My Response to a Comment

I received a comment from a reader of my post yesterday.  I have posted the writer’s comment here and responded individually to specifics.

“You might think that the fact that you use words as “vilify” makes you an authority on something which you obviously know nothing about.”

By phrasing your opening line with the words that I “might think” something, you limit logical denial.  However, while I “might think” using the word vilify makes me an authority on something, I don’t.  My use of the word is as a verb to describe behavior of certain people.  How is it you prove I have no “obvious” knowledge, because I did not give a history of religious bigotry in an opinion piece?  I need not give such a history; your own letter proves my point in its last line.

“You vilify Christians in the same breath you claim we vilify you.”

Show me where I say anything about Christians and show me where I vilify anything.  I am making a valid criticism of organized religion.  You jump to conclusions and take it further, ascribing my criticism to Christianity, then claim I am vilifying, all in the same breath.

“You don’t understand us, but yet we are supposed to understand you.”

Again, this comes from nowhere.  My fundamental thesis requests that we look hard at religion, that we seek understanding.  You miss this point entirely and as you do in your entire letter, making assumptions and jumping to unjustified conclusions.  You state I want “you” to understand me; does this mean you think I am in a minority and want religions to understand me?  Is it something else?  I offered an opinion, I did not ask for religious tolerance of what I had to say.

“It seems that whenever any group of people creates a movement with the same rhetoric you espouse, you want to play with a different set of rules and on a different playing field.  Your attitude and language mirrors that which you abhor in Christians.”

What rhetoric is it that I espouse, that we should look at religion’s place in furthering intolerance and bigotry?  I suppose you are right that I want to play with a different set of rules on a different playing field because I am not arguing we use intolerance and bigotry in making this examination.  And again, where in anything do I specifically mention Christians?  Where do I show abhorrence?  In asking we stop intolerance and bigotry?  Is that abhorrence?  It seems you are the one with the attitude, as well the one who is jumping to conclusions and making assumptions.

“Have you thought about that?”

Why yes.  See my previous response.

“You make leaps and bounds and speak with hyperbole, and use circular reasoning to prove your point.”

Ironic, considering this exactly what you have done through this entire diatribe. Making leaps and bounds?  You have done so by assuming I speak only of Christians.  I said religion.  Does this mean only Christianity qualifies in your narrow mind?  And where exactly is my hyperbole, in claiming religion is used as an excuse in most bigotry?  This is not overstatement; it is truth.

“I don’t think you’re going see people give up on religion.”

Did I make such a request?  No.  I said we need to look at religion honestly to see its place in bigotry.  I did not say do away with it.  Read my words, don’t jump “leaps and bounds.”

“After all, religion is a word that people don’t understand.  What we really focus on is a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

As is typical with those of your ilk, you think the only religion is yours.  There is no response to your narrow-mindedness.

“You don’t have to understand us or believe the way we believe, especially with regard to sin and our own sinfulness.  But, then again, we don’t have to understand you or believe the way you believe, either–even if you don’t want to believe that there is such a thing as sin.”

Again, as with this entire pointless rant, you make assumptions based on your own beliefs, not based on anything I have said.  And again, there really isn’t much one can do to respond to your own imaginings.

“So, I will respect you and let you live the life you want to live; but, please, respect me and let me live the life I want to live without the name-calling and generalizations.”

Name calling?  Where in what I said did I call anyone any names?  You are deluded.  And if this entire letter is your being respectful, I would hate to see what you consider disrespect.

“The proposition was voted, and unfortunately for you, you are in the minority.”

Yes, thanks to religion and the hatefulness of most people like you, bigotry is alive and well.  Thank you for proving my point.

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7 thoughts on “My Response to a Comment

  1. It’s curious isn’t it? The way that Christians seem to think they are always being persecuted. Question their reasoning (or more accurately, complete lack thereof) and they throw their hands up and shriek “Persecution!” Enforce the separation of church and state, Persecution! Ask them to define their position and they refer you to the good book – how’s that for circular reasoning?! It appears they view their world in a very religio-centric way – Christianity is the only true religion. They see the world in two shades, black and white, good and evil, me and them. Prop 8 is a result of me/them ideology. You (gay/lesbian couple) are not like me, therefore you do not deserve what I deserve. Unfortunately, there were enough “me’s” that afforded Prop 8’s passage. Steps forward, steps back – this has been a trying election year.

    As a sidenote: I know I’ve broken every generalization rule by lumping all Christians in one glance. My experience, however is there are few “Christians” who possess the openess and kindness of heart to wholistically view their world with acceptance and understanding. Those I have encountered strive to be more Christ-like than Christian. There is a difference.

  2. Lara,

    I want to publicly apologize to you for my insensitive comments to you and to the gay community at large. I had no right to be as disrespectful to you as I was. You didn’t name me in the above response, but it was me, jackg. So, please forgive me for my intolerance and disrespectful behavior. We don’t need anymore civil wars in this country. We need to understand each other and seek peaceful resolutions, and I wasn’t doing that when I responded earlier. Please forgive me.

    Jack

  3. Anne,

    You said, “My experience, however is there are few “Christians” who possess the openess and kindness of heart to wholistically view their world with acceptance and understanding. Those I have encountered strive to be more Christ-like than Christian. There is a difference.”

