Loving alike but not always thinking alike

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Callie’s having some “adjustment issues.” She’s not always so sure the floor is the best place for her as Lil’ Man might see her.

I’ve missed you all! But, after some major screw-ups by U-Haul and having to wait an extra day for some day labor guys to help us unload the truck, Marianne and I (and Callie) are more or less settled into our new place in Greenville.

At our old place, Callie was the top (and the only) cat around. Here’s she got a new “friend” named Lil’ Man who, currently unbeknownst to her, is the sweetest cat ever. She’s mostly an indoor cat and Lil’ Man comes and goes when he pleases. At this point she hisses when she sees him and he just kind of stares blankly before turning his head and walking away. Luckily he’s got claws, so all it took was one swipe to the nose for Callie to realize that fighting with him would not be a good idea and she should probably just put up with him, because he certainly doesn’t care one way or the other about her. She’s just a new body that’s about his height who’s hanging around. And who wants to share his food bowl.

All this to say, Callie is making an issue out of a non-issue.

Which is also what most of this country seems to be doing in the Chick-Fil-A “controversy.”

To recap: Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy says his company supports the biblical definition of marriage and actively gives money to the company’s charity which supports, among other things, marriage-strengthening retreats, Exodus International which is a group who (used to) try to “pray away the gay,” and other anti-LGBT organizations.

To be sure, I don’t support Dan Cathy’s position or the charities to which he donates his corporations profits. Which is why I don’t eat at Chick-Fil-A. And why I try to educate others about why they should think twice about eating there as well.

What I won’t do, however, is violate what Ragen Chastain calls “The Underpants Rule:” what is right for me and my body (life) may not be right for your body (life). It means that while I get to choose what I want, I have no right to tell you what to choose for your life. All I can do is educate you about my experiences and then let you make your life decisions based on the new information you have.

Chastain says that if you are about to say any of the following:

  • People should
  • Everyone ought to
  • What people need to do
  • We should all
  • Nobody should
  • You shouldn’t
  • blah blah things that have to do with underpants that aren’t yours blah blah

you are probably about to break the underpants rule and should probably just not say whatever it is you were about to say.

With that in mind, I want to address a number of my Facebook friends who have recently posted statuses concerning Chick-Fil-A and how folks who eat there should probably just defriend them. While the underpants rule certainly applies to you and you are allowed to do whatever it is you please, I want to offer an alternate option: not defriending people who don’t think like you.

At Green Street, our reconciliation statement includes the phrase “We believe we can love alike even though we don’t think alike,” and that’s true here. By defriending folks who don’t think exactly like you, you lose the opportunity for dialogue. There are some folks who are not open to conversation and maybe they’re a separate issue, but the majority of your friends probably wouldn’t mind having a conversation about why this Chick-Fil-A issue is so important to you.

You also lose out on relationships with people who are funny, or witty, or loving and caring. Some of my family (and high school friends) doesn’t think that what Marianne and I are doing in October will constitute a “real” marriage, but that doesn’t mean that I have to cut all ties and not enjoy their company when I go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Each person must make their own decision here, so as not to violate the underpants rule, but personally, I will not be asking anyone who doesn’t think exactly like me on the issue of marriage equality to defriend me anytime soon on Facebook. With that in mind, I ask that all my blog readers also reconsider their moratorium on all friends who aren’t up to your speed on marriage equality just yet.

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