Culture Teaches Us We Cannot Even Have a Conversation

I read an article earlier this week that some people and policy makers are very upset that President Obama is welcoming Myanmar president, Thein Sein (pictured above), to the White House for a visit and some diplomatic conversations. The reason for the uproar, in the minds of those roaring, is that back in the day Sein was a part of a well known junta in Myanmar, and was eventually blacklisted by the US. That ban was lifted in 2012, and Obama has decided to engage the president. Sein has recently taken steps to not only distance himself from his past, but reform the Myanmarian government.

But at the end of the day, this post is not about any of that. What this post is about:

What has our country come to that,

a) people with a terrible past cannot be potentially forgiven and have the right to change; and

b) an in-person conversation is deemed evil?

If we cannot have the right to be forgiven, nor have the right to simply talk with one another in-person, then what is there in life?

The answer?

A bunch of extremists who don’t know anything but how to complain about everything, having their voice heard over all of the reason and balance in this world.

Stop. Listening. To. Them. And. Giving. Their. Irrationalities. Unnecessary. Attention.

As Fred Phelps, the founder of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church (which PS isn’t a church, it’s a family of about 15 people), once said:

“I’ve never spent a dollar on advertising, and yet all these national media outlets give us front page coverage. You couldn’t buy that type of placement to promote our message.”

For once in his life, Phelps makes a legitimate point. #pitiful

Much love.

Our Last Option: Reconciliation
2 videos…
Discriminating…In Jesus’ Name?
About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation ( He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • justinwhitaker

    Hi Andrew, thank you for raising this important issue. I am an avid Burma-watcher, having visited there in 2011, just after Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. I think your questions are good in terms of furthering the conversation and awareness of what is going on there. However, people’s complaints about the meeting are not only based in the junta’s past, but also the present situation and the situation in the foreseeable future. There was a symbolic release of political prisoners before the visit, but it was observed that all of them, and many more, had been unjustly arrested in just the last year or so; suggesting that it was all a bit more ‘show’ than true reform. I sympathize, wishing that we could see actual democracy and protection of ethnic minorities sooner rather than “eventually” – but I also see that change doesn’t happen overnight…