Vail Daily column: To disagree or not to disagree, that is my question
I wasn’t going to send in this article. But my old pastor once said, “Don’t let fear and good sense get in your way.” After reading the editor’s comments Friday, May 19, I can’t see why not.
So I enter into this discussion cautiously, compassionately and with deep concern. I enter cautiously because the well has been poisoned, so any attempt at articulating a Christian point of view will somehow be misconstrued. I enter compassionately because I genuinely care and I hope we can talk about this without being misrepresented.
And I enter concerned for three reasons. One, there is misrepresentation by people who do not know what true Christianity is, and frankly they do not care to know. Two, any disagreement with the status quo will be seen as hateful. And third, where we are headed is unstoppable. Let me explain.
I am a Christian. I believe the Bible is the Word of God. Thus, I believe marriage is to be between a man and a woman as God intended. I do not agree that marriage should be between same-sex partners. But can I do that? Can I disagree with someone and long for something different and still be seen as loving and educated?
I am starting to believe I cannot, not any more, not in America, the land of the free and home of the brave. I am beginning to see I am not free to disagree anymore. For if I am brave enough to disagree, I might be seen as unloving, uneducated, intolerant and hypocritical.
But the truth is the intolerance and hypocrisy comes from the other side. They don’t want to promote what I stand for but they want me to promote what they stand for. And I am beginning to think I cannot even state this in a nonthreatening way without repercussion. Now, before you flood the comment section with all of your facts about how I am in the dark ages, an imbecile, a Bible thumper, outdated, misguided, etc., I want to do two things: look at two definitions and ask one question.
Contend. It means to assert something as a position in an argument. Today, I am asserting a position, if that is OK with you. So please be tolerant as you read this. Tolerant. Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the word meant willing to live with beliefs that are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them. It’s a good definition and the right one, the true meaning of the term.
Words matter. To tolerate you means I can live with your beliefs but I do not have to agree with and/or promote them. To tolerate me means you can live with my beliefs but you do not have to approve of or promote them. Fair and square. However, the term tolerance has come to mean I must not only accept what you believe but promote your position. I cannot disagree. I cannot disapprove. To do so would be hateful discrimination. But you can disapprove of my position and not be seen as a hater. That’s hypocritically odd. I could go on, but I’ll move on to my question
Here’s my big question and the reason for the article. Do I have the right to disagree with you about same-sex marriage? Do I have a right on this side of the Supreme Court decision to wholeheartedly disagree? And if so, what does that look like?
I’ll ask one more time, for effect; Do I have the right to wholeheartedly disagree with same-sex marriage that’s defended by the Constitution?
Before you answer, think through this scenario. There are many atheists out there who despise religion and wholeheartedly disagree with my proclaiming salvation in the name of Jesus alone, by grace alone, through faith alone. For the most part, they think I am a lover of yesteryear when people believed in such things. They think I am leaning on the crutch of Jesus, too ignorant to stand on my own. They think I should embrace evolution as fact and stop the nonsense of biblical creation talk. And for the most part, they handle themselves with civility.
But they are disagreeing with what is now my Constitutional right. I believe atheists have the right to disagree wholeheartedly with Christianity and not support our efforts. That’s why we love America. But I am afraid that, for any loving Christian who cares for all people, this ability to disagree is coming to an end.
It does give me some hope that the powers that be at the Vail Daily allow me to say this, but I am concerned that we will soon not be able to disagree agreeably.
Judd Rumley is the lead pastor of Eagle Bible Church. He is married to Ashlea, and they are blessed with three children.