We evangelical Christians often feel that our moral views should prevail throughout society. But for me, American pluralism is a huge issue. So while my fellow Christians may oppose any kind of gay bond, whether civil unions or marriage, I’m totally open to that. People can oppose it within the church, but easily coexist with it in society.
Atheists, Jews, Muslims, occultists, gays, and other minority entities are accustomed to coexisting with Christians. But we Christians have been the overwhelmingly dominant religious group throughout America’s history, and with that has come political clout. It’s difficult to back off from a position of power.
An article on ChristianityToday.com was helpful. Toward the end, the author (a law professor) talked about pluralism–“the idea that, in a society that lacks a shared vision of a deeply held common good, we can and must live with deep differences among groups and their beliefs, values, and identities.” He says pluralism requires three things:
- Tolerance: A willingness to coexist with genuine differences, including profound moral disagreements.
- Humility: An openness to hearing others’ beliefs about right and wrong, recognizing that our own beliefs, no matter how deeply held, may not be entirely correct.
- Patience: A willingness to resolve contested moral questions through persuasion, rather than coercion…and persuasion takes time.