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How will your grandchildren judge your views of gay civil rights?

How will your grandchildren judge your views of gay civil rights?

A good friend of mine, a devoted Christian, recently posted a quote which he felt contained some important questions one should ask one's self. 

A few years back, three questions rocked my world. They came from different people in the span of a month.

Question 1: Had you been a German Christian during World War II, would you have taken a stand against Hitler?

Question 2: Had you lived in the South during the civil rights conflict, would you have taken a stand against racism?

Question 3: When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day in which 1.75 billion people were poor and 1 billion were hungry, how will they judge your response?

— Max Lucado — Outlive Your Life

I took issue with Question 3, not because I feel the the poor and hungry should be ignored, but because Question 3 is out of place among Questions 1 and 2. 

Question 1 is about the targeted discrimination and violence against minorities (Jews, non-whites, gays, etc.) Question 1 is asking if you would stand up and fight for the rights of others simply because it is the right thing to do. Especially if doing so would make you a target from those in the majority. That's central to the famous "First they came..." poem. "Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me."

Question 2 is also about the targeted discrimination and violence against minorities (non-whites). Question 2 is asking if you would stand up and fight for the rights of others simply because it is the right thing to do. Especially if doing so would make you a target from those in the majority. 

I suggested to my friend that Question 3 should have been:

Question 3: When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day in which gay people did not have equal civil rights, how will they judge your response?

While poverty and hunger are very serious issues and while we do not yet do enough to truly combat those problems... the need to end poverty and hunger is not an issue about which people are conflicted. It is not a dangerous issue to support. Sure, maybe Republicans and Democrats conflict on HOW they want to solve poverty and hunger, one with a private solution and one with a public solution, no one is really advocating that we just let all of the poor kids die from hunger because they are genetically inferior or an abomination.

So, to place poverty and hunger into this collection is adding an orange to a group of apples.

The reason why Questions 1 and 2 are so powerful is because we can look back through the generations and see how archaic the thinking was back then and be shocked that anyone could have thought that was ok. How could anyone think rounding up all of the Jews was ok? How could anyone think that Black people were inferior to White people? But no one has those kinds of questions about hunger and poverty, not now, not ever. Charity has essentially always been part of human society, even if we don't happen to be successfully covering the needs of everyone. I think the obvious parallel which should sit in Question 3 is another question of discrimination and I think 2 generations from now the LGBT community will have their civil rights and that generation will look back and wonder how the hell our society thought it was ok to discriminate.

It makes me wonder if this was Max Lucado's attempt to deflect accusations of bigotry about gay civil rights. I do not believe that was my friend's intent at all, but I wonder if Lucado chose to replace the obvious question of gay civil rights with something more central to Christianity as a subtle way of giving Christian folks another topic to focus on regarding how future generations will see us.

It is easier to replace an idea than to contradict an idea.

My version of Question 3 forces those who oppose gay civil rights to consider a prospect which is uncomfortable. Will my grandchildren consider me a bigot? It might be difficult to come up with an answer that leaves them feeling satisfied. To help satisfy the current day person, one approach would be to provide them with a "good answer" to the question, but a different approach is to provide them with a different questionIf that new question is similar enough, and framed within a group along with 2 items about bigotry, such that it will emotionally fit into space previously occupied by the gay civil rights/bigotry question... the emotional burden of the uncomfortable question is removed because it has been replaced! and replaced with something they can easily support and easily take action upon!

Question 3: When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day in which gay people did not have civil rights, how will they judge your response?

If you find that to be an uncomfortable question, then maybe deep down you actually know that what you are doing isn't the right choice.

I sincerely encourage you to ask yourself this question. If you feel like supporting gay civil rights (including same-sex marriage) conflicts with your religious beliefs, then I encourage you to find a way to take your religious beliefs about love and apply them to this topic. If you're not sure where to find a Christian message and view of Christianity which explains how to resolve the conflict between being Christian and being LGBT then head over to the Open Door Ministries website and specifically check out their post about conservative Christianity and inclusion. ODM is a gay-friendly church here in Long Beach, CA. I've spoken with Pastor Dan Burchett and I have no doubt he can help you find peace with this issue and make sure that your grandchildren can look back and be proud of how you handled this important and historical moment in our history.  

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