For example, I am one of the greatest writers ever—that talent everyone knows about.
I am also an amazing cook, as long as the dish is oatmeal—that talent fewer people know about.
But one talent I have that almost nobody knows about is my ability to iron out a rock solid compromise. This ability has been fine tuned over the course of 34 years of living. In other words, I’ve been compromising all my life.
Today, I would like to lend my talents—my God-given abilities, if you will—to what may well be the biggest and ugliest fight in all of American history: the current throwdown between the ultra-right wing fast food behemoth, Chick-fil-A, and the ultra-left wing alternative-lifestyle-living community known colloquially as gay people. These two factions have been at odds for the last several weeks over Chick-fil-A owner Dan Cathy’s support of anti-gay organizations. Just when it seemed both sides would never get along, I am here to help.
As is often the case when any two sides of people are fighting, the basic issue in this situation is that neither side understands the other. This is partly because both sides are totally different, but mostly because they’re exactly the same. Neither side is interested in seeing the other’s point of view, because both sides are certain they are totally right and the other side is totally wrong. As is usually the case, both sides are, in fact, a little of both.
Gay people, contrary to what some Christian people may think, are not all heathens. They are not all deviants, though some of them are deviants, just as some straight people are deviants. The image of gay people as a bunch of barrel-chested men with no shirts and masks made of feathers is just that: an image. It is not an accurate depiction of what all (or even most) gay people are like.
Christians, contrary to what some gay people may think, are not all bigots. They are not all hateful, though some of them are hateful, just as some non-Christian people are hateful. The image of Christians as fire-breathing cave people obsessed with homosexuality at the exclusion of all other issues is just that: an image. It is not an accurate depiction of what all (or even most) Christian people are like.
In order for these two sides to come to an agreement—because after all, is that not what we want?—they must be made to understand each other, and there’s only one way to do that. So here’s the solution I am proposing, which comes in two parts.
Part one: Christians are all about sacrifice (see: Jesus, sacrificed Son of God). So part one of my plan for making everyone get along is for Christians to make a substantial sacrifice and accept that gay people will continue to be gay. It doesn’t matter how they got that way—biology, choice, whatever it may be. Accept the facts for what they are. Gay people are gay, and no amount of yelling at them is going to change that about them.
Once you accept that gay people are, in fact, gay, you can accept the fact that they are also people. And in a free society, whenever people have a problem, the answer is always more freedom. You don’t have to like gay marriage. You don’t even need to practice it in your church. But accept it as the legally sensible thing outside of church, because people in a free society—all the people in a free society—have a right to be whatever they are.
Part two: where gays return the favor. For one month—just one month of their lives—all the gay folks in America agree to go to church. (I realize many gay people do go to church, but for the sake of this argument, let’s just pretend these sides are as black and white as the media wants them to be.) So for one full month, gays go to church. They go unjudged—not as gays, but as people—and are welcomed with open arms.
The second part of my plan accomplishes two things. One, it gets gays to spend time around Christians. Two, it gets Christians to spend time around gays.
Once this happens, Christians will get to see that gays are just like all the other imperfect people within their congregations, and gays will get to see they’re not up against fire-breathing cave people after all, but rather a large group of fellow humans with some very sincere, very heartfelt beliefs. Gays will get acceptance of gay marriage from Christians, and Christians will get the satisfaction of knowing that every single gay person all throughout the country spent one full month in a loving, decidedly non-fire-breathing Christian church.
I said before that the answer to most every problem in a free society is more freedom. One of the greatest threats to the freedom of a society is when two different groups don’t know each other well and assume they must be adversarial towards each other because they’re fighting for control of the same thing. This is when opportunistic politicians move in and divide and conquer. Nobody wins in that case. Everybody loses.
America is huge. There is more than enough room for gay people to be married to other gay people, and for Christians to go to church and worship how they choose. A little time together would cut down on a whole lot of misunderstanding.
And if I’m wrong, you have my full permission to lose faith in all of humanity (or at least in my awesome arbitration skills).
Jonathan David Morris is the author of For Whom the Rebel Flag Flies, available now for Kindle and Nook. Send him mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.