As noted in Saturday’s blog, there is great anger from various groups such as People For the American Way, and Gay and Lesbian organizations for Obama asking Rick Warren to pray at his inauguration because he supported Proposition 8. Warren supported Proposition 8 “if [Proposition 8] did not pass, then any pastor could be considered doing hate speech if he shared his views that he didn’t think homosexuality was the most natural way relationships, that that would be hate speech.”
Those who are against Proposition 8 argue that Warren’s claims are preposterous. Frankly unless the matter is clearly defined in various legislations neither side knows one way or the other how courts could rule ten or twenty years in the future. It is not uncommon for a court ruling turn out to be contrary to how legislation was first understood decades before.
One author on CBN wrote, “The tolerance crowd [liberals] has tolerance only for people who agree with them. They are blindly and hypocritically intolerant to the point of tyranny towards advocates of the Judeo-Christian tradition.” The CBN author has rightly noted an issue. That said his argument vanishes when one examines the history of the church. What the author has overlooked and left unstated for his faith community audience is that the conservative, evangelical and fundamentalist branches of the church have again and again lacked tolerance.
Going back to the Middle Ages the Church has attempted to impose its will upon civil matters. Though John Calvin felt many in Geneva were predestined to hell, he forced residents of Geneva to live by Christian precepts, including mandating everyone attend church on Sunday morning. As late as the late 1970s, Ocean Grove NJ prohibited its residents from driving cars on Sunday as it was a violation of keeping the Sabbath holy. Residents who had to travel outside Ocean Grove on Sunday had to part their vehicle in a lot outside town and beyond its locked gates.
While both side cry for tolerance and understanding from the other on a host of civil rights issues, rarely does either side grant it to the other. Instead each side screams at the other saying that the other side is out to silence the other and to dictate how the other side should believe/live. Each decries the other as being a hatemonger. Lack of such a tolerant dialogue on civil matters is a shame. Rather than acting like two pit bulls trained to attack each other with vengeance, it is time to tone down the rhetoric, sincerely listen to the other and their concerns, attempt to understand the other’s pains, concerns and fears.