Jun 8, 2010

From the Soapbox: Religion, Politics and Respect

Day 220

It has been said that you should NOT to talk to friends and family about religion and politics. I had an experience not so long ago that definitely makes this point completely true and valid.

So instead of following this advice, I am going to talk (blog) about religion and politics. But first let me tell you what happened to me just a few weeks ago.

I was sitting and chatting with some people that I know. And the subject turned to politics. I minored in Political Science and I don't mind discussing politics with people. But this conversation turned ugly rather quickly and quickly spiraled out of control. This person hurled volley after volley of insults and made everyone else quite uncomfortable. It just kept going, no matter how noticeably uncomfortable we all were. And I couldn't stand it any longer.

This person obviously hates our President. But that wasn't the problem. Everyone has a right to believe what they want. You can say that you don't like him and that you do not agree with the current state of affairs. I have no problem discussing things like that. But instead, she lost every valid point she was trying to make by name calling. She called him something like "Butt Aroma" instead of Barack Obama. And then she called him the Anti-Christ.

Ash will save the day!

And this is where I have a problem. Name calling and hurling insults does nothing to help your cause. This person had previously made some valid points, some with which I could agree on. But because of her venom and putrid hatred and disrespect she lost me. And finally I had had enough and I had to say something. And this was not because we obviously differed on our opinions. This was because of her disrespect. Name calling just makes her look stupid and uneducated. If that is really how you feel that is fine. But have some respect for other people and have respect for those you are speaking with.

So I called her out warning her that what she is saying was extremely offensive but I don't think she got the message. She thought it was because I disagreed with her position, if she would have just listened she would have realized that I agree with some of her points. It was the way she presented her beliefs that I took offense at. So I told her that she should be careful with how she voices her opinions and words. I told her that it was wrong to name call and was being disrespectful.

And now for the religious perspective. If you are going to label someone as an Anti-Christ you must be Christian. And I know she is Christian and I think that offended me even more. But aren't Christians taught not to be judgemental? Aren't they taught to love their neighbors and to bless their enemies? So I called her out on this too. I told her it was wrong to judge this way and that she would be judged the exact same way, that she would be condemned just like she condemns others. Her reply was that while she is in hell, she would be with Barack and all the Democrats. So she knew what she was doing was wrong but she was so caught up in the hate that she didn't care.

I will share a little of my beliefs here. I believe that we are all children of God. Everyone that has been on the Earth, everyone that is on the Earth and everyone that will come is a child of God. Calling someone an Anti-Christ is something that is extremely judgemental and very disrespectful.

I served an LDS mission to New York and I remember being asked this question. "If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?"

Now I am not saying that we should all agree. The only way that things can improve is by opposing views getting together and discussing points in a mature and respectful manner. You can say all you want that these laws are stupid and wrong. No matter what your religious persuasion is, when you attack someone personally, you are crossing the line. A line that I won't tolerate.

I am glad that I stood up to this person. I normally am not confrontational but something had to be said. I will defend anyone regardless of what party they support. I have called out both democrats and republicans when they have crossed this line.

I called out a former Mayor of Salt Lake City when he berated President Bush. Politically, I agreed with every thing he said but he was so disrespectful and so rude that he nullified every point he made. So I sent him an e-mail about it and called him out even though I agreed with his points. I just didn't agree with the way he presented himself.

So if you want to talk, let's talk. But let's also be reasonable and respectful. I am not perfect, I can be critical and can be rude at times. And if I am, call me out. I shouldn't be acting like that. I was taught to love my neighbors (even my dad's neighbor that tailgated me) and I try my hardest but on occasion I need a little kick in the butt to remind me.


  1. Awesome post... well written, well thought-out... I loved it. Good for you for standing up to that person... I am the person that cowers and doesn't really give an opinion most times for fear of being attacked. But I think you have the right idea... we can disagree, just be respectful! :)

  2. I have heard our president called the Anti-Christ more than once here in my neighborhood. IGNORANT!

  3. Good points! I particularly liked your point about being a Christian (if you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you) - awesome!