Saturday, June 27, 2015

Things that offend

I have blogged numerous times in the past about how I like to look for the good in everything that happens in life. It’s really not all that hard to do if you think about any given situation for a few minutes. It’s part of what makes life so interesting. Today I want to veer off in a slightly different direction. I want to talk about how and why I try to do my part in offending others. (There is sarcasm there if you look real close.) It may seem like I’m focusing on the negative, but if you think about it for a few minutes, you will see that it’s really just adding a little spice to our lives…one of those things that keeps life interesting.

Over the years, I have had a love-hate relationship with Facebook. (I’m only using this example because the greater majority of the people on the planet are familiar with it.) More often than not, my choice to leave Facebook numerous times in the past was because of some big change they made to my newsfeed. Yep – I got offended just like millions of others. The other major reason I have distanced myself from Facebook in the past was because of all the offensive negativity in social media in general. I’m not talking about the truly offensive stuff like invitations to play Candy Crush every five minutes. I’m referring to the less offensive bickering and hateful talk in the comments of just about any post these days.

Two things always kept me coming back though. Most important to me was that I seemed to miss out on all the going-ons of my friends and family. More surprising, I realized that I actually missed all the negative comments on all the posts. Turns out they were a source of enjoyment to me as I laughed at the absurdity and downright nonsense of it all.

Being a happily married, conservative, white, male, heterosexual, Christian father who happens to support our troops (as well as previously served in the Marine Corps), respect our flag and what it stands for, love guns and wish we didn’t need a law to carry one, means I’ve probably done my fair share of offending others. I should probably add my horrible grammar for the grammar police who were offended by my last run-on sentence.

I thought I would take a few moments to point out a few of the ways I offend the masses on a daily basis. I don’t go out and intentionally post controversial comments. As a matter of fact, I almost never even comment in any of the threads that are blowing up with offensive comments being tossed back and forth. I treat it more as a spectator sport…..with the obvious exception of this post.

I’m a Christian. To the masses, that apparently means I only stop thumping my Bible long enough to point out where everyone else is sinning and therefore going to hell. It also means I’m intolerant of apparently everything and I must think I’m better than everyone else. In reality, I know I’m a sinner, just like everyone else on the planet. I am aware of what’s right and wrong though and that is where the misconceptions usually come from. Stating my personal beliefs for or against any given topic is apparently only tolerant if I agree with the liberal masses. Pretty soon I will get in trouble for not allowing my six year old to chase her little sister through the house with a butcher knife because I am not being tolerant of her choice of play activities. I know it’s not right or safe for her to do this – so I say it’s wrong.

I get a strange sense of enjoyment watching the “tolerant” masses call me hypocritical because of my beliefs while portraying text-book signs of hypocrisy in their tolerance.  My favorite has always been the two topics of abortion and capital punishment. Why is it that the same people who think it’s wrong to execute a convicted murderer are often the same people who think it’s their legal right to kill an unborn baby? They are both killing, but one of them deserves to be punished and the other deserves to live. Why is it so difficult to understand which is which?

Watching the news this week, you surely must have seen or heard that same sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. If you’re like me, you had to scroll through about 30 Facebook posts about it before you could see some real news about a friend or family member. You probably even saw a few friendships broken because of which post they chose to share. Really? You’ve been friends and family for how long now and you didn’t know where each of you stood on the topic? Even worse, I saw a few that not only didn’t realize their friend’s opinion differed from theirs, but also didn’t have the desire to actually listen to their friend’s explanation of this “newly discovered” belief.

For the record, I do not support same sex marriage. That does NOT mean that I hate homosexuals. It only means that I believe it is wrong (a sin) and therefore shouldn’t be made legal. (I feel the same way about abortion, but that’s currently legal as well.) I understand that some people may struggle with immoral inclinations towards members of the same sex, but I also know that doesn’t make it right.  I’m not going to alienate or send hate mail to those who take advantage of this newly given legal right to marry their same sex partner. I don’t hate, or even dislike, any of them.

Flags have been another hot topic of late. It has recently shifted from walking on the US flag to a sudden uproar about the Confederate flag. This is another fine example of the misconception of what being tolerant is. Many of the same people who are all for supporting the right to trample the American flag are against the right to display the Confederate flag because it’s offensive. Many people find the Nazi flag offensive (me included), but I know it’s their right to fly it. How about the rainbow gay pride flag? The flag itself doesn’t bother me. I like rainbows. They’re a reminder of God’s promise not to destroy the Earth again by flood. (Not sure how that relates to gay pride??) OOPS – I probably offended some people there with my relating a rainbow to God. That is my belief and my right though, right?

Does it make me mad to see people walk across the US flag? Yes. Do I think it’s their right to do it? Unfortunately, yes. Will I march for hours in protest and spend years in court trying to take that right away? No. It’s not worth my time. They’ll just find something else to offend me. How about how they lit up the White House in rainbow colors this week? Is that offensive? I think it is, but more because I thought it was disrespectful to our White House than because of what it represented in itself. Are we going to light it up in orange and black to celebrate Halloween? Will we be seeing the confederate flag displayed on the White House? Is it only tolerant to support gay pride and not southern pride?

Guns are always a major topic. I’m beginning to think they have a rotating schedule on when to bring a new anti-gun agenda into play. I said earlier that I love guns. Guns for hunting, sport shooting fun and self-defense. I was blessed to get to experience a very wide range of firearms in the military. My joy of guns is not unlike someone else’s appreciation for a classic car or a work of art at the museum. (By the way, people have been killed by (and for) both of those too.)

I think the gun debate to me is more fun to watch because of the absolutely opposite facts both sides manage to come up with over the same topic. Is it so hard to see that the cities with the strictest gun laws have the highest crime rates? Trying to say eliminating guns will prevent killings doesn’t make any sense either. People were killed for thousands of years before guns were invented and they still get killed daily by “non-gun” means. Taking guns away from law abiding citizens won’t stop criminals from getting their hands on them. Even if you managed to somehow eliminate every last gun on the planet, people would still be getting killed with baseball bats, hammers, knives, etc.

I think I have rambled on long enough this time. In hind sight, this post should probably have been broken out over a few separate posts. Chances are, if you are an intolerant individual like me, you probably read through it at a brisk pace. Those of you who are tolerant (about everything except all the stuff I just listed in this post) probably aren’t still reading down this far anyway.

Thanks for taking the time to read my almost coherent rant. I’m really not all that fired up about any of this, but it just seemed like the thing to do while I wait for all the rainbows and confederate flags to clear out of my Facebook newsfeed. Until next time….