discuss same-sex marriage with anyone because of the hateful turn it takes, most usually by the person that disagrees with my position. I have recently had to grapple with my own feelings concerning homosexual relationships because of family members that are gay.
    I am embarrassed to admit that I allowed my relationship with a cousin dwindle because people weren’t willing to discuss, or accept that he was gay and I allowed myself to fall into that trap because, I admit, his lifestyle made me a tad uncomfortable.
    His partner of 20 years passed away earlier this year due to ALS. They had a strong and loving relationship, and it was difficult to watch my cousin deal with fact that the love his life was gone. I have since tried to be much more supportive, loving and in contact with him.
    None of this changes the fact that the prophet has told us that same-sex marriage is not condoned in the sight of God. Therefore, I find myself on the side of opposing same-sex marriage. Quite honestly, though, I would rather see a child raised in a loving, stable home with parents of the same sex than an abusive one. It is such a complex issue…
    Sadly, people cannot discuss it without anger and hate. This issue, I believe, will be a great divider. It makes me incredibly sad that respect cannot seemed to be displayed on either side of the fence.

  4. I agree with you wholeheartedly, everything you said. I would also add that at times I have felt very frustrated by the media because I feel like every single time I watch t.v. or movies I am literally having homosexuality shoved down my throat. It seems that Hollywood can literally not make a movie or show w/out the token gay person. I know a few people w/ homosexual tendencies but they are only a small percentage of people that I know in life, and yet I don’t know that they’re in front of my face shoving down their “doctrine” near as much as the media. I have come to realize two things: perhaps the way the media forces the issue puts some people on defense (I know I have felt defensive) for their family’s/children’s sake. Whether it’s right or wrong, I don’t know, but it could be that these people are trying to take an active stand against the bull-dozing effect I personally have noticed in the media and in all honesty I have felt a desire to combat myself for my children’s sake. The second thing I have realized is that through my relationships with people who are homosexual, most of them are not shoving it in my face. That is completely a media thing–they are using it for their political platforms–and the general public just wants to peaceably co-exist. It has helped diffuse some of my frustration with the media by realizing that it is a very small minority (even though they make it seem like the majority) that are that extreme.

  5. Some great views here. You picked a good topic here. I like blogging of current events. I agree with you. More sorry to hear of the “tone” of the conversation than of the actual events. I am mostly on the side of tolerance but i understand where the bible stands on the matter. So realize why folks would be uptight about it or somewhat Leary. I agree with Karen’s comment about killing in the name of God. Extremely against ridicule or stoneings for homosexuality or other sins for that matter Arguing is fine but i hate to see it go ugly or violent. Never a good way to solve problems. Afraid that it will always be a touchy subject. I admire Jeannie and you other gals responses on the matter. Wish everyone could act like us and at least agree to disagree. The key word to me is RESPECT for everyone or the golden rule always rings true. Treat others how you wish to be treated. What is right or wrong i merely opt to as not to speculate on the matter .Especially in classifying myself as a non religious. Seeing in how i don’t vow to have an answer. I like to hear others opinions tough as to help my curiosity as to which side to lean toward. But many people think being a fence sitter is not a good way to be. Maybe a tad odd? idk

    • You know Roxana I have also heard that being a fence sitter is not good. I am not sure I agree with that, though. I am sure at times it could be true, but I also believe there are times when the issues are extremely complicated. There can be valid arguments from both sides. When this happens, I believe a fence sitter is one who recognizes the complexity of the issue and realizes that there are no easy answers. Perhaps they are the ones who are willing to listen to both sides. Maybe they do have a place in the world. Maybe they can be the moderator.

  6. I think it’s really a shame that this is not something that people generally can agree to disagree about. I understand why that is, though. Although I am also against same-sex marriage and I <i<do believe that homosexuality is a sin, I don’t feel that I need to condemn people for their choices, especially knowing that they have such a different background than I do. Still, I wish calling it a sin could somehow be less of a condemnation… (although it sort of has to be, I guess. There’s a reason prophets throughout the ages have “called people to repentance”. It’s not a fun job, but one that is done for the good of the individual. And I realize that this all sounds so self-righteous to advocates. And I hate that.)

