About the Episode
After the celebration died down a bit for marriage equality, we began to hear grumblings about religious liberty, how it was being threatened, and how this country would never be the same. While I think that religious liberty is well intact (see last week’s closing thoughts for this show on our website) I think that last thought is important: this country will never be the same.
I hope that decision pushes others to be more tolerant in this country. It was really a decision about tolerance and acceptance, and how we could not have either unless all were treated equally under the law.
However, I know that there will always be someone who don’t support marriage equality. To them, it will always be symbolic of sin. And that’s ok. Bigotry is protected by our constitution, and while the government should by and large seek to avoid enforcing bigotry so as to equally enforce the law, individuals are welcome to be bigots.
That isn’t to say that I think bigotry is right. I think hatred is never acceptable; and that kind of hate is symbolic of all the progress that we may never make on social issues. But the person who abhors gay marriage has to be protected under the law the same way that the person who does support the law of the land would be. That means the priest who is against gay marriage shouldn’t be asked to perform one, and the church who refuses to perform a same-sex marriage shouldn’t have their non-profit statuses revoked.
It’s the same way I think about the confederate flag. I think it is offensive. But, I realize there are others who don’t share that opinion. So while we’ll never exactly see eye to eye, the guy or gal who wants to sport the confederate flag on a t-shirt or belt buckle should be welcome to. Just know that I don’t have to like it and can call it bigotry.
Civil Rights leader Andrew Young, who marched with Dr. King, said this week that ultimately the flag doesn’t matter in the face of all the other very real problems for our society and race. He mentioned that 93% of black people killed are killed by other black people. If black lives really matter, then black people have to start buying into the fact that their own lives matter.
My point is this: symbols are one thing, and symbols can be loaded with meaning. But that meaning pales in comparison to action taken. So in all of these discussions of cultural bigotry, hate, acceptance, tolerance, and so on, we tend to forget one thing: we all have to coexist somehow, and we don’t have much choice about it. Our challenge is not to erase our sometimes hateful history, but to learn how to live together in spite of it.
More guns equals less crime. Go out and buy yourself a gun. You’ve been listening to Come And Talk It with Michael Cargill.