Treat others as people, not labels

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Of the many privileges we enjoy in this country, one is that we are all allowed to have and voice our opinions. We can also open shop to sell a product or offer our services. Rewarded for our efforts with money, we use it to pay our rent, eat out or support a mountain school in Guatemala. If a businessman spends his money on cocaine and prostitutes, it is his choice, though I think neither of those things is good or beneficial. We should know that not everyone agrees with us. We were each created differently in abilities, talents, personalities and fingerprints.

The real issue in this discussion is homosexuality, and it seems to hold a rather solid place in people’s minds. I believe people on both sides of the discussion need to be more open, respectful and willing to listen to the other. It seems people on each side are less than willing to simply talk as people — not just about sexuality, but hobbies, family and so on.

I write to express my thoughts about the Chick-fil-A and LGBT discussion occurring on campus, but also about the part I believe my Christian faith plays in the matter. Now, don’t read ‘Christian,’ rule me out and turn the page.

In my view the church needs to follow the example of Christ. If we truly believe something, it must affect the way we think, act and live. Believing Jesus’ words and actions, then, we must speak grace and truth to others the way He did. In the Bible it is very clear that we are all valuable to God and He wants us to know Him personally. After all, He sent Jesus to Earth to live and ultimately die for us. He had to die for us because we are imperfect people. None of us are perfect and all need to be saved by God’s good grace.

I would challenge the Christians on campus to mirror Christ in their daily lives as He shows us in the Gospels. Look to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, the 13th chapter, as a model of what love for one another is.

I would challenge those who do not identify with the Christian faith to give those who do a chance. Be respectful of us as well. I know many Christians on campus who care and are willing to just talk and get to know someone.

When we stop viewing people as a labeled issue, we get to the core of who they are. Mark Twain once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice and bigotry.” That means that when one goes out of one’s way to meet someone different or with opposing views, those stereotypes and labels disappear and are replaced with actual people and their unique stories.

Respect one another and take the time to get to know one another.

 

Chris Vandenhoek

SDSU Alumnus