Am I tolerant of the views of others? Am I angry? Do I have something to prove. Yes to all three, but not totally.
One problem with liberals historically is they have not objected when people hold and act on obnoxious beliefs. They generally do not call one un-American because they hold different beliefs. It is conservatives who say “America: love it or leave it,” not liberals. When the vitriol from the right started, most liberals held their tongues. “The liberal world view is evil and is the root cause of every ill in society…liberals celebrate every aborted baby…liberals hate the country…” and so on. Trust me, it is hard to hear this, and worse (being called Son of Satan is not pleasant either) day after day, year after year, and not say anything. But when they do say something, when they start reacting, they are called intolerant and bigoted, rigid in their beliefs, when what they are doing is responding to often scurrilous attacks, usually against other people.
Many do not know me except from sound bites on facebook or through this site. This will be a little longer than a facebook post—but not be complete, because that would take all day and be too long to read.
THE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACTS
“Love the sinner. but hate the sin “—the current mantra that allows people to rail against homosexuality and proclaim loudly that all homosexuals are damned. I think it is fine for people to believe like this. I disagree with them, but they do have the right to believe that. I get a little irritated when they tell this to people, tell them that they love them and are praying for them to change, to turn-away from their sin. Part of the problem is that when people say this, they are ignoring a lot of planks in their own eyes to point of the sin they see elsewhere. A lot of people are very good at seeing the failings in others and seeing that the failings in others grieve God while seeing their own failings as strengths.
But when they move to discriminate based on these actions, it angers me. I suppose one can claim to love a person and discriminate—deny them services or equal protection under the law—but it rings hollow. It feels wrong. To love someone is to accept them and serve them and…now some will say that it is loving them to try to change them. Maybe, but it is a different type of love than I know about.
My problem regarding the evangelical reaction to homosexuals began in the late 1980s. At that time, I was attending Southern Baptist churches, taught adult bible study and so on. At that time, the only condition to being a “Southern Baptist Church” was paying the dues to the convention. There was no set of beliefs, no catechism to which a local church had to hold to be a part of the convention. Then, in 1991, a North Carolina Southern Baptist church hired an openly gay person as their pastor. The convention pulled that church’s membership in the convention. I talked to my pastor about it and he agreed this was a significant change, but that there was nothing to be done. I resigned my membership (and joined the Methodists) and sent a letter to the convention explaining why. I do this kind of thing a lot. My wife says it makes no difference, it changes nothing and only hurts me , but yet, I tilt at the windmills.
About thirty years ago, I started doing business with a guy who just does not like blacks or gays or immigrants who do not acclimate. He is severely prejudiced. But he does not act on his prejudice. He employed blacks and gays and people who do not speak english. It took me ten years to ask him to stop using racial slurs around me, and that it took so long to make the request embarrasses me: I was afraid of losing business—an absolutely lousy reason not to speak against prejudice. . He stopped using the slurs around me. Again, my wife says that changed nothing. Maybe not, but he does think about it now, and if enough people would make the request or him and people like him, maybe the slurs will stop. I tolerate his views because he does not allow them to cause him to discriminate.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY?
I want my Republican party back, the one I signed up for in 1974, the one that was liberal socially and fiscally conservative, before, as Barry Goldwater said, the party was taken over by the religious right. His words: “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.
The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom…. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are?… I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.”
I want the Republican party to shed its extremism, to stop being afraid of the TEA Party faction or of Grover Norquist. Its current irrational belief that no matter what the problem the answer is to cut taxes is destroying budget of states across the country—a prime example is Kansas. My state is not far behind. In Wisconsin, things have gotten so bad that the new budget slashes the appropriations to the University of Wisconsin, one of the best schools in the country.
I want the part to stop operating and using the politics of race and fear, which started with Nixon’s “southern strategy,” an odious practice even by Nixon’s standards. Remember the Willie Horton ad?
Bush tactics against McCain in 2000 included: Among the rumors circulated against McCain in 2000 in South Carolina was that his adopted Bangladeshi daughter was actually black, that McCain was both gay and cheated on his wife, and that his wife Cindy was a drug addict.” “Some of George W. Bush’s supporters have questioned Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s fitness for the White House, suggesting that his five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam drove him insane at the time.”
And “the architect,” Karl Rove, said this about Hillary Clinton: “Thirty days in the hospital?” Rove said, according to Page Six. “And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what’s up with that.”
And about Obama, the Kenya-born Mulsim raised to hate America in Indonesia, tutored at the knee of Saul-Alinsky, who is going to take all your guns and make Christianity illegal, suspend the constitution and declare himself dictator for life, all while being an incompetent buffoon.
I am tired of this stuff and am tired of not responding.
WHY NO RELIGION HAS ALL THE ANSWERS
Boy do I Wish I had never started reading and learning things, because the more I read and learn, the more I question my beliefs. What I have found is t hat it is all well and good to read and learn but that when all the reading and learning is done, if one does not want to be called heretic, one had best not change one’s views because of the reading and learning.
Here’s the scorecard:
If you are Muslim, you believe 5.4 billion people are wrong
If you are Atheist, you believe 5.8 billion people are wrong
If you are Protestant, you believe 5.9 billion people are wrong
If you are Hindi, you believe 5.9 billion people are wrong
If you are Catholic, you believe 6 billion people are wrong
If you are Buddhist, you believe 6.9 billion people are wrong
If you are Mormon, you believe 7.2 billion people are wrong
It is unfathomable to me that God created all these people knowing he was going to cause the vast majority—all but an insignificant minority—to be tortured for all eternity (which, by the way is not what the Bible says—not in the original Greek—but that is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish), and if it is what God intended, I have trouble accepting Him as good or worthy of praise. Fear, yes, but praise? That would take a lot of explanation. As Mother Teresa has been credited with saying when she goes to meet God “You got lot’s of explaining to do.”
Two examples may explain better how I feel.
1)Above all else, contemplate the windows. In the Cathedral of the World there are windows beyond number, some long forgotten, covered with many patinas of dust, others revered by millions, the most sacred of shrines. Each in its own way is beautiful. Some are abstract, others representational; some dark and meditative, others bright and dazzling. Each tells a story about the creation of the world, the meaning of history, the purpose of life, the nature of humankind, the mystery of death. The windows of the cathedral are where the light shines through. (Google “Cathedral of the World”
2) “The Elephant and the Blind Men” poem begins:
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind
They conclude that the elephant is like a wall, snake, spear, tree, fan or rope, depending upon where they touch. They have a heated debate that does not come to physical violence. But in Saxe’s version, the conflict is never resolved.
So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
I have been in four Christian denominations. Three have said all the others are wrong and going to hell. One, the one in which I am currently a member, I am comfortable because it believes as do I, that there can be difference of opinions and each party holding the divergent opinions can be right.
THIS IS TOO LONG, GOTTA CLOSE IT
Call me insane, call me intolerant, angry, with a point to prove. Maybe I am—I don’t feel that way, but maybe I am. But, I will keep tilting at windmills until there are not more windmills at which to tilt or I have not breath left with which to tilt.
I have decided enough is enough. When people talk out of intentional ignorance or misinformation or prejudice or hate, I will no longer stay silent. I will take the abuse, the name calling, being told I hate the country, that I hate God. If people do not do this, nothing changes.