Big things are stirring in our world, and I want you to know how my mind works when I think on them. I don’t mean the approaching season premiere of Game of Thrones or Mad Men. (Hurray for both, though) I’m thinking of the current Same Sex Marriage debate. If Facebook is any indication, then your generation ‘Gives a Damn’ as Ms Goldberg says you ought, and she’s right to say so, though wrong to say that only those who agree with her do so.
As long as the discussion is an honest and clear one, then we all know what we’re up to, and can make decisions thoughtfully and out in the open; but if we allow bumper sticker mottoes (from either side) to keep us from actually thinking through the issues, then our actions will be neither thoughtful nor brave; but more importantly they are not likely to be truly helpful or loving, despite our best intentions.
So I’m sincerely grateful for the debate, but I’m very concerned that people are confused over what is being debated. That’s a big deal- both for you and your friends- because each of you is incredibly compassionate and empathetic. I’m very proud of that. I’m sure it’s your mother’s doing. Anyway, I know that you’ve chosen the same sorts of people to be your friends. So when the discussion is couched in terms of equality, hatred or fairness I know where your conscience desires to go; and I’m sure this creates a crisis for you because you know I’m ‘again the Same Sex Marriage business. Of course you know me pretty well, and you know that both you and I want to be found on the side of justice, love and fairness. So I hope it’s obvious that I don’t believe these things are what are being debated.
No one ought to be mistreated.
So over the next little bit I hope to give you my two cents on what I see to be the central issues. I’ll tackle them one at a time. Try to keep it short. I’m thoughtful like that :-), but before I do, I want you to know that I won’t be discussing (in these posts, anyway) whether I think homosexual behavior is a right or wrong, good or bad for ya. I’m going to leave that alone for two reasons.
First, the current debate is not about whether homosexual relationships are a good or bad thing. People claim otherwise, but it’s not. The debate is whether marriage ought to be redefined so that we can honestly speak of extending it to same sex couples. I would think that one could be all in favor of homosexual relationships and yet be opposed to redefining marriage. Think of a brother and sister who might pool their resources and move in together so as to care for an aging parent (or each other) in a committed way. That would be a good thing, but you could still argue that we shouldn’t extend marriage to include their committed relationship. Maybe you see what I mean.
Second, I want to argue as much as possible in terms that we all have in common. Not everyone shares our Xian vision of reality; and I’m pretty convinced that arguments against homosexual relationships depend on sex having a particular meaning. While I believe everyone in their hearts knows that sex is never just about sex, I recognize that not everyone agrees on what that meaning is.
So …. hope I don’t embarrass you. Would love to hear your thoughts, and am open to the possibility that I am wrong in some way- unlikely as we all know that to be 🙂 My thoughts have been shaped by others, and much of what I’ll share is available in a much more lucid and thorough form elsewhere. If you ask, I’ll point the way.
Next up, let’s talk about that Equality Sign.
All my love,
Letter II– Equality
Letter III– Institutions
Letter IV– Human Stuff