A bad day for "good" people (long, probably boring)

I consider myself a Christian. I really do. In the past few years I’ve had a lot of struggle with the whole idea of “church” and, to a lesser extent, “the Bible” but when it comes down to the supposed “core tenants” of Christianity - be nice, help people, don’t judge, don’t feel desperately alone - well, what’s not to like?

I’m also, I suppose, a “liberal.” And the way I see it, other than belief in a higher spirit, liberalism and Christianity are remarkably similar. At least along the lines of “help people” and “don’t judge.” I like to think that Jesus was the Original Hippie.

Today was particularly trying for me as a person who has Christian and liberal views. The views weren’t at war with each other, but today I felt that everyone I knew - some Christian, some liberal - was at war with me.

Normally I don’t confront people when they share views vastly different than mine. The more I see of this country during these elections, the more sad I become and the more alone I feel in my views. Not because there aren’t plenty of other like-minded folks…those folks just don’t seem to be around me.

But today, for some reason, I just had enough of it and started trying to fight back.

This morning I got to talking with my roommate about how I did not like the band Candlebox. He said he used to love Candlebox (I shoulda stopped there…) until he found out that their lead singer was gay. This did not set well with me so I tried to engage him in a conversation to find out if he was a homophobe or just stupid. I do not want to live with a homophobe. The conversation rattled and confused him, and I did not come up with a clear answer but I am leaning towards “just stupid.”

Later, I was with my parents and my dad brought up the fact that Connecticut voted for gay marriage rights recently. I said that’s awesome. He started saying stuff about “fagism” and the Bible and how it’s not right. I flew off the handle a bit and put out some good arguments about how Leviticus is very Old News, he technically should not have been allowed to marry a Catholic and straight people aren’t very good at marriage anyway.

I dragged my mom into it, who is generally very meek when it comes to debate, and at least got her to admit that it’s nobody’s damn business who other people are having sex with and she also admitted that “gay” is genetic.

Points for mom, and points to her parents for scarring her in a messy divorce and thus in a cruel way making her more open-minded about marriage. Good riddance…

Then, I returned home to find an email from my aunt (who I call “the poorest, most welfare-ish Republican ever”) which was a forward containing quotes from Obama’s book. The slant of the email was that Barack Obama is So Black Power if you take some of his quotes out of context. And also lack brain cells.

I actually tried to be alarmed at the quotes. I tried to take them in the way the email intended. I couldn’t. All I saw were quotes from a man describing his pride in his father’s heritage, his struggle with teenage rebelliousness, his anger at the way blacks are treated by some whites and his struggle to fit in with other young black people while being “mixed race” himself.

My aunt had forwarded this email to just the people in my family. This is the “really Christian” side of the family. The sometimes nauseatingly Christian side. The side that, I suppose, she felt would best sympathize with the message of the email. Er…and me?

I hit “REPLY ALL” and replied with a calm and well-thought-out message. I asked how she interpreted those quotes and explained how I read them. I asked if she believed that Barack Obama was a racist and if he was trying to harm America. I asked if she sided with the McCain supporters who recently called out to “kill him [Obama]” and that he was a terrorist.

I told her that if she truly felt that way, and/or was going to vote in this election based on the color of a man’s skin, then I was very sorry for her. I asked if she understood the difference between the two candidates’ platforms. I suggested that if she did, she should have intelligent discourse with her friends and neighbors about the differences and who she thinks should be president.

And, since my grandparents will be reading, I pulled out some “Bible shtick” about Pharisees and the way they treated Jesus and asked how that was shameful but this sort of “slander” is not.

I reminded her that everyone in our family is not very far removed from “non-American” heritage. Everyone in our family, even though Christian, was raised with a different set of beliefs - beliefs that have caused wars between Christians.

I told her that passing along emails like this made her look foolish and hateful. I said that it made me very sad that she thinks that everyone in my family would agree with the message the email sent. I said to the whole of the “reply all” group that if they do indeed believe that this sort of garbage was ok, then I have some disdain for them.

And, being that I could not come up with anything more “Bible-y,” I ended with a quote from Yoda. “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” (I did not cite Yoda, for fear that my grandparents would discredit me) I told her that I hope she doesn’t suffer for her fears.

Anyway, for all of the anger and sadness that I have been feeling towards my fellow Americans - for the way things have been going lately with regards to the elections, and the things people are saying and views they are expressing - the sadness truly, truly gets to me when I consider that the people I love the most…more than any country or any religion…are such mean, hateful, un-Christianlike buffoons.

My parents only slightly agree with me on some points. Two of my best friends are “staunch Republicans.” At least half of my family is on the “Christian right” and the other half is “urban racist.”

My brother and my business partner are the two people closest to me who share my views across the board. I feel particularly alone. I know I can’t surround myself with people who agree with everything I feel - that would be boring. But I just wish that at least the people who share my BLOOD would not be such a disappointment to me.

