This is what respectful disagreement looks like.

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I spend a lot of time in spaces with people who disagree with me.

I’m gay and an evangelical Christian, so you can imagine how that goes. Some people don’t like the “gay” part; some people don’t like the “Christian” part; some people don’t mind the “Christian” part but object to the “evangelical” part; and some people are okay with all three but think that I’ve gotten things totally wrong on something else like how to interpret the Bible or what constitutes a marriage.

I’m okay with disagreement. I’m comfortable with making a clear argument for what I think is right and having someone else make a clear argument for why they think I’m wrong. That’s how we learn from each other.

What I’m not okay with is demonizing people or treating them disrespectfully. I can believe that you’re wrong—and even that your views are harmful—but still recognize the good in you and treat you with love.

So I was excited to get the opportunity to be part of a series of “respectful conversations” about human sexuality hosted by a Christian named Harold Heie. Harold has invited a number of Christians with differing viewpoints to discuss their differences in a series of essays at RespectfulConversation.net.

The first of these “conversations” is between me and my friend Eve Tushnet. Eve and I were each asked to respond to this question:

What are your beliefs about morally appropriate relationships between persons who experience same-sex attraction?

My response to the question is here:

Eve’s response to the question is here:

I then responded to Eve’s essay:

And she responded to mine:

And to wrap things up, here’s my final response to Eve:

And her final response to me:

It was a great conversation; I hope you enjoy it!