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Commentary: Do you think you know me by my labels?

October 2017

By Theresa Windus, Professor in Chemistry

Theresa Windus, Professor in Chemistry

I am a white, heterosexual, conservative, pro-life Christian. In addition, I am a scientist, chemistry professor, wife, mother and grandmother. Based on this, do you think you know me? Are you afraid of me? Do you hate me? Do you like me? Do you agree with my point of view? Or disagree?

I hope your answer is that you can’t know until you actually meet me and get to know me. As a follower of Christ, one of my core values is respect and love for all people. This means hate is NOT a part of my philosophy of life, and I do not advocate violence as a solution. I believe Jesus radically loves all people just as we are, and I try to follow His example. I wish I could say that I am always perfectly aligned with the teachings of Christ, but I am human as well and fall short of the mark. I suspect that we all struggle with falling short in some way! Sometimes this love means that I go out of my way to NOT say things that might cause hard feelings for others. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have an opinion on the topic. However, I try to have a conversation instead of a debate.

We may not agree on many things, but I don’t hate you just because you are different from me. I have many good friends who have very different world-views than I do. I respect your right to have your world-view and I hope that you will respect mine. Let’s have conversation, not demean each other — let’s get to know each other.

In any label there are a variety of people — we don’t all think the same and have the same opinions. So, please don’t use my labels to pigeonhole me, and I will try to do the same for you.  Get to know those who are different from you.  We will all benefit from the dialogue and by realizing how many things we do have in common. My door is open.

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