Last week, the White House Press Secretary was asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia where she was dining with her family. This was a “protest” of her role in current policies. This comes on the heels of a similar incident in New York involving the Secretary of Homeland Security. I find it disingenuous that many people who applaud this incident are some of the same ones who were upset a bakery refused to make a cake for a gay couple. To me this is less a political issue and more about living in community with one another.
I think all these cases are wrong and another distressing example of incivility in our society of late. Of course, people (including business owners) have a right to their opinion, but where would this lead if everyone started basing their interactions like so? This does not seem too far from refusing service for someone based on their skin color. If someone is not causing a disruption, they should be able to conduct business where they choose. Of course, I still support the “No shoes, no shirt, no service” policy. I do not want to see your nasty feet when I am trying to eat.
A friend of mine (who self identifies as a "rightish winger) posted a report about how there has now been a backlash against the Virginia restaurant. This included a man who threw chicken poop at the establishment and another who brandished a sign saying, "Homos are full of demons" and "Unless they repent, Let God burn them." My friend's simple comment was "Seriously! Come on people. This is not how any of this is done! We are better than this."
The first Sunday after the most recent presidential election I pointed out that statistically speaking half of the people in my congregation did not vote the same. Then I asked, “Do you love them any less?” The response was a resounding “NO!” It is one thing to have convictions, but another to have them become a wedge in community and relationships.
This past weekend, Knoxville hosted a Gay Pride parade. There were several churches present passing out water. Some were there in complete support of the participants. Others were there to minister to those “sinners.” Whatever their motives, everyone acted graciously and peaceful. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, I hope you can remember to always do the same. Regardless of where you find yourself on the political spectrum, please recognize in others our common humanity. We Methodists have long lived by the maxims of "Think and let think" as well as "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty and in all things charity (love)."