Respect each other, disagree amicably and live in peace
A disturbing trend has emerged that has grown more intense in the past decade and has reached a point of intensity that it is causing great distress but is still under the radar in some respects – it is what I call ideological bullying. This bullying is both individual and on a governmental level, especially as it relates to the former colonizers of the world. Essentially it is a directive to accept ideologies or you will be intimidated, labeled, excluded from benefits or aid and destroyed if possible, if you do not bow.
The issue of homosexual marriage has become one of the linchpins of this ideological bullying. I do not believe homosexuals should be mistreated, discriminated against, or attacked for their orientation. Also, in a democratic society that is not a theocracy. We cannot impose biblical standards of conduct on our citizens. I do not believe hateful or pejorative language should be used in connection with homosexuals; and I believe they should be treated with respect.
On the other side of the coin regarding homosexuals and ideologues from the colonizing countries extending to their former colonies, they are refusing to respect that others have a different opinion and are bullying those who do not comply with their ideology. Why should a democratic society be forced to accept something the majority of its citizens do not believe in. I am not speaking from a religious perspective because my argument is not about religion although I am a pastor. My argument is that homosexual marriage has never made sense to me – not because of religion, but because I cannot comprehend it being the same as a marriage between a man and a woman. Why should an individual or a country be bullied because something does not make sense to them.
What is interesting is that some of the same individuals and countries just a few years ago did not think it was the same thing and that was their public position. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama up until 2013 did not agree with homosexual marriage although they were in favor of civil union. Essentially until 2013 they held a different opinion and their opinion was respected. Fast forward to 2018 in the United States and United Kingdom among others, if one does not subscribe to homosexual marriage they are labeled, ostracized, criticized and marginalized for simply stating a difference of opinion. Individuals who speak up and state they do not believe in homosexual marriage as being the same as regular marriage have their businesses targeted. They are attacked verbally or in print and even sometimes physically attacked simply because they have a logical difference of opinion.
When we speak of tolerance, should we not be tolerant of those who have a different opinion or do we only tolerate those who agree with us? I used to be a person who was very abusive to homosexuals because of the culture that I grew up in, but I have learnt a lot by speaking with members of the homosexual community and getting an understanding of the situation. It has caused me to not refer to them in pejorative terms and to have respect for them as individuals – but I do not share their perspective and ideology.
I have logically searched my mind and considered all of the factors and I have an opinion that differs from some members of the homosexual community. I harbor no hate or ill will. I just see things differently. I can logically explain my differences and my opinions are not emotional or religious opinions. They are my opinions as a human being who has deductively processed the information available to me.
At the country level some countries are now being threatened overtly or covertly, if they do not adopt the ideological positions of the colonizers, they face retribution and denial of benefits or assistance. The same countries that pledge non-discrimination are discriminating against persons because they have a different opinion. To me this is indeed the highest form of bullying from societies and people who are quick to tout their tolerance and who are ready to pounce on “bullies.”
I purposely stayed away from religion in this column because I think it is a futile exercise to bring religion into the picture. The position of the Bible is very clear, and from what I have seen there is nothing that remotely suggests from a biblical perspective that homosexual marriage is a possibility. It does not even make sense from my point of view to ever debate the Bible when it comes to homosexuality because if we go into the Bible we will be confronted with a plethora of text in the old and new testaments that state a clear and unequivocal stance on homosexuality and homosexual marriage. I do not debate homosexuality from a biblical perspective unless someone is asking for directions to what the Bible specifically says about the issue. To me it is a futile exercise because the positions are so clearly repeated and delineated.
Homosexual marriage is now the law in several countries and when living in a democratic society we should respect the laws of the land, but it does not mean that the law makes sense to those who have a different viewpoint.
We should be free to respect the fact that in a democratic society we have to accept the verdict of the majority but it does not mean we should be forced to agree that it makes sense to those of us who have a different opinion.
In democracies there are majorities and minorities and the beauty of a democracy is that both the majority and minority are supposed to be respected and protected. We should be able to respect each other, to disagree amicably and to live in peace.
Homosexuals should not be bullied or beaten or discriminated against, but neither should those who share a different opinion.
I know many individuals who are homosexual and I interact with them as human beings who deserve respect and I hope they respect me the same way. Some have said to me they respect that I have a different opinion about homosexual marriage and other issues and yet I am not abusive or intolerant to them. I am not forcing my view on them and I would expect that they in turn would not force their view on me. We should be able to live together without forcing our ideology on others and bullying them or penalizing them because they have a different opinion.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.