There has been a maelstrom of conversation on the internet about the recent SCOTUS ruling, and I have wavered on not only what to post, but whether to post at all. After much prayer, and a whole lot of wavering, I decided to risk it and say something…
I don’t pretend to understand all the laws, arguments, ramifications, or legislative process involved in the decision… however, for me, it boiled down to a simple issue- separation of church and state.
This quote from Adam Hamilton says it well: “The Supreme Court is charged with interpreting the U.S. Constitution, not the Bible. The Court is not asked to discern God’s will, or what constitutes ethical or moral behavior for Christians. Likewise, Christians do not determine their morals from public opinion polls.”
After posting on Friday, I got calls, texts, and messages from folks who agreed with me, as well as vehemently disagreed with me. Both were welcome. I believe we can do disagreement and debate well. We can share our differing thoughts and feelings in love and with respect.
#LoveWins to me means LOVE, Christlikeness, and kindness toward one another supersedes differences.
- Can we disagree without judgment, anger, relationships being ruined?
- Can we disagree with a mind and heart that is actually open to hearing what others have to say- really listening and letting their words, thoughts, feelings, beliefs impact and inform us?
- Can we discuss and debate and disagree… then sit down to a meal together because we both love God?
Isn’t that how love actually wins?
Because of my own story and history with prejudice, I wanted to say something in the midst of all the chaos and reactions on Friday. Today, racial diversity is more accepted and even embraced, but when I was growing up, being interracial was an oddity, and women were fighting for equal rights. As a young wife and mom, I struggled with church teaching, and men leaders who said being a woman, who believed God created me as a leader, was as an unwillingness to submit.
I spent much of my life feeling like I didn’t fit in. I remember wondering what was wrong with me and trying to be who I was “supposed to be.” And failing miserably.
More than once, friends have called the morning after a bible study, supper club or group event, and said, “Even though I didn’t speak up last night, I agree with you or I see your point… but I didn’t want to state my feelings because… people would be uncomfortable, offended, or I didn’t want so and so to disapprove.” (I get it!! I have people pleaser-itis too!) But I remember asking, “Why didn’t you say something? Maybe that would have shifted the discussion, mood, or given others the courage to speak up as well?”
All of this swirled in my mind and heart as I watched the onslaught of discussion over the past few days.
How could I not say something, even if it was unpopular?
Being misunderstood is scary and unsettling -and more than once I have wanted to delete my post.
I think the best place to discuss politics, religion, sexuality, and other volatile or difficult issues is around a table with dear friends, with whom we are walking through life. Close relationships are the sanctuary for debate, discussion, disagreement -where we sharpen and help shape each other.
A common theme, when our kids come home, is recounting the dinner table conversations we have had with them, and our community of close friends, through the years. It is a place I love to linger, learn, listen as well as share my own thoughts.
AND – Yet I did feel the need to say something…silence felt complicit.
One reply really hit home: ” Susie, I’m thankful you posted as well! Just like I teach my students, when you are a “silent bystander” you are also guilty. I think this is doubly true when you have any sort of platform or position of power- silence makes it seem as though you agree. It is a crazy phenomena and anyone who has studied group think (especially surrounding risk management and college students) can tell you- for the victims, the silence often hurts the most.” (Thank you, Lexi Swinimer for your words.)
As someone with a platform, I have influence beyond my personal circle, and so I wanted to offer my thoughts on the issues at hand.
My hope is that my posts communicate one thing- my belief in separation of church and state and that delineation being the bottom line issue for me.
Many folks have said things far more eloquently than I can, and the post below, by my former seminary professor and author Richard Dahlstrom, about the separation of church and state, says it well. Regardless of what anyone believes about the “right or wrong” of same sex unions, shouldn’t the law offer equal protection and rights to everyone?
I hope that regardless of what we believe, we can agree to disagree in love.
I hope we can have deep and challenging conversations with the people who cherish us.
I hope we can refrain from judgment and allow differences to draw us to seek understanding.
I hope love does really win.