Compassion transcends family ties

The announcement this week by Sen. Rob Portman (R/Ohio) that he now supports gay marriage because his son is gay gives us all something of an unpleasant wake-up call. It is also a demonstration of the painful course that compassion must of necessity take.

For elected officials and those in ministry and vocations, whose decisions touch on others people’s lives and emotions, one would have to constantly ask this question: “What if, I was in that position?” “What if, my son, daughter, sister, mother, father etc was in that position?”

The irony of Sen. Portman’s reversal of position is that his original position must have either been based on some principle or it did not directly affect him personally. So, how do we show compassion and still uphold the principles we claim? Many people have difficulties with gay marriages. Yet, we all must fight for social justice, show love and have compassion.

Everyday, we make decisions that affect others. How do I make sure that my decisions and actions are compassionate and contribute to other people’s joy and happiness, which we all seek? This calls for more than family ties or even personal comfort. Principles too must have solid validity.

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