After the Supreme Court handed down its decision on marriage, my Facebook feed was a string of rainbows, congratulations and bursts of joy. But then, after a couple of days, I saw another trend, which I thought of as the "limits of diversity" trend.
When I came out in 1995, it was a different world. Being gay was still barely discussed, and when it was, it was often in a degrading manner. Ellen was a breakthrough; Matthew Shepherd marked a turning point. However, the real transformation came as more and more GLBT people bravely shared their stories. Over time, family and friends were compelled by love to a change of heart. These straight allies then shared their own stories, insisting that we be seen and made safe.
Yet not everyone's hearts have changed. Some still don't know any gay people. Some are devoutly politically conservative. And some continue to claim biblical commitments and religious conviction as the source of their unwillingness to accept that same sex relationships could be just as sacred and beautiful as heterosexual relationships.
The trend in my feed was assessing: How much should we try to resolve this diversity? Can we still be friends if you believe differently than I do? And if we stay friends, is it OK for you to post about your difference on my page?
In my church, we deal with the limits of diversity all the time. Because we gather in a spiritual community based not in shared belief but in shared commitments, we are made up of a plurality of theologies and practices. This commitment also means that we are often discerning how much diversity we can tolerate while remaining a community. Any community that authentically values and seeks to manifest diversity will eventually need to wrestle with this question.
Ultimately, some friends said: "It doesn't matter what you believe. We can agree to disagree." Others decided: "If you disagree with the decision, unfriend me." None of it felt ideal. In the big picture, we can't really "unfriend" each other; we are all part of one human family. We have to figure out how to be in relationship across differences.
However, that does not mean what we believe "doesn't matter," or that we must "agree to disagree." The persistence of homophobia, whether wrapped in biblical interpretation, political ideology or simple ignorance — is not made tolerable by the Supreme Court's decision. After all, kids are still growing up with parents who hold those beliefs. Gay kids. *Trans kids. Kids who will some day become Supreme Court justices. And these kids — and all our kids are listening. Listening for whether or not who they are, and how they love, is OK, whether it could be holy, and good and true. And what they hear is bigger than agree/disagree — often it's a matter of life and death.
So let's keep telling our stories and keep listening. The pain of this transformation is real; that it is sad for some is real. Let's care about each other, love each other into healing. Let's build bridges across faith communities that include bible study that is not dependent on a homophobic lens — and let us not forget that before homophobia was justified with the bible, slavery was.