I’m not sure about love, per se. I consider love to be a deep-felt, poorly understood emotional connection. Respect is another matter.
In another thread I’m discussing the practice of “defriending” someone on Facebook based their political or religious beliefs. I don’t see the appeal and don’t usually do it, but a lot of people do. Why, I’m not sure.
People do this in real life. “Wait, your politics are different than mine? Then the hell with ya, I don’t want to talk to you”. “You believe in Jesus and I don’t? then I have no use for you.” I confess that I don’t understand this sentiment at all.
If you asked my 20 years ago what caused this, I would say I have no idea. Today, I think the poison and vitriol that comes hand-in-hand politics is a big factor in this paradigm shift in people’s beliefs. Especially after 9/11. Remember GWB’s “if you aren’t with us you’re against us?” I think that sentiment has followed a lot of people since then, and grown exponentially bigger. I remember when Rush Limbaugh was considered a total loon by most people. Now we have Beck, Hannity, Maher, etc spewing poison and encouraging hate. It’s apparent in climate change deniers and the Tea Party, as well as gun control advocates and pro-abortion groups. I think it started with politics, but has transcended that, but still has a political base. Of course, religion made a parlor game out of this behavior long ago. But at least what I can remember of the 90’s (I was teenager and probably paying much attention), people did not judge each other based on political affiliation the way they do now.
People follow the example of those in charge. Political groups are a prime example. Churches too, like the ones who want to burn the Koran and put homosexuals in concentration camps. A totally irrational idea is supported by a group of normal people because those in charge are advocating for it, and the people follow those in charge. This also occurs in the workplace, and an office with a particularly nasty and shit-stirring boss can poison the whole group, causing people to take sides and end up with everybody hating each other.
Parents have a lot to do with it also. Bigots tend to raise bigots, and so on down the line.
I don’t particularly care about your religious or political beliefs. You can try to convert me, I won’t care. I’m not going to exhibit the same behavior. If you start belittling those with different beliefs that you, I suspect future contact between us will be minimal. That is not based on your beliefs but behavior. Despite this, I will not belittle you, call you names, point and laugh, post it to Facebook, or any other asinine beliefs.
(Having said that, I think we as a country have an obligation to stop those in power from turning such beliefs into policy. Michelle Bachman’s recent attempt to resurrect McCarthyism is a prime example of this.)
Without a sliver of doubt the kindest, sweetest, most friendly person I have ever met was a Mormon. Runner-up for Coolest People I Have Ever Met are two Jehovah’s Witnesses. When I tell people this they are shocked. SHOCKED! Those people are different from us! They must be shunned!