Fannie’s post “Not a Christian, But” has provoked a lot of discussion that started with Linus asking:
[D]o you think it is possible for Christians of good will to hold their traditional moral beliefs about controversial topics such as sexuality, while also seeking to cultivate positive relationships with their LGBT family members and neighbors?
La Lubu put it succintly when she said that
If your faith—no matter how conservative—stops at the boundaries of your life, we’re cool. Once you start intruding into my life, we’re not.
When Lucy answered that she believes Linus’s question can only be answered negatively, Linus asked:
I’d love to have a discussion about why you think my question can only be answered negatively? Why does this issue polarize to the point that we can’t disagree constructively and respectfully? Is respectful disagreement (the baseline of any “positive relationship”) unattainable?
I’d be interested in hearing reactions to this last question of Linus’s.
I’ll start by offering a couple thoughts of my own.
First, to clear some things up in the discussion, I should make it clear that I — a Catholic who seeks to be faithful to the Church’s teaching on all things pertaining to faith and morals — do not believe that moral objections to homosexual acts should be the basis for a state defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Given the pluralistic context within which we live, the state’s interest should not be that of regulating the private relationships of people – but should have everything to do with a child’s right to know and to be known by their biological mother and father.
I’m not interested in making laws to stop gay people from being gay. To me, this conversation is a non-political one — though making headway in this conversation could perhaps ground the political debate in more mutual respect and charity.
Second, I disagree with La Lubu that one’s faith should stop at the boundaries of his or her life. If I have a Muslim friend who sincerely believes that Christianity is false, I fully expect him to engage me in conversation and try to persuade me to join the Muslim faith. Of course, if he uses force to accomplish the goal of conversion, then we have problems! But is his view that my Christian religion is false — is that necessarily a bigoted view? I don’t think so. Instead, I take it as a sign of his integrity and respect for truth that he is willing to engage me in conversation about what he believes to be true, good and beautiful — and as someone who cares about my welfare, he wants me to help me to see the truth, goodness, and beauty of the Muslim religion. So he makes arguments, tries to get me to go his mosque, is constantly inviting me to read books about Islam, etc. Far from crossing a personal boundary into my personal life, I hope I would take all those attempts to convert me as a sign of genuine friendship and concern for my welfare.
So, in answer to Linus’s question: I don’t think the conversation between me (a person with traditional views on sex) and a LGBT friend has to be hopelessly polarized — so long as charity and respect for truth are at the foundation of the friendship.
But I’d be interested in what everyone else thinks about Linus’s question’s to Lucy:
I’d love to have a discussion about why you think my question can only be answered negatively? Why does this issue polarize to the point that we can’t disagree constructively and respectfully? Is respectful disagreement (the baseline of any “positive relationship”) unattainable?”