Trying to Love My Enemies

Just a cautionary note: trying to figure out how to love your enemies is something that can be totally appropriate to do from a long ways away.  If you are ever in severe physical or emotional danger from a person or community, your first priority should be escape.  Self-reflection can wait til you’re safe.

I’m not calling anyone to martyr themselves by enduring abuse for the sake of converting their tormentors or retaining a sense of righteousness or for almost any other reason.  Without the breathing room of college (and nerdy summer camp), I would not have been able to stop hating people who bullied me in high school.  I probably would have continued as I was: twisted up with bitterness and contempt long after my bullies had moved on.

In a post earlier today, I rejected a vengeance-motivated defense of mockery offered by a commenter but had to agree that the treatment of atheists in America (as well as that of many other marginalized groups) makes my blood boil.  Since I rejected the righteous anger approach, I promised to offer my own.  Here’s how I try to think about it, but your mileage may vary.

When I am the victim of other people’s scorn and hatred, that is wrong and I should look for every opportunity to ameliorate the harm done and shield other people from my fate.  However, when I am bullied, harassed, or despised, I have one consolation: I don’t fall prey to the particular ignorance and/or prejudice that leads people to treat me badly.  That’s one burden I don’t have to suffer, and I should try to help my tormentors shed theirs inasmuch as I am able to do so without putting myself in significant physical or emotional danger.

The last thing I should want is to double their suffering by wishing that, in addition to being disfigured by their hatred to the point of wounding others, that they should also have my burden of feeling isolated and rejected.  Rejecting their cruelty and dying to their old self, if they ever manage to pull it off, would be painful, but that ache is meant to catalyze a rebirth and new freedom.  Self-recognition is punishment enough, I don’t need to wish on them pain for the sake of pain.

And don’t forget, the odds are good that the people hurting me are acting out of ignorance or carelessness.  I may be spared their blind spots, but  before I indulge in any ‘righteous anger,’ I should remember to check my privilege (see here) and try to be mindful of the swath of victims in my wake.  The gravest sin in another doesn’t excuse even the smallest of mine.

About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011. She works as an Editorial Assistant at The American Conservative by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked. She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."

  • http://thegroomsfamily.wordpress.com Lea

    I would actually be interested to hear more about why and how atheists in America feel discriminated against or abused. From where I sit, atheists are increasingly gaining political power and using it to do things like force Catholic Charities to close its adoption agencies. But I probably don't have a full picture. A post on that, or some comment responses, would be helpful.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11174257204278139704 Charles

    @Lea, atheists form such a small subset of society that it is a safe bet they have little to nothing to do with marriage equality slowly becoming the norm. I don't see the connection between atheism and catholic charities refusing to give up on bigotry.

  • Anonymous

    "how atheists in America feel discriminated""atheists [..] force Catholic Charities to close its adoption agencies"If you deliver the examples yourself why do you need more?

  • http://thegroomsfamily.wordpress.com Lea

    @Charles and Anonymous: I guess it was an overstatement on my part to say that it is atheist political activism specifically that has impacted Catholic Charities. It is more accurate to point to the gay rights movement in this case. It would have been more accurate for me to refer to "forces opposing traditional Christianity" than to "atheists." I'm not clear how my statement, whether the political actors I'm talking about are explicit atheists or just people who like gay rights and don't like the Catholic Church, constitutes discrimination. Atheism is a set of intellectual (and sometimes political) beliefs, not a race or something else that an individual has no control over. Beliefs and political positions can be argued with and criticized. That's not discrimination, that's legitimate disagreement.

  • http://thegroomsfamily.wordpress.com Lea

    @Charles – also, are atheists really such a small part of society? I would say that at all the places I have worked or gone to school, it is people who believe in God who are a distinct minority. Of course, that's because I live on the East Coast – I'm sure things are different in other parts of the country.

  • Anonymous

    "forces opposing traditional Christianity"That sums up pretty much the problem. We (atheists) just don't belief in God. That's it. An atheist does on average not “oppose” Christianity any more or less than a Muslim or a homosexual. Yet a Muslim or a homosexual is more likely to get elected than an atheist.

  • Ash

    What about those who directly and knowingly mock you? It's one thing to say that you shouldn't actively harm them, but I see no reason to forgive them their trangressions as long as they continue to hold antipathy toward you and commit the same trangressions. Forgiveness needs to be deserved for justice to exist.As for the Lincoln quote, I remind you that he was in command of the Union army, the army that torched a large portion of Georgia. He didn't show clemency to the rebelling states until they had submitted to the Union army.

  • Ash

    @Anonymous: Atheists don't have to oppose Christianity per se, but we should oppose anyone who expects us to respect the belief that 2000 years ago, a man rose from the dead. My rule is that if I can say it about homeopathy, I can say it about religion.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    @Lea, no one is "forcing" Catholic Charities to close anywhere. All that's happened is that states and municipalities have concluded, rightly, that any group that wishes to contract with the government to help place children in adoptive homes must abide by the same anti-discrimination laws as the government itself. Catholic Charities can't accept that, and is closing down rather than surrender its right to discriminate. By doing so, they're implicitly making the claim that it's better for orphan children to have no home and no parents than it is for them to live with a loving, monogamous, emotionally stable same-sex couple. And if that's the belief they want to defend at all costs, then I say good riddance. You might as well say that the government is "forcing" restaurant owners to close down because they don't want to seat black people.

