TUCSON, Ariz. --
Can a person be respected even if you disagree with them on an issue?
Lately, I feel bombarded by news stories about people physically or emotionally harming one another. It is rare that a week, or even a day, goes by without a story of a person or group acting inappropriately on ideological beliefs. I am saddened to see individuals harmed simply for their beliefs, whether religious or political.
Is it any wonder that school officials are consistently dealing with the issue of bullying? Is there an answer to this unnecessary violence?
Nearly all belief systems include some version of the ethics of reciprocity or a “golden rule” of some sort. This directive teaches us to treat others as we would wish to be treated. As a minister, I encourage you to search out what your belief system says about the golden rule. You will find that exhibiting humane, decent behavior to others is a core philosophy.
Most of us believe that we can love someone even if we do not completely agree with them in every aspect of their political, philosophical and religious views. The difficulty is finding how to make a relationship work in daily life when there are differing views.
Bottom line, it is a choice. It is important for people to know what they believe and don’t believe; but having a civil, respectful response to those who contradict or oppose your views is just as important. If you are struggling with how to respond to an issue at home or in the workplace, your chaplain’s office is available for you.