Saturday, June 27, 2015

This Open Letter to Christians worried about their "Religious Liberty"

Dear Christians worried about their "religious liberty,"

Many of you are freaking out about the Supreme Court ruling that gay marriage is a right, and thus legal in the United States. If you are worried about your "religious liberty," then I have something I need to share with you.

You really should have paid closer attention to what Jesus taught. He taught us the Golden Rule, which boils down to "treat others as you would like to be treated." This command tells us to think about how we treat people and ask ourselves if we would like it if our positions were reversed. If we were on the receiving end of our own behavior, would we like it?

As you consider that, I want you to consider this. Over the past decade or so, we Christians have spent millions upon millions of dollars supporting legislation that restricted the rights of gays. We Christians fought tooth and nail to ensure that gays were second class citizens. That's why I ask, is this how we would like the gay community to treat us? Do we want them to devote a decade and millions of dollars to take away our rights?

Of course we don't. In fact, now that the pendulum has swung the other way, the new mantra of these Christians is: "Please don't treat us like we treated you."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What 'Inside Out' Can Teach Us About Charleston and The Duggars

Inside Out is one of the most important movies released this year. I say that not just because this movie is a return to form for Pixar. (It's right up there with Wall-E.) I say this because it teaches us some very valuable lessons about the role of emotions in our development and in how we live our lives. It also gives us a better frame of reference by which we can look at some of the awful and tragic stories that have been dominating our headlines: the horrific shooting at the Charleston church, and the revelations about the Duggar family.

I know it might seem frivolous that I'm using an animated movie to address tragic real-life events, but that's one of the purposes of art. We use art as a frame of reference to understand complicated concepts. The purpose of Aesop's Fables was to teach moral lessons. Jesus used Parables to explain complex theological and spiritual concepts. We've always used stories and art as a lens, and this time is no different. True, they may oversimplify, but it's definitely a start.

Let's first look at the tragic shooting in a black Charleston church by a young white man named Dylan Roof. In case there is any doubt, let me start of by stating, categorically, that this man's motivation was racism. I know a lot of pundits and politicians are going out of their way to avoid saying it's racism, probably because they've spent so much time denying racism even exists. But it does exist, it's pervasive, and it's the motivation for the shooting. So how can Inside Out help us understand the shooter's racism?