    Very well said. Thank you. I will strive to be more Christ-like in my interactions with others. I have learned a lot, today, from you and Lara.

    I would like to ask some questions, though, and please understand that I am striving to understand where you are coming from: what does it mean to you when you talk about viewing the world with acceptance and understanding? From your perspective, does acceptance mean that I have to change my belief system to accomodate the gay lifestyle? Or, does acceptance simply mean that I can hold onto my beliefs as long as I allow you to have yours? Also, within the context of us being American citizens, I should accept the idea that you just want to have the same rights afforded you and your significant other as my wife and I–is that what you mean by acceptance and understanding? If so, then I DO agree with you. Maybe, we as conservative Christians just get hung up on the word “marriage.” Would that be a fair assessment? Is it just a matter of semantics that we’re getting all worked up about? Believe me, I am trying to be understanding about this. (I hope you don’t mind my questions.) Is it that you see the religious right depriving you of your right to live the lifestyle you have decided to live because of the Judeo-Christian values our laws are generally based upon? If so, then I can understand your sense of being treated unfairly in what is supposed to be a free democratic society. Finally, can I rest assured that the gay agenda is not about destroying religion, my faith, my values, or condemning me to the status of bigot and hypocrite, but really about seeking equal rights, and if you had that, then we could all live peacably with each other without the hate and disrespect both sides perpetrate against each other (I do believe this is a two way street simply because we’re all human and human nature is not always nice)?

    Thank you for considering my questions. I hope you can sense that I genuinely want to understand the gay community better, and to understand my place in our society.

    Peace!

    jackg

  4. [Please delete the former comment. The stupid thing decided to refresh and send the bloody comment.]

    While I’m not the individual the questions were directed towards, I’m hovering, so I figured I’d answer them from my own experience. Anne’s answers may be different than mine.

    No one is asking you to be gay. What we (I count as the “B” in LBGT) are asking is the ability to go about our lives with the same liberties that heterosexual couples have. Live and let live. Just as I would not force you to be pagan, I would hope that you would not try to force me to be Christian with all the associated trappings.

    Many people are attaching to the concept of marriage. Marriage has changed a great deal since its inception. If it had not, then women would still be property, divorce would still be illegal, and mixed raced couples would be stoned. There is a voice within many communities that cries for “marriage” to be a church institution only. Civil unions would then be the new legal, binding document tying two individuals together.

    Plain and simple, the current Prop 8 (and associated hatred) treats two individuals different under the same law.

    I have no desire to destroy your religion. You’re free to have yours and your lifestyle as long as I am free to have mine and my lifestyle. (I’m pagan.) It is difficult for those involved to step out of it and outside of the name calling, but it is glaringly obvious that many people screaming for Prop 8 are bigots and hypocrites. I try not to paint people with a wide brush (as difficult as it is) but by their actions. Those who forbid others the same basic rights (such as the Pursuit of Happiness) that they themselves pass because of some religious belief will always be called such.

    I do not believe that children should be indoctrinated with one religion but taught all sorts of viewpoints from an early age. They should be shown all the world has to offer and be allowed to make their own choice. However, I do not force this on other people’s children.

    Human nature is to despise that which is different from us. We see it in nearly all creatures in the wild. We have to strive to be better than simple beasts, killing another pack because it stepped on our territory.

  5. To Jack:
    Your curiosity is heartening. I sense you are seeking understanding – I wish you the best in your journey.

    Acceptance and understanding…allowing others with contrasting backgrounds, beliefs and needs to coexist without discrimination. That’s a pretty loose definition and albeit relativist, it does not give groups a free pass to be destructive and inhumane. It should be noted that there is a difference between acceptance and tolerance. I suspect you are at least somewhat tolerant. Acceptance takes it one step further though – and we’re still not there. Prop 8 appeared relatively innocuous because it didn’t outright deny same sex couples the fringe benefits of marriage ie: insurance benefits etc (tolerance). It did however, deny those couples the opportunity to declare their commitment to each other in a legally recognized way – marriage (allowing it would have been acceptance). The opportunity that was afforded to me and my husband is not allowed for a same sex couple. Semantics might be a part of it – I suspect we’d all agree on more than once thought – but it is still discriminitory.

    Danaofthebells brings up an excellent point regarding the historical background of marriage. Marriage has been denied in the past to people of different colors and we can look back now and say that the reasoning then was pretty backward. In the future I hope we can say that for the reasoning being offered up now against same sex marriages.

    Do unto others as you would have done to you. We emphasize this with our children and it drives the point home. In the human community our ability to exist largely depends on how we treat others. I am certain that you appreciate the opportunities that are offered to you. Why should we deny those same opportunities to other fellow humans?

  6. To danaofthebells and Anne,

    Thank you both for your thoughtful responses. This civilized communication we have shared has been very refreshing. I can’t see any reason why any people-group (is that politically correct?) should be deprived any rights that are afforded to an American citizen. You have both made sound arguments in a respectful and humanly decent manner. Again, thank you for an extraordinarily wonderful experience.

    Blessings,
    Jack

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