Belief, part 3
Everyone else has had their say today, and I wanted to wait some number of hours to let my opinions fall into place before providing my response. A full, measured, and honest response here will include nothing new to longtime readers of domesticat.net, but which may come as a surprise to quite a few of the people who knew me only as a child or a teenager, and have only recently found me again on Facebook.
First, the initial introduction. My name is Amy. I am in my early thirties. I am married. I have, by choice, no children -- and I am not Christian. That last statement is of little consequence outside the Bible Belt, but of tremendous consequence inside it.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
What I said in Belief [part one]: 'I believe that every person who makes a peaceful religious choice, regardless of the choice itself, deserves better.'
I believe those lovely, aging, fading words in our Constitution dictate I may hold whatever religious beliefs I see fit. So may everyone else. What happens when those opposing opinions collide? The problem: the rights of the minority often anger the majority, and I have encountered people in the American South who have so little experience with that minority that they never consider accommodating it in their words or actions.
With that said, I'm going to pop through several of Ricky's responses on the thread.
"I THINK THE RELIGION IN AMERCIA IN CHRISTANTY....AND IF YOUR DIFFERNT ..THATS GREAT.....BUT DONT TRY A PUSH UR RELIGION INTO AMERICA!!! "
The original Americans fled religious persecution. While Christian, and fleeing from other Christians, they wished to worship as they saw fit. The Constitution, and especially the Bill of Rights, were specifically crafted with the idea of preventing a tyranny of the majority. With that in mind, I would ask how, exactly, someone who is not Christian is pushing their religion on America? Tell me what, specifically, they have asked for that threatens your ability to believe and worship as you see fit. How many people automatically receive Christmas and Easter as work holidays? What about Yom Kippur? What about Eid? What about solstice?
"Yall are just listening to the devil.....and now he tells you im crazy......so ill pray for you to be happy and im not pushing nothing on anyone.....im tryn to save your soul....the devil loves for you to dought!! "
This argument cannot be discussed in a logical manner. If the statement is "Yall are just listening to the devil," my response is this: "Prove it." Prove your statements with logic and fact, and while I will be skeptical, I will listen. I also do not believe you are crazy; I believe you are intolerant. That's an entirely different can of worms.
"I CAN PROMICE YOU THIS ....IN YOUR LAST MINUTES OF LIFE...YOU WILL ASK GOD TO HELP.."
This is a claim, not a fact. I have witnessed death. There were no such questions.
"SPIRIT OF CONFUSMENT.......YOU CAN NOT TALK THREW THESE PEOPLE TO ME...IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST ..I REBUKE YOU AND ALL OF YOUR KIND!!
I PRAY FOR THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE HAD MANY DOUGHTS....GOD PLEASE DO NOT LOOK PAST THESE PEOPLE FOR THEY DONT NOT KNOW WHO THERE HEAVENLY FATHER IS.....IM CALLING FOR YOU JESUS TO TOUCH THE LIFES OF MANY PEOPLE WHO ... HASNT SEEN THE WAY ....PLEASE DEAR HEAVENLY FATHER .....TAKE THERE MINDS AWAY FROM EVIL!! GIVE THEM CONFIDENCE IN THERE SOUL.......AND WERE THEY MUST GO!!"
With this, we come back to the concept of tolerance. From the point of view of someone who believes he is doing the right thing, this is [one hopes] a plea for mercy. From the point of view of someone whose beliefs lie elsewhere, implying that someone is an instrument of evil and whose thoughts are evil is extraordinarily insulting. Telling someone they are misguided, wrong, and evil because of what they believe is the opposite of tolerance.
"SORRY TO BE SO STRONG IN WHAT I BELIEVE....I DIDNT KNOW YALL WERE LOOKING TO RUN OVER SOMEONE FOR WHAT THEY BELEIVE.....!!"
Oddly enough, we've come full circle here. This statement is exactly what I expressed in my original letter, which was ... well ... responding to someone who forwarded a chain letter that ... yep ... ran someone over for what they believed in.
"I GUESS IF I WAS A MUSLIM ...YOU WOULD LOVE ME!!"
Life, and love, is not that simple. What we are discussing here is not love; it is respect for others.
Guess what ... it gets even MORE difficult in part 4, which is forthcoming.
This has been an interesting
This has been an interesting series of events to say the least. As a heathen of more than 22 years now I've been here so many times that it's really old, but you handle it very well. However, I would caution you not to dwell too much on this being a regional event as you suggest. I've had the fortune to live in more of this country than most people could name, and I can tell you that while it does seem more predominate in "the bible belt" their are religious zealots, apologists, and general nut jobs everywhere. I think it just seems to be more of it here because of stereotypes that have perpetuated for so long that we unwittingly accept them as fact.