Thursday, August 09, 2012

I Know How You Feel

It may sound funny, but I think I know how Dan Cathy must feel.

I know that I have no idea how it might feel to have millions of dollars to donate (personally or corporately) to organizations of my choosing. And I know that I really don't know what it's like to run a big successful business and I've never been in demand to come speak to large groups of successful business men and women.

But I have made statements that I thought were just expressing my own thoughts and opinions only to come under fire from readers and friends for doing so. It's kind of funny (in a sad way, not a haha way) that we are all supportive of free speech that we agree with but want to be arguementative and downright hateful towards people of a different opinion. The same can be said of religious freedoms. You are free to worship as I do and I am free to push social pratices and laws that are in accordance with my beliefs, but don't you dare try to infringe on my rights by doing the same with your personal beliefs!

It has become common practice in our society to take every differing opinion as a personal attack. I know. I have had people tell me that they feel that they are being singled out and attacked personally. Most of them I would never "attack," others have been off of my radar (forgive the occupational analogy) for so long that I didn't even know they read my posts or status updates, and for those that I might personally engage--trust me, I'm not afraid to engage you in a personal discussion about our differences.

In the past I've said that I would stay away from politics. I don't know that I can really do that. It is very much apart of our make up in the USA. And I think that we all need to be engaged in our system and well informed of the candidates and decisions that are before us. Just because we differ in the candidates we support or the ideas we have for fixing our social and economic woes, doesn't mean that we have to be nasty to one another.

I would hate to have to invite you to quit reading, but if you feel that my opinions are personal attacks--well, maybe you would be better off to quit reading. If you disagree, you are always welcome to leave comments defending your opinions (or get your own blog). If you feel that I'm a heretic to your (or my) religious beliefs, we can talk. By now, most of you should have a pretty good idea of who I am and what I believe. You may also have a fair idea of how I can be offensive to just about anybody that is easily offended or is one of those that just loves a fight.

So before you start with the comments, know that I am aware that the Cathy thing isn't just about what he said so don't waste our time or space trying to convince me or my readers of the deeper arguments. That's not what this is about. It's about being able to disagree without being disagreeable. It's about having a discussion about our differences without hating one another for those differences.

In the six years that I've been writing Out of My Hat, I've had my Christianity questioned by fellow believers and affirmed by atheists. I've been called too liberal by some and intolerant by others. I have vegetarian friends that probably cringe over posts that mentioned monster burgers. Some readers are fellow evangelicals, some are protestants, some are Catholics, some are atheists or followers of another belief system. Some of my readers are union activists, others are management or business owners. There are Democrats, Republicans, Independents and third party members. There are readers from around the world that are probably wondering what is going on in the USA!

With so many diverse backgrounds, all I have to do is take a stand and I'll offend somebody! Even if you've found yourself with an opposing view most of the time, Know that I'm not "attacking" you or your beliefs. Anybody that has ever found themselves on the wrong end of a personal John rant was very much aware of it. Fortunately, that hasn't happened for a number of years.

Feel free to disagree with me. Feel free to be a jerk about it if it will make you feel better about yourself. Feel free to leave a comment or feel free to leave. If you decide to stick around, I'm sure that you will find some things that we agree upon, some things that we don't, and many things that we can learn from one another.

Whew! I feel better (I think).

John <><


Rich said...

Hmmmmm... this sounds like a conversation that I've had recently. :)

MikeyP said...

John, are you talking about me?


Love reading your blog!

Mike said...

I had to look up Dan Cathy. I still think it was dumb for him as a business man to talk politics.

John said...

A couple of notes to add:

I have been called out by fellow believers that are very concerned about the image presented to non-believers or for being out of line. I do appreciate this and love those that hold me accountable for what I write, say and do.

Only once have I ever not posted somebody's comments because they were off topic and purposely offensive.

Some of you choose to message me via Facebook or e-mail rather than to comment. That's fine. If you ever want to comment but don't want to have your comment posted, just say so and I'll read it without posting it to the blog.

John <><

Big Sky Heidi said...

John, what you say is fine by me. You have a good heart. Rest easy tonight.