Sunday, January 19, 2014

Inflexibly liberal .....

On this little spiritual journey called life, I sometimes surprise myself ... and not in a good way.

All my life I have floated along in my little liberal, progressive bubble. I proudly attend a liberal church. I work at a university, where all my colleagues share my opinions. I allow myself the luxury of thinking that most people agree with me. Because, why not? All the crazies are on Fox, right? Or in the red states (forming a long list of places where I can't retire).

Well, today I learned differently, and it wasn't a lesson that went down easily.

 At the end of the service this morning, a woman in our congregation rose to make an announcement. She is relatively new; we have chatted a few times, but I don't really know her. I'm embarrassed to admit that I can't remember her name. She proceeded to exhort all of us to eat all three meals at Chick-fil-A on January 21st, to show our support for their refusal to do business on Sundays. As my three constant readers know, Chick-fil-A has also been in the news for their anti-gay positions. "Let's show everybody we're a Christian nation," she concluded.

 In a liberal Episcopal congregation with numerous LGBT members, this suggestion was followed by an absolutely thunderous silence, as if we had all just noticed the turd in the punchbowl. I leaned over to the choir member on my left and whispered, "Oh no." What I was thinking was, Oh, shit. Our liberal point of view was under attack.  My reaction would have been the same if Bill O'Reilly or Megyn Kelly had parachuted into the middle of the nave, ready to spout Fox News lunacy.

Into this dismayed, embarrassed silence broke the strains of the recessional hymn, effecting our rescue. During coffee hour, after the service, there was much eye-rolling and dignified, Episcopal consternation. I avoided the woman who had spoken, since I did not trust myself to remain civil.. She apparently spent time with our rector, claiming that 98% of gay men are drug users, and most of them abuse boys.

Where do people get this stuff?  How do they swallow it all?

That's a question, of course, but it's not the question. The question is, why was my immediate inclination an aggressive one? My instinct was to get up in the woman's face, like a bunch of cootiebugs on a dunghill. There's no excusing her opinion, but she's entitled to hold it, and to express it. I know that -- and I'm a real fan of the First Amendment. That would be the First Amendment that's for everybody, not just for people who agree with me. I certainly was quick to condemn, and to mutter behind her back.

So I'm not feeling very Christian tonight. Less eye-rolling and more dialogue might be a really good New Year's resolution for me, even -- especially -- with people whose opinions I don't share.  

1 comment:

D Voorhees said...

I'm very sorry she hasn't had an opportunity to meet some of your LGBT might be, as Sr Cornelia is fond of calling it, the the thin end of the wedge for her.

So pleased you started and continue this blog. A wonderful read, thought provoking, authentic to your heart.