Julie’s post “In Which My Opinion of Mitch Mayne Improves,” brought an onslaught of arguments against “shunning” homosexuals. I didn’t see anyone suggest shunning — or being rude or unkind or spitting on or flogging or tarring and feathering — homosexuals was a great idea. It seemed a straw man that kept being beaten down.
With that in mind, I’d like to discuss the efficacy of the position that “…we ought to be kind to everyone, for that is right you see.”
Last week in Gospel Doctrine, my class discussed at some length how contention was never acceptable from God’s people. I kept wondering if they’d missed all the wars and conflicts God had commanded. I mean if you can chop off someone’s head justifiably, isn’t it possible that you can strongly assert a position once in a while and still be on God’s good side?
So if we don’t have to be friendly to everyone, all the time, no matter what, and we can even strongly disagree — a position I’m assuming here — then what methods of non-acceptance are morally acceptable?
To be clear, I’m not just talking about non-acceptance of homosexual behavior, but of any behavior deemed problematic or sinful by the church or culture. That point is particularly important because when we discuss homosexuality, we seem to get lost in a sea of agendas. Rather than focusing on principle, homosexuality becomes a special case to which none of the rules apply. I want to discuss the rules.
In Julie’s post, some commenters brought up the dilemma of how to deal with those who commit sinful behavior. Here are some other parts of that dilemma that may impact the discussion.
- There may be cultural value in stigmatizing unacceptable behavior.
- We all have boundaries with regard to whom we do and do not associate — and many of those boundaries are far less significant than sinful behavior.
- Everyone is a sinner.
- There are different levels of sin. There are those that can get you excommunicated and those that can remove you from the ability to obtain saving ordinances, and those that can’t.
- Many sins only become an association dilemma if they are known issues. My next door neighbor might not pay his tithing, but I won’t know about that unless he tells me. If my next door neighbor is living with his husband and they kiss each other goodbye and hold hands — in other words, if they act like regular, civilized couples — it’s a known issue. A high school kid might be screwing around, but many won’t know about it. If a girl in high school becomes pregnant, you at least know she had sex.
- Refusing to condemn bad behavior has real victims.
- How we respond to obnoxious, disrespectful, harmful, and/or sinful behavior does impact our children and how they view the behavior. (It influences adults as well.)
Please discuss how you determine including and/or excluding people in various parts of you life. If you choose to exclude anyone (and you do!), what does that exclusion look like?