Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tolerance means more than you think.

I have just finished helping a fellow writer by critiquing a male/male romance story.  What is interesting is, I am a devout Lutheran who believes in strict adherence to the teachings of the Bible and also believes that same Bible condemns homosexuality.  So, why would someone with my religious belief system support a story about a homosexual romance by helping the author critique it?  The answer is it is my opinion the writing profession demands it.  Of all the disciplines, I believe writing should involve the free flow of ideas, even ones I or someone else may disagree with.

It is not up to any one individual to judge what is right or wrong; or appropriate or inappropriate.  We are all equal in that the most we can do is say it is our opinion this is right and that is wrong.  God in heaven has perfect knowledge of right and wrong and the most any of us can do is pray for knowledge of His mind and hope we are doing His will.

I'm sure many gays and social liberals are applauding my words at the moment. They may be joyful that they have 'gotten through' to another religious conservative.  My response to this reaction is 'not so fast'.

I'm finding that a lot of the people who seek tolerance of the gay lifestyle are also equally intolerant of traditional religion. Many of the same people who are politically correct about not mocking homosexuals have no reservations about mocking Jesus or traditional Christians.  My response is that the door swings both ways.  Just as it is wrong for someone to not be tolerated for their sexual lifestyle, it is equally wrong to not tolerate someone for their religious beliefs.

Looking at it logically, there are two possibilities.   Homosexuality is a sin in the eyes of God, or it isn't.  If it is not a sin, homosexuals have not committed wrong against God by practicing their lifestyle.  If it is a sin, God is loving and forgiving.  I'm convinced things will sort out at the time of judgment.  In the meantime, if we are to follow God's commandments, we are obligated to treat our neighbor with respect regardless of his or her opinions on social matters.


  1. Chuck, I am a 'sort of' liberal, meaning that I am an old Baptist who tries to keep an open heart and mind. I do believe that the Bible condemns homosexuality, however it also condemns wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony. God doesn't make differences in the area of sin...if I were homosexual, my sin would be no less or more than that of the sloth or the glutton or any of the others...areas I fall into and back out of with great frequency and ease, unfortunately. I try to stay away from books that deal with homosexuality in a positive light, mainly because it is usually presented as an unrepented sin, and I don't think I could edit one. However I can easily deal with all those other pesky sins in my reading materiel, so all I can say is that we have freedom of the press in this country which, I believe, might fall under the heading of separation of church and state. I neither applaud nor condemn your decision to edit the work, however, as a writer, I support your right to chose.

  2. I agree, Chuck. I'm not shy about the fact that I support marriage equality and open acceptance of homosexuality (something that I believe people are born to, and do not choose), but I try never to be disrespectful of someone else's beliefs, even when I disagree with them. If others have mocked your religious beliefs, I'm sorry to hear it.

    I do ask those who hold up the Bible as a justification for passing or upholding laws that restrict the rights of others (such as denying them the right to marry) to remember that freedom of religion means freedom FROM religion as well. Legislating against something simply because the Bible says it is a sin is using the government to force your religious beliefs on others, and that, to me, is as un-American as it gets.

  3. Amen, Brother. God will sort it all out. It's not our job. Until then, love your neighbor...all of them.

  4. Insightful thoughts and comments here. Sometimes people are quick to judge others without first looking to their own faults. Thanks for making us think, Chuck.

  5. I believe we are all on a path. Your path is yours and mine is mine. I don't think any of us has a right to judge and we are all quick to do it. Glad you are tolerant. My simple philosophy of DO NO HARM allows me to love everyone, gay, straight, black, white and so on.
    I agree with Jean. Why do people pick out one so called sin and leave the rest. They are all supposed to be equal. I think in Leviticus there are some equally horrible outcomes for wearing clothing of two different types, growing different crops in the same field and stoning children who don't mind. It has always amazed me they only pick out the one verse that serves the purpose of demeaning another's lifestyle. I say live and let live. And above all, don't judge.
    As far as editing the book goes, I don't think it makes a difference of what the genre is. Prose is prose.

  6. I am not a Christian, but I live by the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Following that simple rule makes a person think before being intolerant toward another. We are all here just trying to figure life out. Like I told a religious friend of mine. We are all headed in the same direction, just taking different routes. Example: There is more than one way to get to St Louis from Springfield. My bus may be a Greyhound and yours may be a school bus. Doesn't matter. And good for you helping your friend with his writing.