Did anybody else watch Dr. Phil today? Normally, I don't. I usually think he's a few shows away from becoming a Ph.D.'d Jerry Springer. But today he actually tried to have a very balanced discussion about gay marriage. I appreciated his effort. At the end, he asked each side if they thought there was a common ground they thought we could come together on to begin to heal the bitter feelings and words. Neither answer was satisfactory in my mind. So, here's what I would have said.
Yes, we are all children of God. I think that even when we disagree vehemently about something, we have within us the capacity to say, "I respect your point of view and can understand why you feel that way." And I think we can really mean it. It doesn't mean we won't battle long and hard for the thing in which we believe, but we can do it kindly. I know this is an issue that affects people in a very personal way, but it doesn't mean we have to make an ideological issue personal. No name-calling is ever necessary to make a point. We can say and act out the belief, "I respect you as much as myself. I mean you no ill will."
When we went to the D.C. Temple last Saturday for the sealing of my sister's adopted baby to her and her family, we knew there was a protest scheduled. I was honestly debating making cookies to take to the protestors. I didn't think I'd be able to make enough because the one in Manhattan had 5,000 people at it. But it rained all day in Virginia and Maryland, and when we arrived for the sealing, there were only 2 people in raincoats, holding signs.
I should've made the cookies. I was also worried they'd think it was some kind of evil trick and throw them at me or something, but maybe I was wrong. There has been ugliness on both sides of this issue--before, during, and after the vote. But I don't have to make my decisions based on those unfriendly acts. I should do what I think is right and kind and let the chips fall where they may. If I could do it over, here's what I would've done: I would've taken them cookies and said, "I'm really sorry our position on this issue has been hurtful to you. I know you're God's child just like I am and I'm sad for your pain and frustration. My view on this issue will not change, but I wish you no ill will. I made you cookies."
Maybe that's naive in the extreme. I can think of all kinds of possible ugly responses to that. But I can think of positive ones, too. As we left the Temple on Saturday, the rain had abated and 4 or 5 people were then protesting outside. One teenage girl with them smiled and waved as we drove by. And I smiled and waved back. Maybe she would've liked some cookies.