A first-rate mind?

Dateline: Sat 15 Feb 2014

The test of a first-rate intelligence, F. Scott Fitzgerald said, is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas and still function. 

With that in mind, I wonder why the Indianapolis Star columnist Erika Smith can't accept the fact that, while she supports gay marriage as a black woman, not all black people share her view -- and that especially includes the black clergy members she pointed a fiery finger at in her column earlier this week.


She is "astounded" by their hypocrisy and asks, "Why would a group of people who have experienced discrimination and been second-class citizens want to wish the same on other Americans?"

I can answer that. Because their belief system is different from Erika Smith's. Because they are Bible-based Christians favoring a literal interpretation of the Bible. Anyone who fails to understand the power of that worldview will never understand fundamental Christianinity, or for that matter Islam. Failure to understand "the other" is a big mistake when chastizing "the other."

One reason Indiana was successful in paring back HJR-3 and holding off a referendum vote (perhaps killing the issue entirely) is, in my view, the strategy of Freedom Indiana, which has a platform of respecting other points of view, assuming the best and not the worst about those with whom one disagrees and working slowly and judiciously to try to win hearts and minds.

I was going to let this go, but a letter to the editor today, commenting on Smith's stance, was so right-on that I wanted to weigh in. Here is the gist of what Richard Rowlinson of Fishers argues, under a headline, "Ministers are free to hold religious beliefs."

First, "I really have no problem with people making an argument for or against gay marriage. Civilized and reasoned debate should be a cornerstone of American society.

"Unfortunately, progressives have become incrasingly uncivilized and irrational when faced with arguments that counter their 'world view'...

"In Smith's world, anyone who doesn't think like a progressive, especially if they are black, is a hypocrite."

Religion is a strong molder of belief systems, probably as much as race. Rather than call out black religious conservatives for being hypocritical, why not get on with the business of accepting where they are coming from and embracing the notion, as Fitzgerald said, that there is merit in holding two contradictory ideas in one's head. I.e., I support gay marriage; I accept that not everyone believes as I do, because not everyone has had the same life experiences as I have. 


Leon [unverified] said:

It may not have been a topic of study such as was possible for legislators via the free book they got. I imagine you haven't read After The Ball either, to have a prospect of how you have been influenced even given your life experiences.

2014-02-15 12:42:14

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