The United States is all about diversity. It always has been.
Some live in the North, some in the South, some in the East, some in the West. Those geographical designations represent different subcultures of our great nation. But there are even more variations of those. There is the Pacific Northwest (where I'm from), the Deep South, the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest and it goes on and on.
For a project in elementary school, I had to research my genealogy. It turns out that I am Scottish, English, Norwegian, French-Canadian, Native American (Crow tribe), Pennsylvania Dutch and I can't remember what else. The interesting part is that I am one quarter Norwegian and less of everything else, some measured in sixteenths and thirty-secondths. US Citizens and legal immigrants come from an even wider variety nationalities and ethnicities.
Many early settlers came to North America looking for religious freedom. Today, there are Christians, Muslims and Atheists in the USA. There are also Hindis, Buddhists, Wiccans and a whole lot more. In the United States of America, we are free to practice our faith, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others, without fear of government interference.
Not everyone is going to agree. But we don’t have to agree on everything to get along. If fact, we only have to agree to obey the law to get along. Any laws that we don’t like, we can work to get changed.
Nobody is exactly like me. The good news is that you don’t have to be exactly like me to be my friend. Most of my friends are different in several ways. But we are still friends. We still work together or train together or respond to emergencies together (I’m a volunteer firefighter) or compete in martial arts together or go to church together.
- I like to hunt, but I like people who either don’t like to hunt or are opposed to killing animals.
- I know vegetables are good for me, but I still don’t like how they taste. I like red meat, my favorites (in order) being elk, bison, grass-fed beef, and venison. I don’t like eating fish or seafood. But lots of my friends enjoy seafood and some of them are vegetarian and even vegan. We don’t have to eat the same foods to get along.
- I practice martial arts and believe in my right to defend myself. I have friends that don’t agree.
- I am a happily married heterosexual man. I have friends who are single or living with their partner unmarried and/or are gay or lesbian.
- I am a Pentecostal Christian. I believe the Bible is true. I have unbelieving friends. I have several friends that don’t share my beliefs or morals. They are still my friends.
- I believe in intelligent design, that God created the earth and all life on it. I have friends that believe in the Theory of Evolution. We sometimes discuss it but usually just agree to disagree.
- Politically, I would like to see a balanced national budget. I would like politicians to get paid less and to use the same health care and retirement programs that the rest of us have.
I firmly hold my beliefs. Like my friends that have other views, we all believe that people should all be more like “me”. But that is not the reality. The reality is that some people will never change. And there are some things about me that will never change. On the other hand, I have changed some of my views over the years just like others.
So what am I saying? Accept the reality that we all differ in some way. We can all rally for our causes. We can all stand for what we believe. And we can do it without hurting each other; without insulting each other; without fighting each other. If you want respect, give respect.
So, whether you voted for Trump or Clinton or one of the other choices, let’s work together to make this country what we want it to become. Let’s work together. Let’s communicate by speaking AND listening. Let’s support each other personally even when we don’t support each other’s view.
Rick Warren said it better than I can when he said: “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
I will close with the words of Jesus and the Apostles.
Jesus Christ said: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” The Apostle Paul said: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” The Apostle Peter said: “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” The Apostle John said: Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
God be with you,