  • JBB

    One need not be religious to see the value of forgiveness and unity with those who hate us. The implications of understanding the brotherhood of men was well understood by the Greek and Roman Stoics. Here is an example from Marcus Aurelius: "Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busy-body, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil. But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me, not only of the same blood or seed, but that it participates in the same intelligence and the same portion of the divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him, For we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to nature; and it is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn away" http://classics.mit.edu/Antoninus/meditations.2.two.html

  • http://thegroomsfamily.wordpress.com Lea

    @Ebonmuse: First of all, the argument that considering homosexuality to be a sin is analogous to hating black people is totally misguided and wrong. I'm reluctant to get into that on this list because it'll get us off toic – Leah, perhaps sometime you'll have a post up to open this discussion (or maybe it already happened). The most super-basic point, though, is that homosexuality is a behavior explicitly condemned by the Bible, whereas black sin is neither a behavior nor condemned anywhere. So by telling people that they may not legally practice charity in accordance with beliefs based in the Bible is to launch an outright attack on freedom of religion. Secondly, it's simply not true that Catholic Charities prefers children to not be adopted than to be adopted by gay couples. The logistics of adoption in this country are such that it is parents who stand in line for years and years (and pay a lot of money) to get a child, not vice versa. (Why that is I don't know exactly, but it's a fact).And, it's worth noting that there are studies that show that living with two parents of different sexes benefits children over other arrangements. There is no such data for children living in gay households. You may argue that that's merely due to lack of data. That may or may not be the case, but is it really so crazy to go with the thing that has been tested as opposed to the thing that hasn't? We seem perfectly comfortable with that approach in every other area of life…

  • http://thegroomsfamily.wordpress.com Lea

    p.s. bah – I typed "black sin" instead of "black skin"… what a bad typo! :) sorry!

  • Anonymous

    Lea, in the spirit of this post I forgive your bigotry and ignorance.http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20100607/kids-of-lesbian-parents-are-well-adjusted

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    "The most super-basic point, though, is that homosexuality is a behavior explicitly condemned by the Bible, whereas black sin is neither a behavior nor condemned anywhere."In the eyes of the law, that makes absolutely no difference, nor should it. Bigotry is bigotry regardless of its source. Also, you should know that the racists of past eras relied on the Bible and Christianity to justify their hate every bit as much as anti-gay bigots do today. (Look up the "Curse of Ham" if you weren't aware of this.)"Secondly, it's simply not true that Catholic Charities prefers children to not be adopted than to be adopted by gay couples."Then why is it closing down in areas with anti-discrimination laws?"And, it's worth noting that there are studies that show that living with two parents of different sexes benefits children over other arrangements."I'm skeptical of that, but even granting it for the sake of argument, it still makes no difference. If there were studies showing that living with rich parents benefits children more (which is very probably the case), would you argue that poor people should be barred from adopting? Adoption agencies place children with individual couples, not statistical abstractions. The ability of that specific couple to care for the child and provide them with a loving home is, and should be, the only factor under consideration.

  • Patrick

    A church is permitted to be as discriminatory as it chooses when behaving as a religious institution. When behaving as a secular institution it has to follow neutral laws of general applicability. This is the reason why you can't bullet proof any discrimination you like by claiming its religious- that argument only works in the context of actual religious activities, not secular activities carried out by religious groups.Adoption is a secular activity. Therefore, neutral laws of general applicability will apply.Although… Lea? You're actually arguing that Catholics are discriminated against because they're not allowed to open up businesses and charitable institutions and operate them in a discriminatory manner. Really?

  • KL

    @Lea, The general rule of thumb in the US is that if an organization receives government funds or is acting as a representative of the state, it is subject to government regulations, such as non-discrimination and First Amendment restrictions. If an organization does not wish to be subject to those restrictions, it can't be affiliated with the government. That's why public elementary schools can't lead students in prayer (for example), but private schools can. Catholic Charities is in fact exercising its First Amendment free exercise rights by shutting down – the government can make demands of CC if it wishes to remain affiliated, but it can't be forced to remain in operation if it objects to the requirements on religious grounds.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13116034158087704885 March Hare

    Lea, you ask "I would actually be interested to hear more about why and how atheists in America feel discriminated against or abused."then follow that up with: "atheists are increasingly gaining political power and using it to do things like force Catholic Charities to close its adoption agencies."As it happens you have just given the perfect example. Although you later accept the misrepresentation I think the point still stands: Atheists are not closing down Catholic adoption agencies as Ebonmuse points out in terms slightly more civil than I would have chosen, however the bigger point is that it is not atheists that are making and enforcing anti-discrimination laws that Catholics are choosing to close rather than follow, it is mainly Christian politicians. That you choose to blame atheists is exactly the kind of abuse you were asking for examples of.And, even if we accept that this is true "it's worth noting that there are studies that show that living with two parents of different sexes benefits children over other arrangements" the correct comparison to make is whether gay parents are better than state orphanages. Does anyone think that a stable, loving gay home is worse than an impersonal state institution?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p00d8341c938853ef Sheryl

