I was just asked an often-requested (or often-accused, depending on how you see it) question in an email interview for my new book Us Versus Us. Although the question has nothing to do with the scientific research behind the book, or how its groundbreaking data impacts the LGBT and conservative-religion culture war, the question is perfectly symptomatic of contemporary partisanship–and one that has brought me lots of hate along the way from both ends of the spectrum. I thought it would be interesting to post my response…
“You’ve made a point of not stating your own personal opinion about the LGBTQ issue, so as to be a better bridge builder. There are those on both sides who criticize you for your neutral position. Why do you choose to remain neutral on the issue? Do you anticipate that changing at some point in the future?”
“There is a difference between apathy and coercion, and intentional neutrality. And I remain intentionally neutral to be able to facilitate these very heightened conversations. My vocation as a bridge builder is predicated upon not taking sides. History has taught us that when people take sides (and partisan activism, by the way, is also a vocation), they lose the credibility with their other to be in sustainable dialogue with that other. I am more concerned with working towards dialogue that actually promotes a shift in social engagement and relations than standing on one side yelling at the other to change. And if that means I am at times criticized on the internet by fundamentalist progressives the same as fundamentalist conservatives, so be it. There are a lot worse things that can happen in life than people who you have never met writing mean things about you behind a computer screen. You can read more about the reasons behind my neutrality here. As for the future, my vocation is not predicated upon other people’s partisan yearnings or other people’s expectations about what I need to say or not say. As Eric Lomax, a torture victim and former POW turned peace activist, says, “sometime the hating has to stop.” My vocation as a bridge builder who remains intentionally neutral is my commitment to helping the hate to stop. And though I might be hated for helping the hate to stop, that unfortunately, comes with the territory.”
I will post the interview in its entirety when it goes live.