I've been disturbed lately. Well, by lately I mean the last few years or so.
Disturbed by loving, devout, wonderful people who love God and Jesus and his word and use their interpretation of that word as a hammer. Or a measuring stick upon which they judge others.
Here are a few examples of things that have disturbed me:
1. I have a friend that I genuinely like and think well of. She believes that no "good" mormon (since that's what we are) could be a Democrat. Now, I'm not a registered Democrat, but neither am I a Republican and I certainly can't understand members of the LDS church who follow the Republican party the way they follow the prophet.
2. My sister's roommates told her that since she voted for Obama that she was a "baby killer". I voted for Obama. And as far as I can tell I love babies and think they should be given the chance at life.
3. A kid in my sunday school class said that since the demise of "don't ask don't tell" that he wouldn't risk his life for a gay member of his platoon. If, that is, he ever joined the armed forces and there was a gay man in his platoon and they were in a life-and-death situation.
To which I responded: "Even if this gay man was a good man? An honest, hard working and loyal soldier who would be willing to risk his life for yours?"
Then another boy piped in and said "No gay man could be a good man. That's a contradiction in terms."
I was flabbergasted. How could he think that one facet of a person's identity completely defined him and negated all his other qualities?
Yes, the scriptures say homosexuality is a sin. But they also say that we should love our neighbors like ourselves. When we hate a person for something he is how is that any different from hating the Savior? "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Right? Don't we believe that part of the Bible too?
What about the bit about "judge not that ye be not judged"?
And don't forget that when the Savior was asked what the most important commandment was he replied "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Now I don't know about you, but I believe that God created all of us. And I believe that he loves all of us. ALL of us. Not just middle-class Christian White Americans like me. He loves the Jews. He loves Muslims. He loves Blacks. He loves fat people. He loves homosexuals. He loves Republicans. He loves the French. He loves the poor. He loves drug addicts. He loves porn stars. He even loves those Enron guys, Dick Cheney, and Bernie Madoff.
I don't have a lot of answers. And I'm sure glad that I'm not the one to judge the wrongful actions of others. But this much I know: I am to love my neighbor as myself. I am to refrain from judgment. I am to worry about the kind of person I am and the way that I treat others. Anything that divides us as the children of Christ ought to be eschewed. We ought to be One.
So when I support gay marriage and any other legislation that protects the civil liberties of my brothers and sisters under Christ, don't judge me.
And I'll try to return the favor.
For additional reading of one of the most thoughtful and articulate essays I've ever read, check this out.