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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Resolving Conflicts Using The Hardest Way Possible

I ran into a part of an article that claimed that the LGBT movement was not only forcing men into the locker rooms of women and children, they were trying to silence speech that would oppose such efforts (click here for the article). 

Of course, when one reads the whole article, one sees a bit of overstatement and a bit of filtering in the reporting of the facts. Because the whole bathroom debacle had to do with transgendered people only, not all men, as the article sometimes seemed to suggest.

The article also overstated what happens when one refuses to use one's 'artistic talents' to celebrate a same-sex wedding. The overstatement was found in the omission of the word business. If one's business refuses to provide goods and services to a same-sex wedding, then one could find oneself with legal problems that could threaten one's business. But what is left out is the mention that for a business to refuse to provide goods and services to a group in a capitalist economy, even if it was for religious reasons, it contributes to the marginalization of that group in society as we saw during Jim Crow.

Does that mean that the LGBT movment is without fault in all of the demands they are making? No. But what we see is the use of the victim card being played by those opposing the LGBT movement's efforts to secure equality in society for its members. And what isn't mentioned is the history of marginalization and even persecution that those in the LGBT movement have had to endure for centuries in this country back when Christianity had a predominant place in society. What isn't mentioned is how those in the LGBT community have been victims of those who were privileged. What is ignored is what preceded these challenges meant to expand the rights of those in the LGBT community.

Such a reaction to challenges reminds one of George W. Bush's first post 9-11 speech where he blamed the 9-11 atrocities on the hatred our enemies have for freedom. His exact words were (click here for a source):
America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. 

What he didn't mention was how George Bush's American had, for decades, been overthrowing democracies  and other governments as well as been using tyrants to rule over nations in the Middle East. During the golden days of Ronald Reagan, we supported Saddam Hussein as well as Osama Bin Laden despite the fact that we knew how they operated. But we also supported Mubarak of Egypt and the Saudi Royal family as they ruled as dictators over their respective nations. And we supported terrorism outside of the Middle East such as in Central America in the name of anti-Communism while saying nothing about the dictators who preceded them and whom we supported.

What we saw in the 9/11 attacks and what we see in the LGBT movement's efforts to gain equality are attempts to dislodge those who are privileged from their current state. With the 9/11 attacks, the attempts to dislodge those who are privileged resulted in horrendous atrocities that continue to this day by both Islamic terrorists and Western, especially American, foreign policies in the Middle East. With the attempts to secure equality made by the LGBT movement, we see a mixture of good and bad decisions and rules for society with the bad decisions often being based on all-or-nothing thinking. 

And what we also see in both conflicts is how those who are privileged respond to challenges. Because of their feeling of entitlement to rule over others, those who are privileged can never see their part in tbeir struggles with the possible exception that weakness caused them to allow challenges to exist. To them, the beginning of the conflict always starts with their suffering.  Entitlement blinds them from seeing what started those challenges. In addition, entitlement blinds them from seeing their own sins in how they respond to challenges today. On a side note, we should note that we have at least one presidential candidate whose dismissive antics toward others clearly demonstrates that both he believes he is entitled to rule over others and is blind to his own faults.

When those who challenge the privileged sin, we are often presented with a false dichotomy of either supporting the status quo or the sins, and even atrocities, used by those looking to change things. One only needs to look at the conflict between Israel and Palestine to see this dynamic. And whom we will side with often depends on whether we are living on whose coattails we are riding on. But such a choice never results in a just and righteous end of a conflict. So unless we employ justice and mercy to both change the status quo and confront and stop the overreactoins or immoral actions of those challenging the privileged, we end up doing nothing more than to prolong the conflict as well as ensure unnecessary suffering once the conflict temporarily subsides.

This is why we can fully side with neither side mentioned in the first article cited from the Federalist website. And this is why we cannot side with either side in the War on Terror. What we can do is to try our best to synthesize the righteous concerns of each side involved in the respective conflicts. And that means that we must confront who would treat others with injustice. For unless we escape our false dichotomies, again, we will only be working to prolong conflicts and cause unnecessary suffering.

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