Friday, September 16, 2011

Had to question myself

Twice this week I have had to question whether my beliefs were offending or insulting to others, and whether I was in the wrong for them. I came to the conclusion that I wasn't wrong, but perhaps my beliefs insulted others. I suppose every belief out there could be an insult to others.

Earlier this week a friend of a friend on facebook used the "N" word to describe a group of people. She claimed it wasn't racist as the "N" means ignorant and there are ignorant Black people. I came to the conclusion that the "N" word is racist, shouldn't be used, and that people who use it are either 1)racist or 2)ignorant to the history of that word.

I don't like any word that is used to put down a group of people. Among some of my most hated are the "N" word (a word so vile I can't type it or utter it without feeling absolutely shameful and dirty), the word "retarded", "gay, "fag", and just about any other racist term. None of those words have any other inference but hatred. Saying something is "gay" is always an insult, and that in turn insults every homosexual out there. Same with "fag". "Retarded" went from a medical term to one used to insult everything. It's uttered everywhere and makes me cringe every time.

I understand that there are black people who have taken the "N" word and used it on themselves as a term of endearment. It still makes me cringe, but not as badly. I understand wanting to take a vile word and try to take ownership of it. Someone has less of a chance of insulting you if you own the word. I'm physically handicapped. I'm okay with my husband, my friends, and my handicap friends jokingly calling me "gimp" or something similar. However, if a stranger yelled that at me I would be livid and highly insulted.

If someone I know uses the "N" word it will forever color my perception of them.

I lost a friend off facebook tonight. I can't say I'm surprised. It was a long time coming. We were really really good friends years ago. I could have seen myself remaining friends with her our entire lives. Then she converted to a very very strict religious Christian sect. She suddenly became someone it was hard to hold a conversation with. Many things she said or did I didn't agree with but bit my tongue - such as encouraging her child to spread the word of God at public school. She was my friend, she was new to her religion and it wasn't my place to say otherwise.

A few months ago she posted a copy and paste rant on facebook that basically was complaining that non-Christians are free to speak their mind but Christians aren't. I responded, thinking foolishly that she was expecting responses. I posted that its not that us non-Christians don't want to hear what Christians have to say but merely the way it's posted. Being in your face Christians who tell others they are sinners or are going to hell is not the way to get your point across. This spun into quite a few people, all with similar beliefs as hers, attacking me for being a non-Christian. Please note, I am NOT an Atheist. There are numerous religions out there besides Christianity and Atheism. She told me repeatedly that she can't and will never "respect" my religion or beliefs - even though I told her numerous times that I respect hers and respect doesn't mean you have to agree. She kept telling me that basically I'm going to hell unless I repent and that my religion was garbage.

A few weeks later she apologized to me only after talking to a fellow Christian who told her the proper way to convert people. I knew at this point our relationship would never be the same. I'm not anti-Christian by any means. Most of the people I love the most are Christians and I respect them completely for their beliefs, I also respect the majority for the way they conduct themselves as Christians. There are those that anger me, and as I'm surrounded by Christians those are the type that catch my attention the most. If I were surrounded by Muslims, or Buddhists I'm sure I'd have more to say and I would read more articles about the ones I disagree with.

I use MY facebook as my way of posting articles that anger me, fascinate me, or make me happy. I might post an article about a child abuser, or a very sweet heart touching story, or something political/religious. I have learned to not comment on others Facebooks when they post something I disagree with but I welcome opinions on mine. It's how I learn. I believe you must always question yourself to continue learning and reaffirming your beliefs. If it wasn't for debating and discussions I wouldn't be the type of parent I am today. If you can't question yourself and come out still believing you were never really strong in those beliefs in the first place.

I posted an article about a senator in NC who was very anti-homosexuals and a lesbian in that state who had a conversation with him. She was threatening to leave the state if he was re-elected just like many businesses who left due to the anti-homosexual beliefs. My entire comment was "This is worth reposting". Thats it. I didn't say the guy was a douchebag, although I do believe he is one. Chris's friend, who enjoys "trolling" by arguing everything I write responded and we discussed it back and forth for a bit and then moved on. My mom commented a few times, and then my friend commented.

Somehow the conversation got off track and became about Christians and their beliefs, the interpretations of the bible, and how the bible has been used throughout history to deny the rights of others. I talked about how different interpretations show that there is no where in the New Testament that strictly prohibits homosexuality if you use the definitions of that time period. She was dumbfounded that I would believe her God could condone it. Never once, in any of my postings, did I say Christians were awful vile people. However, no one can deny that the bible has been used in the past to deny the rights of others - specifically women, and black people, and interracial marriage. Today it's the homosexual population.

The conversation ended with her deleting me off facebook and messaging me that she's tired of my rants on Christians. She is continuously posting pro-Christian stuff, pro-Bachman/Perry articles, and blogs discounting other religions. She fails to see the hypocrisy in this.

I am always quick to say that I don't lump all Christians into the same group, but I had to really look back at myself today. Was I in the wrong for my posting? I had to come to the same conclusion I had earlier. No. As long as there are a group of people who are bent on denying the rights to others I will be out spoken against them. This means I am against the belief and those who force it that would deny women the rights over their own body, the rights to homosexuals, and the right to freedom of religion - any religion, even the non-Christian ones. Does this mean I'm against Christians? No. I don't care what religion you are, you have no right to take the rights from others. Regardless of what your bible, preacher, or beliefs say. There are numerous beliefs in the bible that are no longer in use today, and one day this will be another.

So even though I lost a friend, regrettably, I do feel I am in the right. Hopefully one day we'll reconcile and we'll grow old together, but not as long as she feels that her religion supersedes the feelings of those who believe differently, or the rights of those she disagrees with.

"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

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