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Monday, November 3, 2008

Divided States of America

The election process is as exciting as it is demoralizing. In one sense, I will be glad when it's all over, but in another sense, it has awakened something within me which should never lie dormant.

I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on U.S. history, so I won't even try to address how our country came to be, and how it has evolved (devolved?) over the past 232 years.

For the record, I believe and support the right of Americans to believe whatever they believe, as long as those beliefs do not infringe upon the rights of others. If you do not believe the way I do, that is your right. Thank God we don't live in a country which could land us in prison, or worse, for our beliefs.

It is so difficult when I see our country so polarized during election season. Passion is a wonderful thing, but I just hate to see that passion turn from what we believe, to attacking those with whom we disagree.

While I hate to see what this does to our American brothers and sisters, there is an issue on the California ballot which is placing a significant wedge even in the Christian community. Of course, I'm speaking of Proposition 8.

I'm choosing my next words very carefully.

I speak only for myself here. I am voting for Prop. 8. But let me tell you that in doing so, I am not against homosexuals. I do not hate, though I am accused of doing so because of my beliefs. I do not wish ill upon anyone. My position is solely based on my biblical convictions of how marriage was intended. God created marriage, and when doing so, it was designed to be shared between man and woman. Now if you don't believe in the bible and God, then you can easily call me some kind of ignorant religious kook. That would show a great lack of respect for what I believe, and that is where our passion turns into a personal attack. But if you examine my reason, it is not personal. If you can respect that my reason is sincere and based upon something bigger than myself, hopefully we can walk away from this with our friendship in tact no matter how the election turns out.

I have homosexual friends. I have even recently reached out to one of them by email to try and express that while he believes he has been abandoned by his family and friends over this issue, I believe that those who love him and know him are not using this matter as some kind of battering ram of judgment or hate. Unfortunately, there are some who are horribly judgmental and have cast people like me under a very dark shadow. What is unique about this one particular friend of mine is that he is a Christian. In the truest sense, the life he leads makes himself something of a house divided. But then again, aren't we all? We all have things in our lives which cause an inner conflict. But for him, whether it's dealing with his very conservative family, or the friends he came to know through his many years of Christian education and service, he finds himself right in the middle of a spiritual, emotional and political firestorm.

I read a quote over the weekend which I found simple, yet profound:

Christian conservatives = their Biblical views shape their political views
Christian liberals = their political views shape their Biblical views


I hesitate to use the labels of conservative and liberal, and I don't believe this quote is absolute. But I guess these are terms we can find easy to recognize and understand. I have found in many of my "liberal" Christian friends that they consider themselves as being highly enlightened and intellectual. Those who disagree with them are less intelligent, unsympathetic, and ignorant. I was watching Mike Huckabee on television last night when he was having a debate with Bill Maher regarding the subject of faith. Huckabee's response about faith was as in depth, honest and simple to understand as anything I've ever heard. So with that, I will end this post by sharing this conversation with you. If you don't have the time to watch the entire video, I encourage you to skip ahead to about the 7:49 mark of the video and watch the last 3 minutes of it. To me, this is how two people on opposite, WAY opposite sides can debate, disagree, yet respect and like one another when it's all said and done.


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