It’s a post about persuasion and how to make friends in a disputed intellectual and moral landscape. And it is brief.
Something clicked for me on Friday as I took in all of the reactions to the decision, everybody’s Facebook profile pic turning rainbow, the angry posts from The Gospel Coalition shared by family members, liberal ridicule and conservative fury all scrolling along together, and what clicked was this:
I’m happy with the decision mostly because my friends are happy with it, and that posture finally feels like it contains as much integrity as a posture of dispassionate analysis, legal, Biblical, or otherwise.
My mind has rotated 180 degrees on these questions over the past decade, I now can see, because countless people pushing for normalization of same gender romantic relationships have warmly reached out to me and shared with me the virtue and character that constitutes their relationships and their argument, and they have invested in me as a person, generously, without I should profess allegiance to their cause.
I finally did profess allegiance to their cause, years after that allegiance had actually gone into effect.
On the other hand, so much of the opposition to recognizing same gender romantic relationships proceeds from a place of fear that must resist, resist, resist, and that has no energy left for hospitality, much less affection. It must characterize opponents in demeaning terms (somebody called the court’s decision a “puff piece”–a hundreds-of-pages-long product of legal argumentation a “puff piece?”). Listening to them, your first thought is not, “I’d like to hang out with those people.”
I’ve been hanging out with supporters of marriage equality for a little while now. The truth of my friends’ argument on this question stands up to theological and legal scrutiny without a doubt. It always has. And yet it is not their arguments alone that have so drastically shifted the public’s opinion on this question, but rather their character–their openness to others and their hospitality toward disputants.
It’s hard not to want to celebrate with them.