Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wounds from the front.

I remember years ago, a chaplain friend of mine and I were walking about downtown Ottawa, near the Rideau Centre, while the voice of a street preacher pulsed into the crowd.  My friend, who I always thought to be a wise person and a very deep Christian, looked at me and said thoughtfully, " I always try to listen when I hear people preaching, is it coming from love?"  I try to keep that in mind when I'm writing, am I writing something in anger, where is it coming from?  And I ask myself that again, as I begin here.  There was a period of several years, at least, when I struggled with a very deep rage, because I felt misunderstood, because I felt judged for being a Christian in an increasingly secular society, which I felt really didn't understand where I was coming from. Now, years later, I don't think I feel anger so much anymore, but I do feel hurt sometimes when I hear comments coming from people who preach tolerance, but who seem to lack any motivation to try to understand where religious conservatives are coming from. And it hurts.  What do you say when a friend tells you that a mutual friend says you're a bigot?  What do you say when the national broadcaster, supposedly a service to all tax paying citizens, paints religious conservatives as neanderthals, who just need to be scorned and browbeat enough until they jump on the progressive bandwagon long enough to develop that part of their brains responsible for the ability to use a knife and fork, to eat I should add.  Sigh.  But what if you are a sensitive soul, albeit a conservative one?  What if you do make an effort to listen to different perspectives, to befriend people with different views than your own, to read multiple sources of information? What if you are a reasonably well-educated person, a person who cares for people, who tries to be sensitive in how you use language? And at the end of the day, or another dark night of the soul, after emerging yet again from the muck and the mire of your own torment, you still find that you respectfully disagree...what then?  Well, you could start a dialogue, that's what I've been trying to do, in my own little way.  You can respect people and try to be polite and understanding despite your differences.  But will it be enough? It certainly doesn't seem that it is, when you feel beat up, spit on and ostracized by yet another insensitively written opinion piece, or better yet, headline news coverage.  I don't like to play the blame game, but I don't blame the progressive minded average person so much as the mainstream media, who consistently fail to present issues of the day from the perspective of freedom of conscience.  The great irony, it seems to me, is that a lot of these same people, would identify themselves as pro-choice.  Pro-choice to the point of taking the life of an innocent, but not pro-choice enough to allow other people room to disagree.  And so to those who pray, and to those who hope, hope and pray that you never find yourself on the wrong side of political correctness. It bites. But more than that (because this isn't all about me), I fear that it is resulting in a loss of freedom, a loss of relevant information, a loss of dialogue, even of rationality from our society, where having the right opinion counts more than your right to think for yourself. Thanks for listening, and might I suggest, a return to dialogue and allowing people the right to speak freely and the right to disagree. Thanks.

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