How is it that people that grew up in the same family as me be so different? How is it that people who grew up in the same socio/economic environment that I did have opinions so completely different than mine? Why can’t I trust my family to at least be a little more open-minded, a little more logical, and a little less judgemental?

Why do I feel so much sadness and anger about all this? Why do I feel so helpless?

Why the fuck can’t we all just get along?
Man, sorry about the rant. As you may have noticed, I don’t have anyone to rant to because everyone I know knows they’re right.

Candlebox? Are you sure this conversation didn’t happen in 1995?

Remember that the Bible was written by human beings who used an imaginary almighty god to explain what they could not. Now, I’m not anti-religion and I fall short of atheism, but remember that, when it comes to citing the Bible, hard-line Christians are always right because that’s the way scripture is written, so anyone can interpret it any way they want to. My interpretation is that if it’s not in the Ten Commandments, thou canst do it, and there’s nothing in the Big Ten about buggery or scissor sistering.

I feel for you, Smitty. I live in the reddest part of Colorado, and sometimes I feel like driving to Boulder just for a stiff shot of liberalism. Liberal and spiritual hugs to you! And kudos to your mom for standing up and being counted.

I don’t usually read long posts. I read yours though.

I’ve thought about this occasionally before: It’s quite normal for your family to differ from you in fundemental ways. I’m an Atheist and Socialist. I know most of the older members of my family will be Conservative, Capitalist, Religious. I don’t hold anything against the probably believing in God, but I am disappointed in the Racism that seems to run through both my maternal and paternal family. My maternal Grandfather (and Grandmother) make comments about the Poles, my Step-Grandparents comment on “How you only see black people on ‘Cops’”

I’ve always been to afraid to ask my Dad what his political and religious beliefs are. Same goes for the rest of the family but mostly my Dad.

I KNOW all three of my Nieces are being brought up to be religious. But that’s their choice… I HOPE they aren’t also being brought up to be clones of their mother, who, If I had a “Top ten people I despise” list, would be in the top three.
I don’t know what I can say to cheer you up. But I can say it’s fairly normal for your family to differ fundementally from you. The phrase “You can choose your friends, but not your relations” exists for that reason.

I love all of my related family… just roll my eyes at the bad stuff.

Edit: SunRazor you seem to have attributed the quote to the wrong person. How did that happen?

Yeah, that’s what I meant by me telling my dad that “Leviticus is old news.” Only I didn’t use terms like “scissor sistering” lol

Thanks…this is to me not msmith, tho. He’s just concerned about why I was talking to someone about Candlebox today.

And to answer that…it was because I was telling my roommate why I haven’t bought much new music since the late 90’s. It’s because I really don’t like Candlebox :wink:

Wait a minute. “Isn’t their choice”. But that’s for another (pit) thread.

You are sad because you want to love these people, and it is difficult to love people it would be easier to despise.

You are angry because they are wrong.

I left the church a long time ago, but I know there is something in the gospels for you … perhaps where Jesus chews out the others for being hostile about the tax collector? … I’m sorry, I can’t remember.

As for anger, well, Jesus went after the money changers in the temple.

And we’d all get along just fine if Eve hadn’t eaten the ‘apple’; knowledge of good and evil doesn’t ensure being able to distinguish between them accurately.

I’d like to thank you for taking on a bit of ignorance and bigotry.

If stand-up comedy would cheer you up. Click on this…


I just wanted to say that you rock and if all christians were like you i would have a completely different view of religion in general.

These situations are where the fine art of “Agreeing to Disagree” comes in handy.
Most people here are going to be all “Gee, it’s so sad that they Just Don’t Get It”, but I’m going to straight with you: Nobody likes someone who acts like a fanatic. None of these people you fought with today is going to think, “Gee, ZipperJJ, I never noticed how stupid and foolish I was for thinking differently than you until you were wise enough to point it out to me! Thank heavens you are so much smarter and more enlightened than I am so you can teach me The One True Path”. They are just going to be annoyed at you for getting confrontational and insulting their viewpoints.

Before you get into another fight with someone over things like this, maybe you should stop and ask yourself: Does it really matter? Is it going to be the complete downfall of gay rights if this particular person continues to hold this viewpoint?
Most people are happy just to have a roommate who pays their share of the rent on time and doesn’t make too much of a mess. If he were objecting to you bringing gay friends over, that would be a genuine issue, but unless you are planning to invite this dude from Candlebox over, I don’t see why it really matters.

Your older relatives are from a different time and were raised to think a certain way about these matters. Even if you present them with completely logical arguments for why they’re wrong, they’re not very likely to change at this stage of the game. The next time this comes up, take comfort in the knowledge that in the not so distant future their generation will die off and then you will be able to have the gay paradise you’ve been dreaming of.

