You Are Hereby Granted Permission to Evolve on Same Sex Marriage

You Are Hereby Granted Permission to Evolve on Same Sex Marriage May 14, 2012

“Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same: leave it to our bureaucrats and our police to see that our papers are in order. At least spare us their morality when we write.”

-Michel Foucault
The Archaeology of Knoweldge

The greatest thinkers change, their thinking evolves. Augustine changed as his theological career progressed — the Augustine of the Confessions is not the same as Bishop Augustine. Some think he changed for the better, I happen to think he changed for the worse.

One could argue that Paul changed, if you read his letters chronologically.

People parse the “early Wittgenstein” and the “late Wittgenstein,” because the greatest philosopher of language of the 20th century changed his mind. The same could be said of any number of great thinkers between Augustine and Wittgenstein.

Last week, President Obama spoke out about his opinion on same sex marriage. He didn’t propose any legislation, and he didn’t do it at a political rally. In calm and even tones, he explained that, while he had previously spoken of his views on homosexuality as “evolving,” he had come to the conclusion that persons in gay and lesbian relationships should be afforded all of the marital rights of heterosexual persons.

Some have opined that this is a weakness in his character. But no, it’s just the opposite. His ability to change his mind on this moral issue is a strength.

Obama said that he came to his current view after talking to his daughters and his wife, watching gay members of his staff in long-term relationships, and thinking of the members of the military who are in committed same sex relationships (but denied many rights afforded to married couples). He also said that he was guided by his Christian faith.

He’d been pressured by both sides of this debate, and he surely had to weigh the political cost of speaking out, or of staying silent.

Regardless of the politics for him — or the politics for you in your workplace, your church, your school, or your family — know this: It is a strength of mind and character to be able to evolve in your thinking on a topic.

Do not be afraid to change your mind.

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