This is what I believe:
I believe everyone has a right to believe what they believe.
Not only that, I believe that everyone should respect what others believe. And I believe that it is wrong to deliberately cause someone discomfort for believing what they believe.
Sure, I might try to influence others’ beliefs with hopes that they change. But I never, ever disrespect someone as a result of what they believe. I hope not, anyway.
Let me explain.
I believe in God and in the story of Jesus. But in my book, people who believe otherwise are just as religious, just as noble, just as important, and just as right as I am. That’s what they believe, I believe, and that’s fine with me.
I believe laws and rules should be followed – until they are changed. It recently hit home with me that this belief might be a minority one. Some of our community’s leaders and some of my friends say that I’m wrong: That the end can justify the means, as long as the community’s interests are the top priority. That is what they believe, and who am I to disrespect that. But I believe what I believe.
I believe governmental actions should be transparent to the public. Both candidates in the last mayoral election, and most local incumbent politicians, believe otherwise.
I believe that there is no such thing as “the black community.” That term, to me, is overused, and, well, nonsensical. Why would we refer to African-Americans collectively as the “black community” without referring to Caucasians as a whole as the “white community.” Each individual is a human being; to make general assumptions about someone’s beliefs or experiences or heart or mind simply due to the color of their skin is asinine, to me.
Similarly, I don’t believe there are only two groups of people – liberals and conservatives. To say that people are either one or the other one is, well, “mindless.”
I believe that I probably should have used the word “unintelligent” rather than “mindless.”
Just as I believe that a church can’t succeed without uprightness, I believe that there’s no way to accomplish good government without morality.
I believe our Iraq military strategy has been flawed from Day 1. Some of my best friends otherwise. They respect my point of view, I think, and I certainly respect theirs. Believe it.
I believe that if we embraced people with different perspectives than us, that if we welcome our apparent adversaries into our homes and hearts and even on our radio talk shows, we would better appreciate what we all believe.
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