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Every so often, I remind my faithful reader (that’s my lovely wife; hi, honey!) that I spend time on Facebook. As most know, Facebook has devolved from a way to keep tabs on friends and family and their daily activities — accompanied by pictures of what they are eating — to a storm of political posts from whatever news source the poster happens to prefer. Even though I have many friends on the opposite side of the aisle, I’ve yet to defriend anyone from my list. I even read a lot of what they post.
One post that recently struck me was posted by a young woman from a church I was a part of in Oregon. For a while, we were in the same Bible study group. Just recently, she had her first baby, about a month before my wonderful son was born. So I’ve been following her, watching the progress of new mom and baby. Of course, she’s politically motivated on the opposite side of the aisle. Below, is a full quote from a post she made (note, it is a bit long):
Religion as well as political views are some of the most sensitive topics you can address with other individuals as most people hold a lot of emotion behind the two. For this reason I do not usually openly share my political views, especially on a social media outlets, but these points are too real not to share… do yourself and your country a favor and educate yourself.
If you voted for Trump because of Hillary’s email “problem” but are not upset that the Trump administration is using a private email server and unsecured phones, that is hypocrisy.
If you believe Jesus was a persecuted refugee fleeing Herod, but support the ban on Syrian refugees, that is hypocrisy.
If you believe life begins at conception, but support defunding the country’s number one source of prenatal care, Planned Parenthood, that is hypocrisy.
If you believe the mainstream media lies but believe Trump when he spouts verifiable lies, that is hypocrisy.
If you dismiss the AP, Reuters or NPR as biased media but accept everything Fox News says, that is hypocrisy.
If you think all life is sacred, but do not support reasonable gun control, that is hypocrisy.
If you think children are the future, but support reducing funds for SNAP, that is hypocrisy.
If you believe in education, but dismiss evolution or climate change as hoax, that is hypocrisy.
If you believe in the sovereignty of the United States, but support forced incursions on Native American lands, that is hypocrisy.
If you believe that we need to drain the swamp in Washington but support Trump’s cabinet picks, that is hypocrisy.
If you believe in the Constitution, but support indiscriminate detainment and torture, that is hypocrisy.
If you believe that unborn black babies lives matter, but black lives don’t matter, that is hypocrisy.
If you believe that we deserve life, liberty and happiness, but support taking away healthcare from millions of American, that is hypocrisy.
If you believe that the practice of your religion is more important than the practice of no religion or a different religion, that is hypocrisy.
If you believe in equal rights under the law, but don’t support marriage equality and non discrimination for LGBTQ+ Americans, that is hypocrisy.
If you are glad that California or New York do not decide national policy for you, but insist on forcing your red state policies on others, that is hypocrisy.
If you believe in the first amendment, but call people who peacefully protest the President hooligans, that is hypocrisy.
If you are an American but think dissent is disrespectful, that is hypocrisy.
If you think that anything that has happened over the last week is normal or acceptable, then you have not been paying attention.
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
**I will delete comments as I see fit, you don’t like that, keep movin along
As you can expect, I was annoyed and irritated. I wanted to sit down and argue each statement point by point. I wanted to point out all the straw men, ad hominem attacks, and oversimplifications with wild abandon. Of course, noting the length, I quickly realized that was a losing endeavor (thankfully). Mentally, I followed up with a couple of witty rejoinders, and even found a video clip for one that was perfect. I thought about posting them, but something gave me pause.
I went to a forum where snark abounds in spades and noted this. I even shared part of the above post. I showed my witty rejoinders. Doing so achieved a sort of catharsis for me. But I also expressed my unwillingness to reply, requested someone talk me down from the ledge. On cue, the little shoulder angels and demons popped up on either side encouraging me one way or another. In the end, I chose not to reply. But I don’t think that resolved anything.
Let me put it this way: There’s a divide in American thinking, but it can’t be remedied by demanding the other side approach me. It certainly can’t be remedied by throwing rocks/spears across the divide, as I intended in my initial responses.
But, as a man who seeks to follow Christ, I know I am called to come together with others, especially my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Part of what frustrates me is not just that such things anger me but that, by silence, I do nothing to bridge the divide. My friend, whether she realizes it or not, clearly expects the other side to come to hers, hat in hand, begging forgiveness. And I can’t really fault her for doing so, because don’t I often do the same thing? Wouldn’t it be satisfying to demand the other side approach me and tell me I was right all along?
So there is the dilemma: There will always be political and social disagreement, and my desire is to do what I can to lessen the divide, rather than leave it be or (worse) to increase it. But I am not sure how. I am only in control of my own responses. I’m willing to accept that political stances aren’t dictated in the Bible, but it would seem she does not. At the very least, she seems to accept the Biblical analysis popular with the secular Left. She’s been rather vocal lately, and has (more than once) been among those Progressives who like to declare who is and is not properly Christian.
On the other hand, she is a sister in Christ. If I am to say something, I should say it in a way to build bridges, not burns them, even if she seemingly has poured gasoline all over the timber. By no means should I bring my matchbook with me. So, what to do?
I can take comfort in knowing my identity in Christ supersedes my political identity. Indeed, as one member noted, Christ had Simon the Zealot (a violently anti-Roman faction in Israel) and Levi the Tax Collector (who profited greatly from working for Rome) among his twelve apostles. Can you imagine some of the conversations they had at the table? Yet they remained together, united not in politics but in our savior, Christ Jesus.
We can do similarly, but it is going to be hard. I am not sure how. I only know that I can only affect my own actions and my own responses to other people’s actions. I’m done being divided on this. I only have one thing to consider: How do I proceed?