On Gay Marriage, A Personal Encounter Can Change Minds
So says Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, in a letter responding to state and local leaders who advise him to stay away from the pro-traditional marriage march in DC. Excerpt:
3. It gives me assurance that we share a common disdain for harsh and hateful rhetoric. It must be pointed out, though, that there is plenty of offensive rhetoric which flows in the opposite direction. In fact, for those who support the conjugal understanding of marriage, the attacks have not stopped at rhetoric. Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence. It is true that historically in our society violence has been perpetrated against persons who experience attraction to members of the same sex, and this is to be deplored and eradicated. Sadly, though, we are now beginning to see examples, although thankfully not widespread, of even physical violence against those who hold to the conjugal view of marriage (such as, most notably, the attempted gunning down of those who work in the offices of the Family Research Council). While it is true that free speech can be used to offend others, it is not so much people exercising their right to free speech that drives us further apart than people punished precisely for doing so that does.
4. Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of
context. Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings. I myself am willing to meet
personally with any of you not only to dialogue, but simply so that we can get to know each
other. It is the personal encounter that changes the vision of the other and softens the heart.
In the end, love is the answer, and this can happen even between people with such deep
disagreements. That may sound fanciful and far-fetched, but it is true, it is possible. I know it is possible, I know this from personal experience. When we come together seeking to understand the other with good will, miracles can happen.
When all is said and done, then, there is only one thing that I would ask of you more than anything else: before you judge us, get to know us.
Well said, Archbishop.