Disagreeing with one another about whether or not hubcap hurling should be recognized by the International Olympic Committee or whose mamma fries the best chicken are differences of opinion about which we can happily agree to disagree.
Disagreeing about whether not I can, without fear, hold the hand of the one I love anywhere, any time or whether or not I should be granted the same civil rights as others based on who God created me to be, based on who I love, is not merely a disagreement or difference of opinion. It is a dehumanizing framework that relegates a whole population to second class citizens based on prejudices that are steeped in ignorance, fear and a conviction that our humanity is intrinsically of less value than others.
As Conor Gaughan says, we’re not arguing over chicken…
When gays get so angry about a chicken sandwich, it is because Chick-fil-A has given around $5 million to fight to discriminate against us. When we praise brave Eagle Scouts who give up their badges in protest of the Boy Scouts of America’s prejudice, it’s not about scoring political points; it’s because there are kids in dens who are being taught to believe that they are less than equal. When we rant about the pastor who preaches that gays should be thrown into a concentration camp, we scream out of fear. And our fears are justified — in the last seven days, a lesbian in Nebraska was carved with a knife, a gay man in Oklahoma was firebombed, and a girl in Kentucky was kicked and beaten — her jaw broken and her teeth knocked out — while her assailants allegedly hurled anti-gay slurs at her.
And friends, for me that’s just flat unacceptable no matter what flag or holy text it’s wrapped in.
That is NOT something about which I will happily agree to disagree. That behavior is built on ethical scaffolding that is contrary to the supposed American values of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and justice for ALL. It is unChristian behavior that is contrary to the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Sometimes I will speak up tenderly and with compassion by lifting up our shared stories to help shift the metanarrative of spiraling polarization. Other times I am called to speak with razor sharp clarity that unmistakably identifies hate and injustice where it stands. Anything less is complicit with my own dehumanization. Anything less is a sin that rejects my relationship with God and all of creation.