Interesting: the result of endless acrimony, accusations, hit-backs and one-upsmanship is what?
Gay marriage: no minds are changed.
Gun control: no minds are changed.
Balancing the federal budget: no minds are changed.
Now I’m not saying that scholarly debate is useless. I’m not silly enough to ignore that our government was founded on taking on delicate issues and making decisions — often through debate — that promote the common good. I get that. Indeed, one hears about members of Congress changing their votes on this or that issue pretty regularly (although there is likely *always* something in it for them), and I hope it’s because someone is able to persuade with logic and supporting facts. Still, the hot-button issues in this country feature very few — if any — flip flops in opinion.
Same debate, same logic, same people with the same passion — same result. No minds are changed.
Those who blame partisan politics on either side, in my opinion, are naïve. The Chick-Fil-A thing isn’t about politics. It’s a religious stance that has spilled over into a ridiculous political avalanche, separated generally at party lines. Yes, Dan Cathy is a businessman who is entitled to espouse his personal views. And yes, people are entitled under the law to protest them. The right to dissent is a biggie in our culture; I just wish there was an accompanying listening law. You know, civilized discourse. On BOTH sides.
But…no minds are ever changed.
And fiends, it’s OK that no minds are changed. But at some point, in any argument, reasonable people have to agree to disagree and find a compromise. Or walk away. I will say that the marriage laws in this country are, at the very least, unfair, incongruent with the concept of church-state separation, and at the most serious, completely discriminatory towards taxpaying citizens. All because of several widely, controversially and loosely interpreted (ask any real theologian) passages in the Christian Bible. I won’t go into that today, but I’m reading a really interesting book about it. More on that another time.
Anyway, my point (and I do have one) is we have poverty and unemployment in our own back yards. Kids are failing in school. Our government has come this close to shutting down on several occasions in recent years. Millions of people are uninsured. And Chick-Fil-A dominates the news? THIS is what gets people riled up and ready to take a bold stand in their communities? What about lining up at the local schools with armfuls of supplies? Or how about forming a half-mile-long queue outside the local shelter, food items in hand? It’s embarrassing to me.
All this because of a handful of controversial statements in the Bible. The Bible — which is supposed to be a clear and detailed guide for the life of a Christian. Well if it’s so clear and detailed, why has there been so much debate over the centuries about its meaning? If its clarity is so visible, why don’t we all believe the same way?
But back to my point.
Why are Jews allowed to marry in this country? They don’t even believe that Christ was the son of God, fuh cripesake. Where is the outrage there? Instead, you’re picking on homosexuals, many of whom profess to love God and are faithful to a church? Why aren’t the chicken people flapping their wings about that? Or how about American atheists who marry? Or Buddhists or Muslims? They don’t read or obey the scriptures, and according to many evangelicals, won’t ever set foot in heaven…so why should they be allowed to marry? Are they not an “abomination to God?” What could possibly be worse than a blasphemer?
People pick a pet sin and ride it into the sunset. And please do not ever say to me, “Love the sinner; hate the sin.” What a horrible thing to say to anyone. Any idea how that makes you sound? If “contemptible, pretentious, arrogant, misinformed Pharisee” doesn’t come to mind, I’ll be happy to enlighten you.
Well, I’m out of time and I need to get bizzy today. I know I don’t wax political or religious very often. That’s because I am neither. But I submit that a 10-year-old can see the enormous holes in this thing. And you don’t even have to approve of the gay lifestyle to admit that tax-paying homosexuals in this country are disenfranchised. We wouldn’t deny a marriage license to the nastiest drug dealer on the street with positively no morals, or the person who says “God is a fairy tale and anyone who believes in it is a gullible moron.” Yet we’ll do it to these law-abiding people, many of whom are believers. That’s because people have pet sins. Wrong and wrong, on a dozen different levels.
OK, enough already. Need to get going. Hey, it’s Finkday and payday! That’s a good thing everyone can agree on.
Whoa- open a can o’ worms, whydoncha?
As a PK, I could pontificate (he he, pun intended!) for pages on the Bible, religion in general and Christianity in particular. But the question that sprang to my own mind when this whole thing started was this: What if Mr. Cathy had made a remark about another group of people? My guess is he would have been branded a racist or bigot and would not have garnered this kind of support. Yes we are guaranteed Freedom of Speech, but a bit of discretion goes a long way.
Secondly, I’d be willing to bet the rent that the economic woes of this country would be greatly relieved if we taxed churches like we tax other businesses. Just sayin’….
