Over the last 10 months or so, I have had the pleasured opportunity to engage and interact with homosexual couples, individuals, and even be invited to a same-sex wedding. Over lunch or dinner, I’ve had conversations about the daunting experiences these individuals have had with their families, friends, and in public settings where they have felt embarrassed or even insecure about their identities. As one friend had expressed to me, “It just feels as if my psychological person doesn’t match where its supposed to be biologically, and there’s nothing I can do about it. That is probably the worst part.”
As homosexual journalist Andrew Sullivan once (I think) rightfully said, I don’t so much trust or really pay attention to what the statistics say. While they may be important for dialogue/debate, all we have are our experiences. This is what is most “real” to us. And so, when dealing with these individuals I’ve come to a fundamental understanding about what approach can ruin the path for dialogue, or even [proper] understanding. It is ignorance.
You see, when you trivialize something, you are diluting an already complex or delicate issue into something less significant or unimportant. This is often the case when certain advocates of the man-woman model of marriage are dismissive of their counter-parts on the grounds of convictions they can’t quite defend or even articulate. So, when they see it, it’s just wrong. Nothing else to it.
However, there is more to the issue than simply our convictions being poked. In other words, as I rather like to put it, there is more to the conversation that isn’t be addressed. Why is the monogamous unit – marriage between man and woman – important? Why do all children deserve a mother and a father? What is the definition of marriage? Can we set aside moral convictions for political matters?
There are a few points that I think are important to consider. For one, as advice wisely given to me, a weak dialogue is better than a strong monologue. In other words, “speculative”conclusions apart from the help of external insight (in my opinion) doesn’t display the mark for the pursuit of truth. Even in a weak dialogue, where agreement is minimal and furtherance (i.e., movement of conversation) is slow, listening for the sake of understanding is far more important than simply listening to reply. We listen for insight, not for arguments.
Furthermore, while some of the conversation has difficult theoretical issues that are being discussed by philosophers, politicians and so on, there are nonetheless concrete experiences we are dealing with that can’t simply excuse our ignorance. Simply put, lack of prior knowledge of the position you are advocating is just blindness. In this sense, ignorance sits in the waiting room of our minds reading a blank magazine.
This even serves as an exhortation to Christians whose centuries old views on this subject are under siege by opponents who consider such views bigoted, outlandish, and even hateful. While I would ardently propose that we do not respond in anger or bitterness, but with love, understanding and knowledge, the dialogue will take a new turning point towards something where conservative, progressives, or liberals can possibly work together, or gain possible further insight.