Thursday, August 30, 2012

Oh how absurd to swallow a bird!

I know an older woman (pushing 80) who is a wonderful upstanding example of a human. She raised five kids who never wanted for shoes or food. She spent her life teaching, and then teaching teachers. At every step in her life she has made choices to better not only her own slice of the world, but a larger world.

She has many grandchildren with whom she regularly interacts. She is actively participating in the raising of several.

She is very religious, and spends part of everyday studying the bible. She attends church every Sunday, and provides emotional and tangible support to her fellow church members every day of the week.

She has spent part of her own life savings to go on a teaching mission to Morocco. There she provided expert advice on lesson plans and teaching of English to the people there.

Several times a week she goes to a public place (like a Wal-Mart or Costco) and stands around for two or three hours collecting signatures on petitions. Standing around on concrete in the Sothern California summer may not appear to require much effort to many folks, but it is a terrific effort for a woman in the end of her eighth decade of life that suffers from poor circulation.

What issue has her so riled up that she is willing to endure significant discomfort to fight? It is the Homosexual Agenda, and she is willing to do what she can to fight it. Apparently there are some sort of anti-bullying laws, or anti-gay-correction-therapy laws, or hate crime legislation, or something that will allow Homosexuals to openly recruit kindergarteners or something…. I must admit that my conversations shut down before there is a convergence of her ability to coherently describe the threat and my ability to listen.

It is easy to see people as two dimensional images of their most vile mistakes. On the other hand I personally find myself rationalizing people’s lives on a one-dimensional morality scale; so much good makes up for so much bad. It is like I need an airtight excuse to dislike someone or a reason to care about them.

The fact of the matter is that I am tied to some people “warts and all” I can decide to care about them and their connection to me, and caring is almost always the best choice.

Not that the “caring is the best option” is necessarily a reciprocal situation. One of the reasons this blog is semi-anonymous is that, should my flagrantly almost-out-of-the-closet atheism be known, I, along with AOD and AYD, would be shut-out of interacting with a handful of people I choose to care about.

I am open about being an atheist, but there is a difference between being open and openly promoting an atheist lifestyle (OK…I’m not sure what that really means either). I make known my opinion on the homophobic political activities, but I don’t express it with the vitriol that it truly deserves. I sometimes point out sexist-racist-xenophobic-intolerant statements, but sometimes I just let them pass. I only do this for some people.

You would probably not get this type of treatment despite the fact that I really appreciate you reading my blog.


postmormon girl said...

I completely get what you mean about having to accept people warts-and-all. For me, it's dealing with the complicated issue of my family and religion, but I also have a very sweet, very lovely friend who is an ardent Tea Partier - I don't understand or feel comfortable with her politics but she has been there for me when I needed and she has a good heart.

Thanks for writing this.

adult onset atheist said...

there is that fine line. ignoring everything that we feel is right for someone's fragile ego is disrespectful to them. On the other hand being as strong as the moral imperative demands is disrespectful of the relationship.