In some parts of our country
Think their religion is under attack.
I experience a whole range of emotions as I hear and read their comments.
Sadness. Shame. Anger. Confusion.
But in addition to what I feel, here are two things I think.
First, faith, however one expresses it, at its best is always (or should be) counter-cultural. When it is not it is merely a mirror reflecting back to us what we want to see. Faith, at its best, stands counter those forces which bow to power and marginalize or oppress. And, it should stand for those values which seek to care for those in need and those who are broken and to stand alongside those who suffer, whoever they are and whatever their suffering whether they believe what I do or practice their faith like I do or believe at all. When faith does this there is always going to be push back.
Second, what opens the heart and minds of others more?
Turning them away because we think they are sinful or unclean or just plain wrong? Or, a graciousness and a concern which does its best to model what we know and name as God? What is happening in Indiana and in other places in our country is doing harm to the religion is seeks to protect.
When I read the Gospels, it is those who are deemed sinful or unacceptable whom Jesus turns to and touches and heals and includes much to the consternation of the established religion of his days. Some of those with whom Jesus interacted probably followed him. Others probably went home. But all, for a moment at least, were touched by healing and grace and hope.
Should our graciousness and humility and compassion not strive to do the same?