Right — imagine if he’d said, “Jews deny Christ [‘s deity]. To deny the Son is to deny the Father, and such denial is blasphemy, and an abomination. Therefore, I decry Jews.” He’d be roasted on one of his chicken broilers, free speech be damned. But somehow, gays are fresh meat. It’s totally OK to blast them in public — defame them, actually — and call it a First Amendment right.
I know that some churches operate like businesses — and specifically for some, multi-million-dollar businesses. Is this one of the reasons you think they should lose their non-profit status?
Let me also say that Cathy didn’t come out and say he rejects gays. He was exercising his right to say what school of thought he supports (questionable contributions aside). And truthfully, those of us who support same-sex marriage need to back off and let him do it, without getting all up in his face. It goes both ways.
Sweetie, Not some, but ALL churches are businesses. Think about it. They have budgets, vision statements, their ‘product’ is Hope and Hot Air (neither of which you can put in your pocket and take home), they have employees who are taxed, offices, they charge admission using the buzz word ‘tithing’ and extract it using guilt tactics. They don’t treat or pay their employees very well, citing ‘economic restraints’. Don’t even get me on the subject of what happens if you are unfortunate enough to be a church musician. I could write a book! Once a week they have a ‘performance’ where you receive your ration of Hope and Hot Air, hear some music, and listen to talk for 45 minutes, pay your guilt toll and go home.
This is not limited to Christianity. In many Jewish Synagogues, parishioners have an assigned seat for temple services. The more money you tithe, the closer to the front your seat. No joke.
One friend of mine wanted to join a Baptist church, and had a visit by the pastor, who demanded a look at their tax return so their ‘tithing’ amount could be calculated. He would not let them join until they showed him the tax return.
Down here in the south they call church grounds a ‘campus’, and by golly they’re the size of some small community colleges. They have CD accounts, monies invested in here and there, money in offshore accounts – I’ve seen the budgets! It’s insane – and not a DIME of tax do they pay.
Charity? If you show up at a church door with nothing but the clothes on your back, they send you to the nearest shelter. I’ve seen that happen too. Didn’t even offer to pay for a taxi. Non profit? I don’t think so. The government has given them many ways to cover their ENORMOUS profit, and they have the $$ to pay lawyers to help.
Ahh, razzberries. You went and got me started.
This soapbox is built on a lifetime of experience – Dad was a preacher, Grandma and my uncle were church musicians, I was a church musician. Many of my friends are pastors and church musicians – they all tell the same story. Since the ‘Word of the Lord’ is a largely abstract concept, for millennia it has been twisted and spun to benefit the few by putting the burden on the many. Does this sound familiar?
Now you know why I sleep in Sunday Mornings, unless I have a PAYING gig. Two can play this silly game.
All riled up on a Sunday Morning.
This quote from Rich Warren, which was posted on FB by a friend, seems apropos to what’s behind the Chick-fil-A flap: “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” And I will add — no one is perfect, so quite acting like we are.
The lack of informed civil discourse and respect with both sides using labels and name calling bothers me a lot. One side hurls what is interpreted by the other side as an insult and the vicious cycle of retaliation and judgmentalism begins and accelerates resulting in the generation of “more heat than light.” Many (not all) on both sides are guilty of this. Exacerbating things even more is the media. They love to keep stirring the pot by giving visibility and voice to the most flamboyant and ridiculous speech and behaviors rather than lifting up any attempts at civil discourse. Civil discourse doesn’t generate readership, viewership or ratings, so they mostly ignore it.
Years ago I read this statement: “Reasonable people, equally informed, seldom disagree.” I’d like to believe that’s true, but sometimes I wonder. Sadly many people are not reasonable, and seldom are all people equally informed, so the viability of this statement is yet to be thoroughly tested. Is it possible that it ever will be? Thanks for posting your thoughts. I agree fully that it would really help to faciliate healthy and constructive communication if the right to free speech was balanced wih a requirement that people actually listen to each other and seek to understand the other before rushing to judgment.
You are right about the media. Who’d watch if it was boring people figuring out ways to get along? And it’s the exact “acting like we’re perfect” attitude that makes me want to lose my mind. If the tables were turned, can you not imagine the mudslingers’ ire? How dare people tell them how to behave.
I too have some doubts about the statement you read (reasonable people, equally informed, seldom disagree). I’d like to think that reasonable people, equally informed, should be able to disagree without resorting to malevolence. What a wonderful wonderful world it would be, eh?
I so appreciate and respect your viewpoints on all of this, as well as the other stuff I bug you about from time to time. Thanks for your thoughts, and you too, PK!
I really, really like your addition to the statement.