On (08 Jun 94) Rob Vanderkam wrote to David Rice...
DR> It also holds true for many of the activities the Religious
DR> Reich is currently involved in. They go door-to-door and
DR> INSULT people, extort money, demand unquestioned obediance to
DR> their wills--- and so few victims defend themselves because
DR> it is not "polite." It is not just ARROGANCE for a Fundy
DR> Pentacostal to tell a Jewish person that the latter is doomed
DR> to burn in hell for everlasting--- it is an VIOLENT ASSAULT.
DR> And I have finally learned that it is not just okay, but
DR> one's duty, to defend themselves, and not "politely" just
DR> close the door on these people's faces--- one must TELL them
DR> why one feels assaulted
RV> I been thinking the same thing lately and posting along the
RV> lines that it's a long road up from the grip of religious
RV> thinking, and that we must remember the sacrifices made by
RV> our predecessors or we may have to make them again, and that
RV> the best way to remember their sacrifices is to participate
RV> in keeping religious thoughts exposed for the danger to
RV> society and individual security they are.
RV> In other words, it might be important to translate what you
RV> expressed above into a commitment to speak up whenever one
RV> can, since silence caused by politeness can be the first
RV> steps into submission.
RV> Let me temper this with the fact that these thoughts are in
RV> no way my final understanding of the situation, and I've been
RV> pursuing the idea that it may be more compicated than this,
RV> but my initial inclination is that this scenario is a reality
RV> which must be gaurded against. What remains up for debate is
RV> the ideal way to do so.
I tend to agree, although that agreement is tempered with the knowledge that one can jeopardize one's ability to make a living by speaking up at the wrong time and place. Christians have for far too long been able to get away with the most rude remarks imaginable under the guise of "telling the truth," as recorded in the Bible. They threaten people with eternal torment; they snoop in people's bedrooms and presume to tell them how to love their siginificant others -- and even who their significant others ought to be -- and they say all sorts of terribly rude things in strictly social situations under the guise of "speaking their convictions."
I am currently reading "Jesus Doesn't Live Here any More," by Skipp Porteous. In it he tells about some nosey fundies who, upon announcing his intention to marry his third wife, told him and her that they were "praying that he and Linda (his first wife) would get back together again." So, what was supposed to be a joyous occasion announcing the love of two individuals for each other was turned into a bully pulpit that threw a wet blanket on the occasion.
While I don't approve of multiple marriages, I hardly see the announcement of two people's love for each other and the perfect opportunity to thrust my feelings regarding this topic onto the celebrants. In the first place, it doesn't matter one whit how *I* feel about multiple marriages; what matters is how they feel about each other. And since they have seen fit to publicly announce their feelings toward each other, all I can do at that point is accept their feelings as genuine and hope for the best.
Believers are, as a whole, a bunch of busybodies who not only lack the most elementary components of socialization, but are, as a rule, aware of the lack and completely ready to justify that lack on "moral" grounds.
Morality is a PERSONAL matter. I can no more tell somebody else what is moral than they have the right to tell me what is moral. If bible-bangers want to keep each other in line with such rudeness, I guess that's their business, but they really ought to have better sense about what constitutes acceptable behavior within their own little culture, and what constitutes acceptable behavior within the larger culture in which we all live, regardless of religious beliefs.
Saying that the average militant fundy lacks sensitivity is an understatement; thinking that we as nonbelievers can possibly educate them about this lack is hubris; but letting them get away with the hurtful things that they say under the guise of "speaking out of love" is cowardice.
... My mind is my own church. Thomas Paine