  7. while i agree that the discussion of this topic would be much better if there was much more respect coming from both sides, there is a very simple reason that this topic is one that no one can seem to agree to disagree on. when we agree to disagree, there is no progress made. we only find progress through argument. this argument can, and should be, both civil and rational. we humans very often fall short, and resort to insults, name-calling, and other sorts of irrational argument. however in the end, it is usually the civil, rational, and respectful arguments that win out, as it should be. should the women fighting for equal rights and equal protection under the law have been content to agree to disagree? no. should african americans have been content to agree to disagree that segregation was an acceptable and fair policy? no. should couples of mixed race have just agreed to disagree and moved to states where interracial marriage was allowed, and left the rest of the country alone? no. whenever a minority seeks a right or privilege enjoyed by the majority, but withheld from that minority, they cannot agree to disagree. that only preserves the status quo and keeps the minority disenfranchised and marginalized.

  8. “Since I am in no position to speak for God” … no, you’re not. Nobody is. While I enjoy the “civil” tone of your blog, I feel that our species has evolved a bit too far for any right-thinking person to think that an invisible man in the sky is preoccupied with two consenting adults being married, especially if they were “created in god’s image.” This blog wouldn’t have needed to be written if there were not millions of people who used their religious belief as a platform to hinder civil progress. Your belief that some kind of god actually cares about this issues is exactly that.

    If there was ample scientific research to prove that same-sex marriage would be harmful to the well-being of our species, then you’d have something to write about. But because the very core of this debate is based on old, tired, ancient writings about an invisible man in the sky, the entire blog is moot.

    A grown, independent-thinking adult should not have to feel “torn” between what they feel might be “right” vs. what their religious leaders tell them they should feel. Like other developed nations in this world, it is time for the U.S. to grow up and stop letting invisible men hinder legislative progress. “Equal” is much different than “separate but equal,” and I hope your religious teachers would derive this from Jesus’ teachings and that you won’t want to be judged by future generations just as we curiously judge slavery and lack of women’s rights.

    • It is interesting that you resorted to the same type of criticism that I spoke of in my blog. You are criticizing and showing a lack of tolerance for religious people. If I understand you right, what you are saying is that all people should be able to answer to their own conscious and as a civil society we should respect one anothers right to do so. Yet, you are unwilling to respect a person’s right to worship a God because you cannot see Him nor do you understand Him. Unfortunately, for so many in this world, seeing is believing. We saw this when Osama Bin Laden was killed. People wanted to see the pictures as if that would prove anything. I submit for those people who did not believe, they would not have believed the pictures either. Seeing is not believing in today’s world, nor does one have to see something to know that it is real.

      As far as your comment, “This blog wouldn’t have needed to be written if there were not millions of people who used their religious belief as a platform to hinder civil progress.” , if homosexuality were the norm, it also would not have to be written because the species would not propagate. And it being ‘civil progress’ is greatly debatable. I also assure you that this ‘grown, independent thinking adult’ does not have to be told by her religious leaders as to what is right. If you knew more about me, I am sure you would understand this. In fact, I have often come under scrutiny for this very reason.

      Last of all, your last comment about being judged by future generations as are those who participated in slavery and/or lack of women’s rights is one that I hear often. I really do not find it applicable. We are not keeping individuals from practicing homosexuality; we are simply defining what we believe marriage in a civil society should be. According to you, we should have a right to do that and we should not be treated like second class citizens for having a different opinion than you. Yet, even if there is a chance that future generations will judge me harshly, that is a risk I am willing to take to have the right to believe as I choose.

      I do appreciate your comments. I really do understand that all people are not going to think like me, but I still believe that true civil progress is disagreeing with civility. I hope you feel that we have both done that.

  9. Interesting that in order to challenge your original post this fellow felt obliged to take a swipe at all worship of deity, not of a particular religion, or even of Christianity, but apparently of all semblance of deity worship. I don’t know if the majority of the group he purports to champion would go along with that view. Reasonably certain that no-one who’s been in the bottom of a foxhole during a firefight would go along with him. Still, he’s certainly not the only atheist out there. It just seems to remove any common ground. So is this a discussion that can’t be had with atheists?

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