1. It was never my intention to offend anyone with my posts. Although I did share the pictures or updates from others, I do not personally 'Like' all of the profiles that the pictures or updates came from. The only thing I am sharing is that one specific comment, viewpoint, or joke...I am not sharing the profile.
Since Facebook is a public forum that allows me to share my thoughts and feelings with others, I have utilized it this past week in support of something I am passionate about. I do not use it as a forum for my personal beliefs that often and the people who have expressed to me that they were offended by some of my shares are people that know who I am and where I stand in my beliefs outside of Facebook.
Although these same people that have approached me about being offended have posted their own updates and shares over time that I find personally offensive, I don't feel that they owe it to me to explain themselves or to apologize to me. I also don't find it necessary to let them know that they have offended me by posting on their own personal page nor do I think of them or treat them differently when we next meet. I know who they are, I know how they love, and I know where they stand. Offensive postings or not, I know them well enough to know that is not 100% of who they are...it's just an exaggerated take on one of their beliefs.
I am a firm believer that we all are who we are and believe what we believe for different reasons that are specific and unique to each of us individually. Although I may not agree with someone, I know they have their reasons and I would rather understand why they feel that way instead of trying to convince them that they are wrong. I always strive to make someone else understand why I have the opinion I do in an attempt to provoke thought. I would like to think that in a perfect world, we could all be like that but sadly, this is not a perfect world.
One of my Facebook friends posted this yesterday as their profile picture without any explanation as to why they feel that a legal marriage contract is strictly for a man and a woman.
This person has every right to post a picture that opposes my view point. I see how it is not fair to think poorly of them simply because they posted this as a statement of what they believe in. But I most certainly do not agree with the way they chose to support traditional marriage and do not feel I am owed an apology for what I consider to be a lack of tact and good judgement.
As I always say, the first amendment gives everyone the right to say what they really think and feel. But everyone must always remember that when you open your mouth, everyone else reserves the right to think you're an asshole for what comes out of it. Me included.
So again, I apologize to those people that felt inundated with my postings or who were too sensitive to this issue to see what I really meant by them. That was not my intention.
2. As many of my closest friends know, even after searching tirelessly for my place in the religious world, I still consider myself to be a non-Christian. Not because I don't believe in Jesus or his teachings. Not because I don't believe in God. Not because I choose to live a life filled with sin instead. But because I am doing just that...searching. I am not ready to be baptized or to turn over my heart to Jesus because frankly, I don't really understand what any of that truly means.
I was not raised with religion, church, or the Bible. I grew up thinking that Easter was about eggs and chocolate and Christmas was about gifts and family. Jesus being born and rising from the dead were not even in my realm of understanding.
When I moved to the south, I made friends with people who WERE raised in a Christian environment. And these were (and still are) REALLY good people! So I started to seek my place in religion. Was it for me? The only way I could find out was by learning as much as I could about Christianity, the Bible, and Jesus. I occasionally attended church, I helped raise money for mission trips, I joined a life group, I asked questions of people that were raised Christian.
After spending the past 9 years of my adult life researching and asking and debating, I feel that while I am certainly no scholar, I have a REALLY firm grasp on what it means not to just be a Christian, but to be a follower of Jesus....
It means to live your life by his example knowing that you are never going to be perfect and that's OK.
My grasp is so firm on this that I have a very hard time trying to comprehend how others could be fully immersed in Christianity their whole lives and not understand the same meaning that I have come to learn.
While my basic level of understanding of who Jesus was, what he was about, and what he expected of us does not have any bearing on my political view points, it does play a huge part in why I don't understand anyone's opposition to equal marriage rights for all American citizens. At the end of the day, legalizing gay marriage is not about what is right or wrong in the eyes of God's law but about what is right or wrong in the eyes of MAN'S law.
In all of the studying, question asking, and Googling I have done, I have yet to find a passage of scripture that states a government of men are required to force their citizens to live by God's laws. As a matter of fact, what I HAVE learned is that you can lead a man to Jesus but you can't make him hand over his heart to him. That is where faith comes into play, not force.
So if your viewpoint is that a gay man or lesbian woman is not Christian because of their sexuality and therefore should be forced into following God's laws, then you are not living as Jesus would. You are passing judgment on someone else's faith and you are forcing someone to live by a set of rules that only God can enforce. Not the US government.
The reason why I have an issue with people who choose to use their religious beliefs as reason to publicly oppose and vote against equal rights marriage laws is this......your argument makes it appear to me that you have not only missed SEVERAL key messages of the Bible but it also makes you appear to be hiding bigotry.
Now before you fly off the handle, let me explain why it makes you appear to be a bigot.
Taking a political stand against a law that would do you no harm by allowing same sex marriages appears to a liberal to be a cowards way of saying you want to punish people for being gay by not giving them the same civil right that you have.
The Bible says it is wrong to be gay so whether gay people can be married on a piece of paper or not, you still feel that it is a sin in the eyes of God, right? But to openly express that you disapprove of people that are gay comes across as being a hate crime, politically incorrect, or that you're a bully. And who wants that?
So what can you do instead? You can do everything in your power to hide behind your disapproval by focusing it instead solely on the legal aspect of the issue.
To use only one of the definitions of marriage and citing scripture as your reasoning for not wanting a law that does not effect you to pass leaves the door wide open for people to think you are hiding bigotry. Does that make it true? No. Does that make it a valid argument from the left? Absolutely.
To a liberal and/or non-Christian, another set of questions they might want an answer to is, "Why are you not as passionate about other things noted in the Bible as a sin such as adultery as you are about gays having the same civil rights that you have? Why do you spend time turning a blind eye to other sins while focusing your energy so intensely on this? What makes this a bigger sin than cheating on your wife?"
Possible answers to this could be along the lines of, "It is not our place to judge people that commit adultery but to help them find redemption and salvation. If we stop gay marriage from happening, we are one step closer to saving them as well."
The follow up topics I encourage you to ask yourself are:
- Is it my job to save everyone?
- Will not allowing a gay person to be legally married stop them from being gay?
- People still commit sins whether it is legal or not. Why have I not encouraged my government to outlaw those things, such as adultery, as well?
- Why do I feel it is my right to force someone to live their life a certain way when the Bible teaches us to love and not pass judgment on others because that is God's job?
To say that someone who is my equal in every other way is not allowed the same basic human right to legally commit to another consenting adult that they love is devastating to me. We live in a country that turns rich people's personal lives into entertainment, sex into a way to sell products, and binge drinking into a hilarious hobby but refuses to give the legal rights of a marital contract that I have to my equal. And that is just plain and simple screwed up.
I did not write this edition of my blog to spark debate or to poke the bear. I wrote it to make you understand why I stand where I stand. I wrote it to make you understand why I can't understand your passionate opposition to a basic human right. I wrote it to make you realize why people will try to call you hateful words for your viewpoint.
I don't wish to change your mind. I wish to encourage you to listen to other viewpoints, evaluate why marriage equality makes you so upset, and if stopping it has any REAL bearing on your life or the lives of the people that want it.
- Jenn Brown
Apprentice level Jesus follower