Would you be friends with a racist?

Photo by mad artichoke.

The election period is putting many friendships to test. If you are going to vote, you have to pick one of the candidates and neither candidate is perfect. Most people, especially in this election, believe strongly that the other candidate is terrible. And since they believe one candidate is terrible, they feel compelled to campaign for their candidate.

And this campaigning has led to many discussions and arguments. On Facebook, I’ve seen many of my friends saying they are unfriending people who support the other candidate, whomever that other may be.

Which led me to the question … could you be friends with someone who held at least one belief you felt was wrong? Could you be friends with a racist? Could you be friends with someone who is pro-life if you are pro-choice? Or pro-choice if you are pro-life? Could you be friends with someone who owns guns if you are anti-guns? Could you be friends with a hunter if you are a vegan? Could you be friends with someone you found out carried a gun in their jacket at all times? Could you be friends with someone who thinks all guns in hands of civilians is wrong? Could you be friends with someone who believes in a god if you are an atheist? Could you be friends with an atheist if you believe in God?

Some of my friends are adamant that the answer is no. If they can’t respect someone’s entire belief system, they can’t be friends. They often defend that view point by saying they are defending their personal freedom or the rights of others. To me, that feels like I’d be insisting I’m right about everything and missing out on lots of great people who’ve had different experiences that have led them to different viewpoints. By having diversity in my friendships, I’m more likely to be able to help us come up with solutions to some of the very difficult problems our world is facing.

Where do you draw the line?

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