Friday, April 3, 2015

The Grand Bargain - Live and Let Live

Does anyone really think the blame always lies 100% elsewhere? The pizza place, ABC-57, the backlash with death threats, the backlash against the backlash on FOX News about which side is more intolerant... How will any of this bridge a divide? Yes 'the left' (I doubt all of them) wants everyone to accept their beliefs. But, is it possible that 'the right' (also not all of them) wants to see this entire country follow Christian morality? Because if it was established as a Christian nation, there is justification to make it follow all of the Christian moral code, or one's idea of what that code entails. If it was meant to have no established religion, then we were founded as a pluralistic nation. It is therefore unfair to say this is a problem only of 'the left'.

Everyone wants to just keep pointing blame on the other. In general, the left pushes it's secular morality on the religious, and in general, the right tries to legislate it's religious rules on the rest of society. Individually, that gets much more messy and not as true. In this case, opponents of refusing service for gay ceremonies reacted (we don't know their political affiliation), many very poorly, to an attempt by the supporters to follow up a state ban on same sex weddings (which they lost) with new legislation that I honestly don't know if it was meant for refusing service or not (an amendment that was just attached however, has just secured a better understanding of making sure all are equal under this law).

If someone doesn't want beliefs shoved on them or be forced to serve in favor of a cause they disagree with, then why force legislation that outlaws the cause altogether? Isn't that forcing beliefs on them? Where should the line be drawn? What if a religion (let's call it Monism) has the belief that only their religion should be allowed legally and they live here in America and run for office? What if they have the highest followers in the whole country and this person is likely to be voted in? Oh, and in this situation, Christians are in a very small minority of the population. Should America make sure Monism is protected, even if it means her own demise in the process? What if Monists just think this is a core tenant of Monism? Should it still be protected? Sure, the Constitution does not allow for established religion, but this Monist plans to ignore that because the Founding Fathers all thought highly of the Monist holy book. This may or may not be an accurate portrayal of what some Christians want, but it is how right-wing Christians are viewed in this country. If that's not their intent, someone should seriously correct that notion. Unfortunately, it seems there is some truth to it as some in this group (again, not all) do seem to want exactly this. Hopefully, I'm wrong, but this looks just like those who claim this is what 'the left' is doing. One claims the other wants to outlaw religion and the other claims the first wants to make a specific religion the country's national religion. Again, hopefully, both are wrong, and I suspect they are... Which is also why we need to listen to each other more and figure out where our goals overlap and work on those overlaps.

As a recent article stated, and I'm summarizing:

"Society needs a grand bargain where we all stop what we've been doing. The left stops pushing its secular morality on the religious and the right stops legislating religious rules on the rest of the country. Any takers?"

That is what we desperately need because otherwise the death threats and the terms of 'bigot', 'homophobe', 'gay tyranny', and 'gay fascists' will just keep flying. When a GOP leader compares gays to Hamas.... this proves that no one is interested in a resolution anymore, only mudslinging and garnering more votes from their constituents. Stirring up the pot like this is why so many are cynical about voting or being part of any religion or consuming the news because the politicians, religious followers and leaders, and the news media are all culprits in getting Americans to pit themselves against each other. And we're culprits for buying into it and pitting ourselves against each other.

Gays and lesbians have some great people in their mix. The religious have great people in their mix as well. Those who see homosexuality as a sin, based on religion, will likely never see it any other way. Those who see it differently, based on a scientific reason, will likely never see it any other way. But that is no reason to scream out pejoratives against the other. In fact, that will only further bolster each side to refuse working with those who have been screaming pejoratives against them. And, by 'other way', I don't mean flipping positions because this thinking that there are always only two sides to every issue doesn't help us either. The goal is not to change minds, the goal is to find common solutions. Otherwise, live and let live.

The American Ideal, as of late, has become to divide and conquer. We've thrown out 'United We Stand'.... Never mind that it's actually much more of a biblical principle to realize a 'house divided against itself cannot stand'.

The best thing that the right and left can do, if they all love their country as much as they say they do.... Stop saying the other side hates this country and its laws and its constitution. Because the surest way to see this country die is to keep going the way we all have been going. I try to remain distant but even when I get in the fire for too long, I get egged on and I start throwing bombs around to make myself feel good about the positions I have taken.

