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16 July 2005 @ 06:48 pm
What have I learned?  
So far, in my effort to read and dialog with conservative Christians as well as Vaishnavas, I have learned the following:

1.) They don't want anyone to contradict their viewpoint that homosexuality is immoral and they have the one true religion. It is seen as disrespect.

2.) They liken any effort to be respectful towards the many different religious adherents in America and around the world as a belief that there is no objective truth (ie, the dreaded moral relativism).

3.) They differ in their ability to tolerate the very idea of things like queer awareness weeks at schools and colleges, with the most tolerant among them willing to accept such things as long as it revolves around how queers are treated rather than appearing to endorse the idea that being queer is just fine. They feel like they are not free to come to such an event and express (with love) that gay people are committing a sin--so our claims to tolerance are hypocritical because we don't tolerate their viewopint. The less tolerant simply want us gone--or dead.

4.) A conservative Catholic perspective on gay marriage is that marriage is a Catholic sacrament and not allowed for those who are engaging in the mortal sin of homosexuality. Allowing gays and lesbians to co-opt this sacrament for their sinful relationships is offensive and destructive to the original sacrament. It is also seen as destructive to society's level of morality as well, to the point that it endangers society as seriously as widespread disaster such as global warming. (I didn't get to the point but I sense that the argument continues that the general acceptance of sins like homosexuality makes other sins more socially acceptable also until all of society is going to hell--including their kids. Thus they feel personally threatened. Pointing out that we are already here and in relationships akin to marriage and society is still standing doesn't seem to allay their fears.)

5.) Some religions are evil and shouldn't be allowed. Who gets to make this decision is unclear.

6.) It is their obligation to tell a fellow Christian who is engaged in the sin of homosexual behavior that they are living in sin, out of love. Really, in their eyes, someone can't be a true Christian while engaging in this type of major sin that betrays the concept of being created in the image of God.

7.) A tolerant conservative will agree that discrimination being acted out against glbt people is wrong and un-Christian. I saw no sense of responsibility that they should also make that clear to other conservatives who might be acting out violence or discrimination. To them it seemed enough that they didn't do that.

I was unable to get any suggestions for ways to word tolerance posters for schools that they would find acceptable, or more details about how to set up workshops that wouldn't offend them, other than the objections I listed above.

I was unable to get anyone to acknowledge that their freedom of religion is intertwined with everyone else's in America.

I welcome any comments from conservatives on these issues that are made in a respectful tone and manner, as well as those from liberals about how we might better communicate with each other.
 
 
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