My boyfriend and I agree on almost nothing in terms of politics or religion - and yet we are deliriously happy together. We just accept that we’ll never change hte other person’s opinion. We also are willing to consider that someone who disagrees with us isn’t necessarily a BAD person and may have good reasons for why they think that way (even if it’s just that the environment that person was raised in would tend to create someone who believes that way).

Accepting people even if you don’t agree with them is probably what Jesus would want anyway.

And should ZipperJJ look forward to the parents’ and other relative’s deaths, as it will issue in a less racist society, too?

S/he not only stood up to ignorance and bigotry, but fear; fear that is narrowing the lives and souls of the loved ones.

‘Agreeing to disagree’ has to be mutual; it doesn’t mean silently accepting whatever hateful ignorance others force on you. (Note that the OP did not bring up homosexuality, gay marriage, or Obama, but responded to comments)

(and I won’t be back until at least Tuesday)

Damfino! I’m having a little trouble learning the new attributes of the Dope.

I hear what you’re saying, lavenderviolet. Considering how I feel and how I have described the views of most of the people closest to me, I spend a lot of time agreeing to disagree.

But, as j666 pointed out…I wasn’t just up and attacking people for their views. I was trying to reason out their views as stated to me and see how they backed those views up.

I do accept them and love them no matter what their views (my family members and close friends at least. The roommate I can take or leave), just as Jesus would have done. I do not hate them for who they are or what they believe but I am starting to get the picture that what I feel to be true about them and what they project to others that they believe is quite contrary to the good people I feel they are.

Especially with my father. I know he is a good man. He is a TREMENDOUS man. He has a heart of gold and is a true humanitarian. It hurts me SO MUCH to hear him say racial slurs or anti-gay slurs because it is completely contrary to what I know he feels deep down in his heart.

If what he says is actually how he feels, then I feel very sad that my perception of my father is so wrong. If what he says is NOT how he feels, then I feel very sad that for some reason he thinks those sorts of things should be said. It makes me very sad to think that he may say those things in a non-family setting and give people the impression that he is not the wonderful guy that I see.

My mother told me once that she thinks I am too empathetic, or at least more empathetic than anyone else she knows. She thinks this is because I have always been fat and this generally makes a person an outsider, just like a gay or minority person might be (she was not making fun of me btw and I did not take it as such.)

I told her that this may be true. I also told her that I grew up going to church and sunday school and isn’t empathy something that a Christian should have? Do you have to be different or bullied or down-trodden to sympathize with the plights of others? I didn’t think that was a requirement.

How old are you? Is this the first time you’ve had a major disagreement on political-religious issues with close friends or family? Do you think they might be agonizing about how someone they care about (you) can be so obviously wrong (in their view) about things & wonder how you can be such a disappointment to them?

They may be ignorant & closed-minded. They may be wrong. However, they are not obligated to change their views for you. Nor are you obligated to change your views for them. Now, they may be obligated to examine their views to see if they are accurate and reasonable, in the interest of truth & integrity, and you could gently nudge them to do that. Are you nudging gently or are you lecturing?

Where do you get the idea that the “core tenets of Christianity” just boil down to non-judgement & niceness? They may be part of the ethos of Christianity, but the core tenets are more like “God made us to be His children. We are estranged from Him because of our sins. He sent Jesus to reconcile us to Him through JC’s death & resurrection…” Also, do you really think Leviticus is the only place in the Bible that can be read as against homosexuality? As much as Paul is hated in Doperland, his writing are New Testament.

When I saw the OP title, I thought something actually tragic had happened to some innocent people. You had some political/religious disagreements with people you care about. Are you the “good people” and does that mean they are the “bad people”, or are you all possibly “good people” who just have some “bad” disagreements?

How on earth can “don’t judge” be considered a core tenet of Christianity? The whole point of the religion appears to be judging people - y’know, “believe in this book or be condemned to eternity in the furnace”. According to Christians, it doesn’t matter how blamelessly I live my life, and how nice I am to my fellow man, if I don’t believe in God - and more importantly, in the word of God as reported in one book - I’m going straight to hell. I’m sorry but I can’t get on board with that little idea.

That aside, I’m with you!

Hey, ZipperJJ -

You aren’t alone. And there are some pretty cool christians out there. I’m a lesbian, and an atheist, and I applaud your bid to let folks know that they should maybe think about the basis of their beliefs before spouting them out.

To help your mind-frame - my Mom is a heavy-duty Catholic. She used to practically run our parish. She is in her 80’s, and getting more open-minded every day. My sister is also a lesbian, and is working from within the Catholic church to change attitudes.

One of my good friends is a lesbian Methodist Minister - a great, open, loving soul.

I guess the point of this is to say - not all Christians are going backwards, and you don’t have to segregate yourself from the people you care about to also hold the beliefs you care about. It all goes around in cycles, and hopefully you will have a better day soon. Keep up the good work, and know you have an admirer in the frozen northland.