Saturday, 21 April 2012

Do We Really Still Have To Be Talking About This?

Have you ever had to explain something to an obstinate person?  Perhaps this sounds familiar:  You start with a simple premise that everyone agrees on.  Then another.  Then you follow those two to their natural conclusion.  Then you apply that conclusion to your current situation.  Somewhere between step three and four, the obstinate person just says, "no."  No reason.  They just refuse to accept that 4 is the sum of 2 and 2.

Insert head beating on brick wall here.

And now, a prologue.

Am I really going to be one of these?  One of these people who weighs in on election issues?  Ugh.  But I feel compelled. I can't shut up about this one.  And here's why.

(Before I get started, I've realized that I have a very roundabout way of getting to the point of a blog post - first I'll write 3 unrelated paragraphs and make half of you quit reading.  Then, hopefully, I tie them all together for the long-suffering readers.)

I fall into every category of 'privilege' there is: white, male, Christian, heterosexual, corporate... rich (in the local sense not so much, but in the global sense, loaded).  Nearly middle aged (hopefully I'm closer to 33% than 50%, otherwise all this exercise is for naught!).  Do you hate me yet?  I can keep going...

I read a blog that many Albertans read this week, written by a Wildrose Party Candidate a decade ago.  It upset a lot of people.  (Incidentally, if my blog disappears one day, it might be because I'm running for office.  Not that I say anything inflammatory.  I tend to shoot more for thoughtful).  The blog has been taken down, but a gay friend of mine had the forethought to snap a picture of it before it was killed.  This blog made moral issues and 'conscience rights' a major election issue in our provincial election.  Now suddenly people are talking about abortion, and homosexuality, and I'm going, "Holy crap! I'm climbing into my Bel Air and driving the hell back out of the '60's!"

I think the real problem for me is that I read a blogger's post on it. Actually, the problem was the comments.  Is it just me, or are blog commenters the Wal-Mart Shoppers of the internet?  Not my blog's commenters, mind you - I love them all and they've all been very insightful, adding value to my blog.  But truly, where do they come up with these people?

On this blog, the "Christians" (read rednecks) call the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-Gendered, and Queer/Questioning) sinners and freaks, and the LGBTQ crowd call the rednecks, well, rednecks.  Actually bigots.  On this issue, I side with LGBTQ that it's not right for some people's rights to be more inalienable than others.  But that's not the point.

Here's the point: There are actually two things going on here, and people argue about the wrong one.  The (far) more important issue is that, ethically speaking, EVERY human is entitled to respect and dignity.  That SHOULD always remain the heart of the issue.  It's hard to imagine life from a perspective other than your own, but we need to consider our doctrine carefully if it involves heaping judgement on others.  That's hardly the way to convince people you're right.

Conservatives, sorry.  You haven't been to heaven OR hell.  So your conjecture on who ends up where is hurtful and pointless.  And LGBTQ crusaders, when you call someone a bigot and say their beliefs are stupid, are you not doing to someone else exactly what you are so upset that they're doing to you?  This is the second thing that's going on.  This so-called moral debate is actually just an argument because we've hurt each others' feelings.  And no side will ever be able to claim they're right as long as they're spewing vitriol at the other side of the argument.

We're all humans who live in this province together.  It's as if we're all on the same boat, and we're taking turns swinging an axe into the hull to try and prove to the other party how serious we are.  Congratulations - you were the first one to chop a hole in the bottom.  Does that mean you won or lost?

The sad truth is that there are jerks on both sides of any argument.  If we claim to be the most evolved species (or made in God's image, depending on which side you're on...) lets live up to that and keep it constructive.


    Phil Plait, on disagreement:
    "Is your goal to score a cheap point, or is your goal to win the damn game?"

    "How many of you no longer believe in [something] because somebody got in your face, screaming, and called you an idiot, brain damaged, and a retard?"

    very good talk.

  2. ugh.I think it's the fact that people justify being against certain people by citing the bible. I honestly don't know WHAT the bible says because I've never read it, I just go by what I feel and know. People deserve respect and understanding and not giving them that because of who they love is impossible for me to accept.

    So how do you argue? Or do you bother? I'm still struggling with this. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. With that, can I continue to be someone's friend if they tell me they will teach the next generation to not condone homosexuality? How can I when this isn't just a minor thing? This is something that is raising more intolerance?

    Give me advice, honestly. I'd totally appreciate it.

  3. Rob - I've seen that video - it's awesome! Everyone who's read this far should stop and watch the video link.

    Brenda - The Bible is one of many implements that jerks use to prove themselves right. The best examples I've seen among my friends are those who, despite their strong convictions, love and accept everyone. If someone knows you accept them, they will trust and value you when you *respectfully* disagree. Someone posted a great allegory on Twitter the other day:

    Religion is like a penis. It's okay to have one. Heck, it's even okay to be proud of it. And it certainly has it's purpose. But for goodness' sake, DON'T whip it out and flail it around in the public square!

    1. That last quote is really deep, Dan.

  4. Brenda, you really should read the Bible -- then you'd be able to twist its truths to win arguments too! [end sarcasm]

    You're heading the same direction I am, Dan. Deeper into tension. That's what led me to fire out this tweet earlier this week: "Every simplistic paradigm breaks somewhere. Oh yeah, and every paradigm is simplistic."

    We so easily forget that all of our 'thems' are souls, don't we?

  5. Re-reading the beginning, I just wanted to point out that the right answer to two plus two is, in fact, purple. I know this, all my friends know it, and I don't need you trying to confuse me with your so-called "logic".