Friday, September 25, 2009

Oh The Times They Aren't A-Changin' (On Hate & Bigotry)

I'm a ponderer. I like it. Critical thinking and introspection are great tools to use, on self and society. For the most part, I think I'm immune to society's stupidity, but sometimes I see the world and it reminds me that I'm not inoculated.

I believe in respect. While I may not agree with certain choices and actions people take, I still believe that they are deserving of love and respect. When I see people displaying hate and bigotry it feels like a stab to the heart, especially if it's coming from a follower of Jesus Christ. Where is the love? Christ walked with the grime of Jerusalem and he loved them. He went on to command that "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV) Jesus' love was so great for us that he died a horrible death for everyone. Everyone is not an excluding term. It means that every person, regardless of their circumstances and sin, has a way to the Father, as long as they profess that "Jesus is Lord" (Romans 10:9 ESV).

If Christ is the model we emulate, then bigotry and hate do not fit into that model. There is no love in tearing down your fellow man. How was/is slavery tolerated? Why do drug addicts have a bad stigma? Why are we uncomfortable around homosexuals? Why do we walk past the homeless man standing outside of Walgreens instead of giving him some cash?

Our society is largely Christian, with almost 80% proclaiming that tag. (The article, found here, is actually pretty interesting to look at.) While the other 20% doesn't try to follow Christ, I'm sure they don't believe in hate and bigotry. In fact, I believe it's universally accepted as a good gesture to treat everyone equal. Sadly, this does not happen around the world. Inequality still exists, people are still beaten down, and love is nowhere to be found.

My mind got to turning and spinning on this topic a day or two ago. I was driving home from work and got behind a car with a rude bumper sticker. It read, simply, "AIDS cures FAGS." At first I was shocked. Then I was hollowed out. Then I felt a mixture of anger and sorrow. Why?! I wondered.

The problem was in the wording. To my knowledge, AIDS doesn't cure anything. It kills. And death is not a cure. And fags is just a horrible sounding word. It's just like using ethnic slurs on other people. It is demeaning. While I can appreciate some level of political incorrectness (as long as it's within the realm of respect), for the most part, it's better to be politically correct than stupid and rude. In addition, there are millions of AIDS stricken people who've done nothing wrong (see Africa) and are bearing the burdens of earlier generations. This disease is no joking matter.

The disease is twofold. AIDS is serious, and if progress could be made in curing those sick and dying children of Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, etc., then I'm all for it. The bigger disease is Man's Uncaring Heart. Until we learn to love and respect one another, we'll always be inflicted with hate. And as long as people cling to their hate, we'll have bigotry. Just because someone is different than you, or doesn't meet your standards, does not mean that they're not a person and that they don't deserve as much respect as you. In my opinion, if you want to have respect, you have to give respect. Until then, our world will never change.


Crystal said...

Excellent post!! I totally agree with everything you wrote about. I truly believe that a lot of the world's problems are because we do not love our neighbors as ourselves.

logankstewart said...

Thanks for commenting Crystal. I felt so burdened when writing this post and hoped that people would read it and take something from it.

I have no idea if it made an impact or not on anyone, but I meant every word of it. If we can't love our brother's and sister's that we have seen, then how can we love Christ? Impossible.

Keisha said...

I appreciate that you are able to articulate what I often feel.