Can’t We Agree to Disagree Respectfully?

angry man

Whatever happened to a balanced, respectful conversation over our disagreements? Reasonable people can reason together and even learn from one another. While we may not share beliefs, we are fundamentally entitled to hold those beliefs and are free to think our own thoughts.

Assistant US Attorney General John Carlin warns that “the line between speech and violence is crossed too often, resulting in heartbreaking tragedy.” His concern has prompted the creation of a new position at the Department of Justice: the coordinator for domestic terrorism investigations.

Carlin notes that domestic terrorism “demands to be addressed in new, creative ways.” One of these creative ways will be to look to the work of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

You may recall that the SPLC places groups—including conservative, Christian groups—on its “hate list” based on their beliefs, not their propensity for violence. The Family Research Council is one group most recently highlighted on the hate list because of its defense of traditional marriage, not because it is known to be a violent group. It just holds the “wrong beliefs.”

Does this mean that Christians are a threat to homeland security? Will this new DoJ coordinator monitor our free expression of opinion because of concern that the line between speech and violence is too often crossed?

As we express our disagreement with homosexuality and same-sex marriage, this dialogue will certainly be of interest to the coordinator for domestic terrorism investigations.

The idea that our thoughts or our beliefs can be held against us by the government is deeply troubling. The Constitution grants us the freedom to hold differing beliefs. We are free to think our own thoughts. We must be awake, alert, and wise as we monitor government overreach.

If mere disagreement causes us to be placed on a “hate list,” God help Christians in America.