Liberal is a decent word with decent principles. They wish to progress forward and cover new ground. They want freedom, like the 60s were about. Conservative is a decent term with a great principle that helps us curb ourselves from giving up everything about where we have been. It's not all bad. Some things are worth preserving. Conservatives want responsibility, like the 50s were about. But we Millennials live here in the 2000's. We don't want to return to the 50's or the 60's. We want to live in the here and now, and as said in Austin Powers (paraphrasing), "It's a groovy time to be alive. It's a time that realizes we need freedom and responsibility." Sure, our past is checkered, but so is our present. And, if we hope to see a future, we must not forget the mistakes of the present or past.

The fact that Ms. Connell and her family even feel like they have to go into hiding, whether justified or not (I have no idea), is not where this whole issue should've led. I'd love to see justice against the ABC editor, but I don't hope the family sues because at some point, someone has to lay their weapon down, turn the other cheek, and help everyone to begin healing against the damage we've all done to each other. Whatever happened to the Christian commandment of forgiveness? What will a lawsuit accomplish in the grand scheme of things? And forgiveness isn't finite. It's 70x7, meaning we shouldn't even keep track of how many times we forgive.

I don't fully blame the homosexuals in this. They are fighting for their freedoms too. Some of the religious may believe it's a choice, but still, homosexuals have the same rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Even if it is a choice, unlike race, you know what else is a choice? Choosing which religion to follow. If religion has the right to choose, so would homosexuals.

I don't fully blame religion in this either. Many in the religious world want to make sure that everyone's freedoms are protected, for themselves, for the left, for other religions, for the non-religious, and for their right leaning fellow religious followers. We may disagree with other religious people on what 'freedom' means, and we definitely disagree theologically, but pushing legislation through to ensure others are limited in their freedoms while maintaining ours or increasing ours will not get the 'other' side to go away or back off. We all know going in that anytime someone feels trapped in a corner, they will fight back. And when they fight back, we fight back. And when we fight back.... It just keeps going until someone gets physically hurt (ie: beaten to death, businesses burned to the ground, death threats, etc.) and it ends in anarchy. I mean, didn't we just see this in Ferguson??

I've seen so many articles that say the liberals don't care who they hurt just so long as they get their way. Really??! How is that possibly true? These people making this claim don't seem to realize how many times the left has made fun of the right or Christians and then the right has also responded with death threats... In the name of Christ!! Or, when the right has made fun of the left or Atheists.... the same argument could be made against the conservatives. And really, I wish people would stop using my Savior as an excuse to go kill someone or threaten them or beat them or even to win a political campaign.

In 2012, the Republicans chanted, "Anyone but Obama." They didn't care who got in office. It wasn't a campaign about what they were for... They united in what they were against... And it was all about making sure religion would not get outlawed by 2016!! Obama has shown no signs of even being close to doing anything of the sort! And yesterday, Mike Huckabee said that the gay agenda would not stop until there are no churches left! Again, with the fear tactics, all based on 'fabricated' and 'manufactured' claims that have no support in truth!

Should I also point out the biblical passage of not worrying about the speck in someone else's eye without taking care of the log in your own eye? I'm harsher on religion because of my own faith.... We are actually supposed to be better than this. We've been called to a higher standard. But believe me, I'm not excusing the damage done by the left.

If people want to keep pointing fingers and figure out where they should be pointed.... Let's turn all those hands around and point them back at ourselves. This. All of this. We all manufactured it. We all 'fabricated' it. Not specific things necessarily, but the whole stupid made up, ideological war for at least the past 70 years. And, Christians have more reason than anyone to help stop it. We can turn the other cheek, we can love our neighbors, we can be ambassadors for Christ instead of artillery gunners for Christ... We don't have to sing out, "Onward Christian Soldiers", we can sing, "Let There Be Peace on Earth (and Let it Begin With Me)". Doesn't that seem so much nicer and a better, easier solution? Jesus would be so much more proud of His Creation if he saw that instead of boycotts, death threats, murder, assaults, or writing more laws to make things more difficult, like the Pharisees did. In fact, jesus wasn't concerned with his own freedoms at all.... He laid down his own life. He gave up his rights. He gave up his freedom. He could have called ten thousand Angels to wipe out those against him, but he didn't. He had a grander purpose... There was a bigger picture. Do we see that bigger picture anymore? Shouldn't we be helping people discover Christ instead of worrying about ourselves?

This message is also a great one for those outside of Christianity or religion altogether. Religion and Atheists are not enemies. Conservatives and Liberals are not enemies. LGBTQ and Christians are not enemies (some are Christian in fact). We see things differently, that is all. So, no matter who it is, please stop degrading others and then jumping up and down about it when they fall. I do not agree with Ms. Connell's views, but it was inhuman for those of you to threaten her death or burn her business down or even delight that these things were even suggested. This is not the way to peace.

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