A different perspective.

Two days ago, I posted a little piece on Amendment One, the North Carolina amendment reinforcing the existing ban on same-sex marriage. It was a little something I posted mostly to encourage my gay and gay-supportive friends to try to understand those who don’t agree with them, instead of just labeling them all “bigots” and moving on.

Then that post went viral, and I got more comments than all the other posts on this blog put together. Wow!

Yesterday, I decided to change the subject with a more lighthearted post about being vulnerable. That had some fun comments, but it’s the gay marriage post people are still flocking to in droves.

So today, I’d like to revisit the gay marriage question from a different perspective.

Last time, I encouraged my friends in favor of gay marriage to try to understand those who disagree with them. I’m going to revisit that topic in more depth in a future post. Today, I’d like to encourage my friends opposed to gay marriage to try to understand the other side as well.

The following video has been making its way around the internet in recent days, and for good reason. It’s incredibly powerful. If you support gay marriage, I’m sure you’ll agree with the video’s message, but this post isn’t really for you. It’s for my readers who oppose gay marriage.

I know that many of my readers are wonderful Christian folks who have a moral opposition to same-sex marriage. You believe that the Bible is clear on the subject, and as Christians, you want to treat gay people with love but not condone or encourage their sin. I completely understand, and I’m not asking you to change your mind on that.

As Christians, though, I believe that when we want to show love to others, it’s important for us to try to understand the people we want to show love to. If your view on this is different from mine, then it helps me to treat you with love if I can understand why you believe what you do and why it’s important to you. It doesn’t mean I’ll change my mind; it just means that I can put myself in your shoes and use that information to help me treat you with respect.

So if you oppose civil marriage for same-sex couples but genuinely want to understand the perspective of a gay person who supports it, I invite you to take ten minutes out of your day to listen to a young man named Shane Bitney Crone explain why this is so important to him. (Seriously, it’s ten minutes; I would hope that all of us as Christians could take ten minutes out of our days to understand our fellow human beings.)

Some who haven’t gotten to know me or haven’t carefully read what I’m saying here will misunderstand, thinking that I posted this to try to change people’s minds on gay marriage. That’s not it at all. Others will be angry with me because they think I should be taking this opportunity to argue for same-sex marriage. But I’m hoping that the majority of you will understand my real point—this is the most divisive social issue of our time, and if we as Christians are going to live out Christ’s love for those on both sides of the issue, it’s vital that we take the time to get to know them and see where they’re coming from.

Shane’s video doesn’t change anything about what the Bible says or how you interpret it; it doesn’t answer any theological or moral questions about gay sex. What it does do is help us understand where someone like him is coming from, and what’s important to him. And that is something that all of us, on both sides, should do more often for one another. It’s about toning down the rhetoric, which as Rachel Held Evans beautifully pointed out this week, is probably the single most important thing the church must do to avoid losing an entire generation.