Monday, July 23, 2012

Open Letter to Michael Barone

This was an email I typed up but the form at didn't allow enough space.  It was in response to his statements during a Cato forum on David Lampo's book:

Subject: Cato Forum - Thank You

This is one of those issues on which I think I have a unique perspective.  As a North Carolinian, I saw all this play out in great detail in blogs, Facebook posts, newspaper columns, bumper stickers, billboards, etc.  I myself voted against the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage recognition, but I'm very close to many who voted for it.  Because I'm also a Christian and a member of a very theologically conservative church.

I consider myself a classical liberal, and while it's not a classical position, I take the libertarian position that the state should not be deciding  what marriage is.  Of course, the libertarian ideal is not realistic, so I think the next-best course of action is to extend marriage recognition.  As you can imagine, my view was not the prevalent view among my fellow congregants.  But I know well their hearts, and what they ultimately want is what I want: that the glory and grace of God be demonstrated and that many more will come to believe in Jesus Christ as their savior.  We just have different views of what the goal of civil society should be.

So when the word "hate" was quick on the lips of many of the opponents of the amendment, I took great offense to this.  I didn't let it sway my vote, as my vote was formed in my conscience, but it did lead me to expend time and emotional energy defending my brethren.  Time that may have been spent doing more to support the opposition.

I don't think I'm alone in support of these positions amongst religiously conservative Christians.  Indeed, David Lampo pointed out evidence to that fact.  But the Christians at the margin of this issue will not likely be swayed by hearing themselves and their brethren called hateful.  This is a severe miscalculation, if not an unfair slander.

So thank you.  Thank you very, very much for taking seriously the opponents of SSM.  Not that there are none hateful, but that it is only fair to presume their good faith.

Feel free to share this email if you are so inclined.

John Covil

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