You want your freedom, do you?
I know you do, because you post about it on Facebook, and you talk about how the government better not come and try to take it from you. You are an American with God-given unalienable rights. No politician is going to take your freedom any more than a welfare queen is going to take your money. You will, as you’ve said, fight to the death to be free.
And you want it, you say, not for yourself. You know you’ll be gone someday. You’re thinking of the children, those sweet innocent children who might be forced to live without the freedoms you’ve enjoyed.
I believed you. I may have disagreed with you on some points. We may have looked at politics differently. Our spirituality might have not aligned exactly. But I believed you, because you were earnest. You spoke of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and our forefathers. Our visions of America were different, but I believed you honestly believed in freedom.
I guess I was wrong.
I don’t know if you know any gay people. Even if you don’t think you do, you probably do. But that’s not the point. The point is this: I wish you did, and I wish you had the kind of love in your heart for your fellow man as you do for your own freedom.
I need to tell you a story.
Ordinarily, this would be the place you stop reading because I’m not writing about you and your freedom anymore. But I’d like you to just stick with me for a few minutes.
I knew several gay people in my teens and early 20s. They were acquaintances more than friends. Though I came from a place where discrimination was a sport, it never resonated with me, and I never found any reason to dislike homosexual people or, for that matter, any group of people that wasn’t like me.
But that’s not the story. That’s just letting you know where my head was a little more than a decade ago when I met a guy with whom I instantly clicked. He dug music. He played guitar. He was smart and hilarious. And the first night we went out together, I watched him make out with not one but two women…at the same time.
Over the next few years, this guy became one of my best and most trusted friends. He became family. And as you probably already guessed, he eventually told my wife and me that he was gay. It wasn’t any great surprise in retrospect, but it was a crucial moment in my life, because it was the first time I had any hope of understanding what it meant to be gay in America. This was a person for whom I would do anything, and he was gay. He would not be my only gay friend, but he was the one who helped me grow as a person of tolerance. I had never been prejudiced, but I’d also never had any frame of reference about truly caring for someone who was gay.
I wish you knew him like I do. In fact, I wish you had someone in your life for whom you cared with all your heart, for whom you would take a bullet, and with whom you would trust your whole family. And I wish you would discover that person is gay, because then you might begin to understand.
Well, here’s the thing. You have spent months telling me how much you value freedom and how much we have to protect our liberty. You’ve grown red-faced. Your anger has been righteous.
Well, today you let us all know you oppose letting certain Americans get married. Because of your religion, or your fear, or your bigotry, you want to deny a community of people—American people—the same rights you and I have. Maybe you believe that the current system of marriage—the one you believe you are protecting, the one that’s riddled with divorce, abuse, and adultery—has resulted in grand success for America.
We disagree on this point. You should know that. I know gay parents who have wonderful, well-adjusted children. They have served as good examples, and are much better than some straight parents I’ve met in my day.
But just because we disagree on this point doesn’t mean we can’t agree on freedom, right? Because of all the things I found detestable about you, I at least could admire your commitment to your cause. It’s confused me, because now I think you’re saying that your family deserves more freedoms than mine does.
You were honest, righteous, and a defender of freedom.
But, now it’s clear that’s just not the case.
I’m afraid you might be inching up to a line people would call bigotry. And even if you don’t accept you’re in that danger, consider this. You are in critical danger of becoming a hypocrite.
Take a moment and reconsider how you’re thinking. Educate yourself. Reach out to people you don’t know. Find the same compassion for other people that you would expect them to have for you.
Otherwise it will be clear you do believe in it all—God, country, the Constitution, and unalienable rights—just as long as it’s you who gets to decide who gets to be free and who doesn’t.