I received a sweet letter from an old friend of mine today. Out of respect for her, her privacy and our friendship I’ve chosen not to repost it. However, the main crux of the letter was her disappointment in what I have posted. It was her opinion that I seemed that I was, perhaps, angry at the world, am intolerant of others opinions and in my posts I often came off as malicious attacking Christians, lumping good ones in with the bad. She thinks I am no longer a happy-go-lucky, enjoyable person. After sending me the letter, I was blocked from her facebook and remain unable to contact her. I have to say that it was probably one of the most eloquently written letters and despite being critical was not in the least bit mean. I think she deserves to know that I do appreciate that. I’ve decided that it was best to respond to her letter in an open format on this blog in hopes that she may read it or it may eventually make its way to her.
Thank you for your sincere letter. The care and sincerity did not go unnoticed. I find it important to respond with the same respect and care in hopes that perhaps we better understand each other and neither of us think any less of each either. We haven’t spoken in years, more than ‘Happy Birthday’ or a ‘Congrats’ on the big life events so I believe I owe it to you to have that conversation, now, as best as I can.
As you mentioned in your letter, I’m often guilty of not pointing out the good in things in life. We all worry about our failures more than celebrating our successes. If I had one character flaw that I could change with a snap of my fingers, it would be to more often enjoy the moment and the good things in life. While that is not always possible, it’s something I strive to overcome. Believe it or not, I do work on it daily.
I can’t claim to be the person I was a decade ago. Each and every person grows and changes through the years through our experiences, loves, losses, sorrows, and triumphs. However, I believe I’ve taken the best parts with me, become a little less naïve and a little more understanding in the process. I don’t at all think I’m angry at the world or not happy. I do regret that you interpreted that as the case.
It’s never my intention to lump every type of person into one large group. While I think of myself as an equal opportunity jabber, I know I tend to jab a few groups more than others. I often jab Republicans, for example. During my jabs I typically use the term GOP or Republicans; I know there are Republicans out there who aren’t like the others some are more libertarian, some more independent, some far right-wing. They are not all Rush Limbaughs. In fact, I’m good friends with them many Republicans and we relish in their successes, laugh about their failures and have lots of open dialogue. We don’t always agree, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the discussion and respect their opinion. The same can be said for Christians. I’m not intending to come off offensive or self-righteous, but I want you to know I did go through this blog and there are many instances where I point out the good things Christians do, not just the bad. I believe I am guilty, like everyone else, of not recognizing it nearly enough and I am sorry that sometimes good people get lumped in with the bad unintentionally. It’s not my intention to lump people into groups, and I try to recognize that. If I’m not doing a good job at that, I encourage dialogue. The last thing I want is a misconception or an ill intended, poorly worded statement to cause disappointment or anger.
Also I don’t want anyone to think that because I express my opinion, often bluntly and strong, that it is the only opinion that matters. I agree, disagree and am indifferent on a variety of opinions and views. Some might find it surprising that I find many of the GOP tax reform ideas, great ideas. I’m also against affirmative action (despite knowing it has its benefits), while being pro-Title IX. I don’t actually have any opinion on Abortion. I don’t think I personally have the right to tell any woman what to do. I want babies to find good homes, but I realize that a blanket black or white approach doesn’t solve this complex issue. I understand and respect the differences in opinions, but I don’t respect blanket hatred for hatred’s sake. That’s often a fine line. In my own way, I try to point out the hypocrisies in an argument through jokes, satires, statements, and other arguments. My goal is to break it down, encourage dialogue and understanding on both sides of a topic. Everyone has the right to their opinion and their beliefs, I don’t infringe on those rights. I may differ, I may criticize but I don’t rarely judge a person based on their opinion (Westboro Baptist Church, you made me change my statement). That being said me criticizing an opinion should never be misconstrued for malice. I do not wish death or ill will on anyone who has a different opinion.
In recent days I’ve criticized Chick-Fil-A for their behavior, statements and actions. I have to believe that this is a crucial part of your reasoning behind the letter. Now, in any other situation I would have probably have had a discussion with you about my reasoning, ask you about yours and get down to the real issues but I have no way of contacting my you because I have been blocked after receiving your letter. I’m forced to go with my most logical assumptions.
Here is my perspective:
Chick-Fil-A, under the guidance of Dan Cathy, claims that gays don’t deserve equal rights and are part of the reason God’s “turning against America” and has for many years funded some of the most vile hate groups (deemed by the Southern Poverty Law Center). Now, they have their opinion. It’s their opinion and they’re sticking to it. That’s their right, but it doesn’t make it morally right. Dan Cathy claims gays will destroy the world, that they are the reason God is turning his back on America and he strictly adheres to the Bible. Harsh words, right?
This is, unfortunately for him, not really grounded in reality. Gays have been around for centuries before the rise of Christianity, and are well documented in species across the globe. Cathy claims he must do what he’s doing and say what he’s saying as part of being a good Christian, but he serves bacon on his sandwiches (Leviticus 19:19), shaves his face (Leviticus 19:27) and doesn’t ask women in his organization to hide while having their “time of the month” (Leviticus 15:19). So what makes gays evil, but these things in the same book (very close to the same verses that are used to criminalize and dehumanize gays) ‘Okay’ in his eyes? He is either cherry picking the Bible, doesn’t understand it very well, or has some extreme animus and malcontent. Since Cathy claims he’s doing neither of the first two, I’m going to respect his opinion as the truth on the matter. That only leaves animus and hate.
The man has pushed millions in profits (from his company) behind organizations that are organizing African Nations like Uganda to take up and pass legislation that would “Kill the Gays” in their countries. Other organizations he has financially supported seek to take children into extreme anti-gay therapy, which has a proven track record of mentally screwing kids up (for life) according to the American Psychological Association. And that’s just a start. He’s said he’s “guilty as charged” for funding these groups. Our opinions may differ, but I don’t think that’s the Christianity I learned in Sunday School.
My protest/discussions/posts/jokes or “attacks” are not against a view point, but an event, an action by a man and his company to dehumanize a group of people wanting to live their lives free of persecution. I can’t in good conscience support that company, with their long history of anti-gay actions. I can’t stand silent while the man funds organizations that push bills that would kill human beings for being who they are. There’s nothing Christian about it. That doesn’t even begin to account for the company track record of recent lies and smear campaigns.
In my humble opinion, expressing my views, informing others, and posting ridiculous memes/jokes is not malicious nor is it saying all Christians fund the killing of gays worldwide. That’s absurd. If that were the case, wouldn’t any comments or jokes against the vile Westboro Baptist Church also by nature include all other Christians? That’s completely silly.
When taken out of context, any statement can be misleading but that’s why we have to have open dialogue and not just shut down. My points may be blunt at times, but they are logical not irrational and hate filled.
Frankly, because I don’t say it enough, there are lots of good Christian/Republican/Democrat/Gay/Muslim/Straight/Jewish/Independent/Agnostic people (I’m inserting the rest to not limit this statement to any particular group) out there who aren’t small minded and bigoted. They are good, wonderful, wholesome people who do a lot of good in the world and seek to spread love and not hate. My intent is never to be malicious, so if it has come across that way I apologize.
I hope you find this letter passed on to you some way, somehow and you open up the dialogue again. Jesus said “Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.” I’m asking you to walk with me…just one mile… and maybe in that time you will understand me just a little more than a few singular statements posted on Facebook. Until then I hope I’ve addressed your concerns, and until then you will be in my thoughts.