I believe we haven’t met…

Last night, I had a Facebook exchange that unfortunately turned out like so many such conversations do when “discussing” current events. In light of that thread, I decided it’s probably time to reintroduce myself so everybody here knows what I’m about.

I believe that Jesus Christ, wholly God and wholly man, came to Earth to restore us to righteousness through the sacrifice of His sinless self.

I believe in loving others as Christ loves us, regardless of their origin, belief system, or even whether they’re very nice people.

I support bodily autonomy for all, whether it’s my child who doesn’t want to hug you or a woman who rightfully wants to make her own reproductive choices.

I support comprehensive background checks for responsible gun ownership and a federal database to ensure consistent records across state lines.

I believe in rehabilitation over incarceration for non-violent offenders, and rehabilitation in conjunction with incarceration for other offenders.

I believe in supporting our armed forces and actively holding their leadership to a high standard for their deployment.

I believe we should allocate a significant percentage of the “defense” budget to veterans’ services, including the treatment of combat-related mental illness.

I believe that we can do more as a nation to help treat those with mental illness, who are a disproportionate percentage of the homeless population.

I know from reading the research that drug testing for welfare eligibility is an inefficient and unnecessary cost to state taxpayers.

I stand with Planned Parenthood.

I believe that the government should not turn away foreign refugees in crisis, particularly when they are determined to be no threat AND citizens have volunteered to open their homes.

I support full vaccination for the overwhelming majority of children who are not allergic or immunocompromised.

I believe that routine infant circumcision is horrific, unnecessary, and tantamount to child cruelty.

I believe that spanking is harmful to children’s development.

I am a staunch ally of the LGBTQ community.

I support full inclusion of the LGBTQ community in the global church and the United Methodist Church specifically.

I know that #BlackLivesMatter and that saying so does not negate or threaten my position as a white person.

I believe in closing tax loopholes at the highest income levels.

I support legalization of marijuana for personal and medical use, subject to reasonable legislative controls (just like alcohol).

Finally…I believe Han shot first.

I consider it a point of pride that I know and love many in my world who hold different viewpoints and, in fact, outright disagree with me on many of these topics. What keeps us going, though, is a commitment to mutually respectful and civil engagement. Disagreement does not undermine your dignity or mine, but resorting to hateful or uncivil language does. And I reserve the right to love you from a MUCH greater distance if you choose to engage that way.

This comes too late for my recently unfriended cousin, but you can do with it what you will.

Be blessed, brothers and sisters.