The suggestion from Derek Webb: "What changes people's minds and changes people's language is relationships. I personally don't think that any Christian who doesn't have a friend -- not just a token friend, but someone they love and care about -- who is gay should speak out about the gay issue. I think that should almost be a requirement to publicly voice your opinion, because I can't tell you how it changes your posture and your language when you're not just talking about a "behavior" or a "faithless" group of people, but a family member or loved one -- someone who, when you're done saying what you're going to say, you'll have to deal with.
"I'm not saying that we should change our positions on things we think are absolutely true, but it should bear some weight on what we say and how we say it. Everything would change if we actually knew each other. That's really what it's going to take."
I don't think Webb means we shouldn't discuss issues we don't have a personal connection with; I think he just means we shouldn't wave our ignorance around for all to see in the public sphere. We shouldn't go making ultimatums and declamations and speeches when we know not what we do, when we don't really understand the consequences of the stances we are taking.
(Of course, a problem is that it's a short slope from "don't talk about it in public if you're ignorant" to "you can believe whatever you want to believe in private as long as you never tell people in public because that would infringe on their right to believe what they want without being challenged by others who believe differently.")
"Don't talk about this in public unless you know what you're talking about" might be a good strategy in general for people in our culture. Our culture encourages us to speak out and let our voices be heard. It encourages us to say what we feel, to speak before we think. Sometimes I get headaches that we live in a culture where we're told in many ways that an uninformed and ignorant opinion has just as much weight as a thoughtful, well-supported one.
What do you think?