It isn't meant to offend anyone. Perhaps it is more a check on reality, accusations made that were unfounded, portraying yourself in one manner to the public but behind the scenes a completely different person, and taking religion to the extreme.
In August, my wife Joan (aka Sassy) and I celebrated 15 years since our first date and on October 17th, we will celebrate our wedding anniversary. Yes, I am a guy who can actually remember our anniversary. Because of this, I wanted to take a few minutes to characterize a woman no one knows better than I do.
Joan is honest and not passive aggressive- She says how she feels and doesn’t hold back. If it’s positive, she’ll sing praises and if it’s negative, she won’t sugar coat it. Some people are scared by this and don’t know how to take it but one thing is for sure -- you will always know where you stand with her.
She’s a loyal friend – Show her the same kind of respect, support, and honesty that you would like to receive and she will stand by you to the end and defend you even if it means she takes heat from others.
She’s creative- Enough said. :)
She’s my best friend - As a guy who likes to do guy things it always brings a smile to my face when I realize there is no where I’d rather be than with my wife and how comfortable it always is to share the same space with her even when there is nothing to say at all. To know she knows my thoughts and I know hers when things are good or bad puts us at ease.
It is my love for Joan and my belief in the future of humanity that has me sharing the following comments with you today. I hold no grudges and challenge all those who read this to contemplate my words. Consider this day if everyone you meet you give the same fair consideration, acceptance, and friendship regardless of the extent of their religious beliefs. Lastly, consider that people don’t have to have the same religious beliefs to have similar strong family and moral values.
Some of you who follow this blog may know that recently my wife has received some negative comments and accusations from a woman who openly promotes her Christian beliefs. I’m concerned that this woman has abused her standing as a leader within an online group to unfairly influence others with similar religious views. There were comments of bullying and tampering with her email account. This resulted in some negative consequences and snap judgments regarding the woman I love and know to have outstanding moral values as well as strength of character and honesty beyond reproach. A woman who respects privacy and would never consider tampering with another’s email account.
As I learned of the comments and actions that have transpired over the last days/weeks, I sat shocked and to be honest I struggled to keep from becoming outraged and angry. Not outraged that people would unfriend my wife – Facebook friends come and go and we’re adult enough to realize Facebook isn’t real life; it’s a tool and not a true test of friendship. I’m not even angry with the woman slinging the mud – disappointed but not angry. I truly have no desire to go Old Testament with “an eye for an eye” approach with someone I have never met. What bothers me the most about all of this goes much deeper. Bottom line, I can’t believe in this day and age that a true practicing Christian would leverage their religious beliefs for the purpose of gaining support in order to segregate and isolate another person who has nothing but the best of intents. In addition, it worries me that others would follow these words without question instead of taking into consideration the possibility that even the most Christian person might have biased feelings that could cause them to misrepresent the facts and mischaracterize a person.
I was raised Catholic but I am no bible scholar. I do have my own kind of faith. I firmly believe life will work out for the best even though I never embraced any one organized religion to a significant degree. My parents instilled in me strong core values. I learned the difference between right and wrong and I grew into my own person. From this, I took what good old common sense and decency say are the right things to embrace as a human being. Many of the commandments are good common sense rules to live by no matter what you believe in. The concept of treating others like you would like to be treated is another one. In addition, of course, it shouldn’t take Christianity to realize that everyone deserves forgiveness and that regardless of beliefs, race, or gender those same people are deserving of the same compassion, consideration, and friendship as anyone else.
Hearing how my wife was portrayed I was very disappointed to see religious beliefs used in a manner to discriminate, segregate, and otherwise make someone to feel like they are less of a person than someone else because they didn’t have similarly strong religious beliefs. Is this really what Christianity teaches? I can’t help but recall that forgiveness is one of the cornerstones of Christianity. Treating others with kindness and respect is also a basic concept of any good religion. Besides a belief in a higher power, what is religion? At its core, is a set of shared faith based rules and morals that society can follow for the purpose of helping us become a world of tolerant and loving people who treat others as they wish to be treated -- with kindness, love, respect, and forgiveness. The bible is full of passages that promote these very values.
As a society, we are working to erase racism discrimination and intolerance slowly but surely. As a human being, it truly saddens me when religious values (in the wrong hands) are skewed to attack those with different beliefs. When did it become ok to take a step backwards and use differences in religious beliefs as a reason to discriminate? When will we evolve enough as a society to not wield Christianity like a sword against those who do not have the same beliefs and use it as a loving hug instead? When will we accept others regardless of their beliefs and not judge? Just some things to think about.