I want to say this to the world: I will never in my life surround myself with people I disagree with on moral, religious, or political matters.
I don't mean to say that I outright reject those sort of people. Everybody can believe in whatever the heck they want, because as human beings granted free will, we have a right to do so. I'm not a preacher or a converter. I aim to be more of an encourager than anything else. In other words, I won't stop anyone from doing what they want to do.
My problem is this: modern society, especially the left wing, has confused tolerance with acceptance. I can tolerate Buddhists, pagans, and Muslims living the way they do, and I wish them to have total access to all the rights I have. But let's face it- as a Christian, I don't agree with them. There are many things other people believe and do that I either don't think is the best choice, or I morally object to... for instance, the worship of spirits, or sex before marriage.
Mass media has often bombarded me with the politically correct idea that in order to be an open-minded, enlightened person, I must not let religious or moral differences stop me from being friends with them or even marrying them. This is what we today often call "tolerance". Me, I can tolerate a person of a different religion being in the same classroom as me, but I should NOT be required to figuratively give them a hug, pat them on the back and say "You're special!", thereby giving them a politically correct cookie that subscribes to their dietary beliefs.
I openly admit to not wanting to have anything to do with gay people. As a Christian, I find their behavior morally objectionable. That's it. I don't apologize for that.
But WHY, you may ask? Because if I made "friends" with a person that believed in things I disagreed with, or behaved in a manner I dislike on moral grounds, I would never be able to approve of them. I have a right to disapprove of people. You know why? Because if no one disapproved of anyone, mankind would be sent into depraved and corrupt chaos. Disapproval is what solves problems. So WHY should I hang around with someone that I frown upon on the inside? The nagging feeling would drive me insane, and I could never have a peaceful relationship with them. They're better off if I avoided them- frankly, I think I'm doing them a favor by not having to put up with me.
A lot of people would likely be impressed with me if I married someone that believed in a different religion, and praise me for being so open-minded and respecting our differences. What sort of sick, divisive marriage is THAT? To never share moral beliefs with your spouse- to never truly agree with her on one of the things that gives us the most identity- to NEVER be close to her in every way possible... that sounds like a nightmare to me. And yet from personal experience, I have openly expressed my desire to share my beliefs with my spouse so I could avoid fighting with her and feel close to her, and have been accused of narrow-mindedness. It's not like I'm going out and persecuting the "heathen", or waving Bibles at them, screaming "JESUS DIED FOR YOU!" in their face. I don't HATE people of other beliefs, nor do I have ANY desire to change their minds- simply because it would wrong of me to try, and give Christianity a bad name.
You may be wondering what my motivations are. Simply put, it's because people often rejected me for who I am. As a young teenager, I was abused and tormented because I wore proper school uniforms, avoided wearing baggy pants, disliked rap music, combed my hair back like Elvis, and generally kept quiet and remained obedient. I was the dorky little white boy. The school staff thought I had mental problems because I behaved myself and obeyed the rules. I would've committed suicide had I not escaped to homeschool.
Among fellow homeschoolers in the conservative Christian society my brother and I joined, the alienation was less pronounced and didn't cause me misery, simply because I kept my opinions to myself. But if I came out and said "Hey! I like heavy metal music and comedy with jokes about sex and drugs!", everyone would've been shocked and appalled. One time we were bringing music to play in the background for some of the weekly activities, and somebody objected that we weren't playing strictly Christian music. You know what we were playing last before somebody complained? Doris Day. I mean, the public thought she was the world's oldest virgin, for Christ's sake.
More recently, liberal mass media has told me that I should be out disregarding and ignoring religious and moral differences, and making friends with gay black Wiccans or something like that. When I said "No way! Gays are gross!" and "I don't wanna marry a non-Christian!" to a certain someone, I was immediately seen as a disgusting, narrow-minded bigot. Hmm... so much for tolerance. So much for equality and the doing away of discrimination! Hey, I've put up with you all these years, why don't you put up with me? It's a little something I like to live by: Do unto others as you would do unto yourself.
Meanwhile, conservative mass media tells me I'm a perverted, noise-making, tree-hugging freak. Yeah, for some reason conservatives don't seem to have complex opinions...
So I have a personal problem with those that are significantly different from me. If I get stuck with people I disagree with, I feel uncomfortable and alienated, or even miserable and hated. It's because I fear rejection. I feel safe and comfortable among my peers, because I'm accepted. Birds of feather flock together, I always say...
I have found that I'm in middle of the crossfire between left-wing and right-wing. Extremists on either side would frown upon me. I find it all too hypocritical that I have been disapproved of or ridiculed, when I'm not allowed to disapprove of others. Hey, you know what? I have a right to my opinion, too! I was taught to question people, and by golly, I'm going to do it, whether you like it or not. I'm not going to try and change anyone, so I'd appreciate it if you didn't try to change me. Fair's fair.
I think the problem is that people twisted the words "Smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another" for their own selfish, "I me mine" needs. It's so a gay guy can feel like he deserves a bigger piece of the pie, and that he's being accepted and loved- because if you don't make a martyr of gay people, you're a big fat meanie! I think nowadays one only marries a person morally different from them because they've been told it's the right thing to do, and people of a similar mindset would applaud them. I don't really care if you do that, but it seems to me that it's mainly so you can impress and receive approval from those who would do the same. There's a certain ironic and hypocritical quality about it all, because this implies that there is only ONE means of being open-minded. Also, it seems like it's so you can get brownie points and a thumbs up from your similarly loosey-goosey friends. Lower your standards, and you're liberal! Right?
I just have standards, okay? Priorities too. That's all there is to it. Sadly, I fear that such things are dying off.
Let's face it- we ALL wish we were all alike, deep down, so we can feel like we belong. Those who practice this newly-defined "tolerance" hang around with those who do the same, but never with those who don't. Even one of my heroes, John Lennon, immortalized this oneness: "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one."
To be fair, even Christians want everyone to be Christian. Judgement Day ends with God disposing of disbelievers and sending everyone else to paradise. We're not alone. Everyone believes that they're right, and that everyone should join him or her. So what exactly makes me less of a human when I contradict you? In the end, I think we're better off just allowing everyone to make their own choices and clumping into groups, because trying to fight the other group is useless unless that other group is trying to fight you for no reason other than you're a different group. I long for the day when everyone makes a peace treaty, instead of denying others the same rights we have.
To me, it's all about equality and rights, not whether or not you surround yourself with diverse friends. You can surround yourself with diverse friends if you want to, but it shouldn't be considered a requirement- we ought to be able to choose to NOT surround ourselves with diverse friends. I'm not talking about race or gender- which, in my opinion, is largely irrelevant to who you are as a person- I'm talking about morals, philosophy, religion, and politics. I think it's wrong across the board to reject people based on race and gender. Sexuality is a moral matter more than anything, if you ask me. Instead, if I don't want to be friends with someone I think is morally repulsive, I shouldn't have to force myself to do it anyway just because it would make them feel good. I'm not here to make you feel good about yourself.
So that's a pretty large chunk of my worldview right there. Don't bother trying to change my mind, because I'm not going to. You're not going to change your mind either, right? If you don't like my opinions, deal with it. I've been dealing with yours.