Monday, April 10, 2006

Nice People Rule

One bumper-sticker I've been seeing a lot lately is the one that says, "MEAN PEOPLE SUCK!!!" While I have to agree with that sentiment, I'd like to remain positive. Easter is almost here. Those bunnies will be delivering those chocolate eggs before we know it.

I think mean people, and stupid people, get far too much attention these days. What about nice people? What about folks who are kind, considerate and -- maybe even -- smart?

Phoenix is a conservative city. There are far more Republicans here than Democrats, and a large majority of the Christians locally (at least of the Protestant variety) are evangelicals. I see the way these people are portrayed by most of the media, and it puzzles me.

Most of the conservative Republicans, and evangelical Christians, I know personally are NOT bigots. They tend to be some of the best folks I've ever known. Sure I hear the stupid and cruel comments made by many letters to the editor and blog commenters about gays. Are the people who make these remarks jerks? They certainly are.

But I know too many political and religious conservatives to believe that the jerks represent the norm. It is becoming very clear to me that the jerks speak for nobody but themselves and their fellow jerks. They try to hide behind "conservatism" because it seems to dignify their bigotry. Most bigots are too cowardly to stand up and proclaim their hatred for what it really is: simply their own opinion.

How come so many hate-crimes take place in Blue America? How come, at Phoenix's own most-recent Pride Parade, not a single hate group showed up to protest? Here we are, smack in the middle of a Red state, and yet the nearly-unanimous review of this year's Pride, from the people who were there, is that the festival was one of peace and goodwill?

I dreaded coming out to my dad. The opinions he usually expressed placed him somewhere to the far Right of Archie Bunker. When he stopped driving, because of his declining eyesight, he said that the reason he didn't want to be out on the road anymore was because he "might hit a Republican, and we need every one of 'em we can get!" But when I did finally tell him I was gay, he expressed nothing but support for me. I was still his daughter, and as far as he was concerned, I always would be.

I attended a Southern Baptist university, so many of my closest friends are evangelicals. Not a one of 'em has abandoned me. My neighbor across the street, who took me to Bible school when I was a child, goes to a church that officially condemns "homosexuality." Yet she has been nothing but supportive, and since my dad died, she has been like a mother to me.

Next time somebody jumps into your face and says, "Boooh! Gays are evil! You're going to Hell!" this is what you ought to do. First of all, realize that anybody who seriously wanted to warn you of your sinfulness would certainly do it in a much kinder manner (their desire being to persuade you, after all). A jerk isn't trying to persuade you; he's simply being a jerk. Then, just remember that though being gay is not a choice, being a jerk IS. This person is being nasty, he (or she) has chosen to be nasty, and it's nobody else's fault but his own.

Conservatives need to grow a backbone about dealing with the bigots who hide behind them. Is it wrong for liberals to lump all conservatives together with bigots? Maybe so, but if those on the political and religious Right showed a little more gumption in dealing with those who shamelessly use their convictions as a prop to hide behind, perhaps such stereotyping would be less effective. Don't let dogs lie down with you, then complain that you've got an itch.

Let's start punishing those who choose to abuse others, and rewarding those who are nice. Nice people rule. What a great bumper-sticker THAT would make!

1 Comments:

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Lyric Crossborn said...

Great post, Lori. I grew up in a fundamentalist environment and attended a fundamentalist Christian college. Altho' I loathe my upbringing and
in spite of the unfortunate indoctrination, my assessment of the people is very similar to yours in the evangelical community.

You got it absolutely correct here:

Next time somebody jumps into your face and says, "Boooh! Gays are evil! You're going to Hell!" this is what you ought to do. First of all, realize that anybody who seriously wanted to warn you of your sinfulness would certainly do it in a much kinder manner (their desire being to persuade you, after all). A jerk isn't trying to persuade you; he's simply being a jerk. Then, just remember that though being gay is not a choice, being a jerk IS. This person is being nasty, he (or she) has chosen to be nasty, and it's nobody else's fault but his own.

Sadly, the Christian community for the most part allows the jerks to define their public identity.

The sentiment of your post is much appreciated.

Lyric

 

Post a Comment

<< Home