    I think this is an excellent way to respond to people who have harmed you. I'm sorry you have been treated badly.Found you via Conversion Diary and read your burden of proof page. Have you read Who Moved The Stone or Mere Christianity? I think their reasoning is solid. You can email me if you want to hear the argument that convinced me. (I had the same situation– dating someone of a different belief)

  • http://thegroomsfamily.wordpress.com Lea

    @March Hare and Ebonmuse: Regarding state orphanages, as I said, it's not actually true that children face a choice between gay parents and state orphanages. There are more than enough straight couples standing in line for years to get a child, so an agency that prefers not to work with gay couples isn't hurting the children.@Patrick: Is doing charitable work "acting as a secular institution?" Can't both secular AND religious institutions do charitable work, and do it differently?@Ebonmuse: Does your logic leave any room for religious freedom? People who don't believe in God have decided that homosexuality is morally equivalent to heterosexuality, and that to suggest otherwise is bigotry (which is secular for "sin"). Christians don't agree, and still think homosexuality is a sin. How do we resolve that problem and remain an actually free society?As for the Curse of Ham, yes, thank you, I am aware that people used the Bible to justify racism. You have to work pretty hard to do that, since the Bible doesn't actually say anything direct to that effect. Whereas it does explicitly condemn sodomy, both in the Old and the New Testament (incidentally, along with many other sins that don't get nearly as much attention in this society as homosexuality does). As for your point regarding rich parents – adoption agencies do discriminate among prospective couples based on age, health status, and income. @Everybody: It would be one thing if Catholic Charities were told that it can't receive any government money if it doesn't do gay adoptions. That's fine – then you can say, as someone did above, that if you don't follow the government's rules you can't be affiliated with the government. As a matter of fact, Catholic Charties had to actually shut down, not just receive less money, because it became illegal for them to do adoptions in accordance with their beliefs. To say that by shutting down they practiced their feedom is absurd – that's like saying that people captured by tyrannical governments and forced to sign false confessions are perfectly free, since if they don't want to go againist their beliefs they can always choose to just die. That's true (and importantly true) on a spiritual level, but certainly not true in any relevant way if we want to live in a free nation.

  • http://thegroomsfamily.wordpress.com Lea

    Also, @March Hare: What Christian politicians are you talking about? Secular groups are the ones pushing for the types of laws that forced CC to close. Whether these groups are more accurately described as gay-rights groups or straight-up atheist groups, many of their members are likely atheist and are certainly not Christian in any kind of traditional sense.

  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

    @Lea: This article give an overview of anti-atheist discrimination: http://www.alternet.org/belief/151241/10_scariest_states_to_be_an_atheist/?page=entireAlso, where exactly did the government force Catholic Charities to close? They certainly seem to think that they're open, and even that they still provide adoption services: http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/Page.aspx?pid=1670

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13116034158087704885 March Hare

    Lea, Christians can be secular too. This is the kind of mistake people make all the time, blaming atheists when secular things go against their (not you personally, obviously) wish for how their religion should be privileged. Almost all politicians (in the US) (claim to be) Christian, or occasionally Jewish. It is a sign of the bigotry in America that an atheist finds it so hard to be elected with studies repeatedly showing that atheists are the least trusted minority in America. God, it's good to live in Europe :)Secular != atheist.All religious people should want a secular government. Secular government is the best guarantee of religious freedom, and freedom from religion.As far as your claim of too many parents not enough children, I'll take your word for that in the US, in the UK it is most certainly not the case. No-one has the right to a child and if there are statistically better homes available to children they should be prioritised over others for the well-being of the child. So, claims of unfair treatment or not, I'd say placing children with available rich/straight/same colour as the child/etc. parents is better than placing them with equally suitable poor/gay/different race/etc. ones IF, and it's a big if, it can be clearly shown to be the best thing for the child.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    @Ebonmuse: Does your logic leave any room for religious freedom? People who don't believe in God have decided that homosexuality is morally equivalent to heterosexuality, and that to suggest otherwise is bigotry (which is secular for "sin"). Christians don't agree, and still think homosexuality is a sin. How do we resolve that problem and remain an actually free society?Lea, my reasoning accommodates religious freedom in the following way: People who believe that homosexuality is a sin can express that view to their heart's content in their role as private citizens. They can preach it in the pulpit, they can hand out fliers on the street, they can deny same-sex couples the privilege of having a Catholic wedding in a Catholic church, they can say it in newspapers, on TV and on the radio. What they may not do is use that belief to justify becoming a law unto themselves, claiming an exemption from generally applicable laws or duties on the basis of private conviction. If you're a firefighter and you believe homosexuality is a sin, you may not refuse to extinguish the burning house of a same-sex couple. If you're a pharmacist and you believe contraceptive use is a sin, you may not refuse to fill a prescription for a birth-control pill given to a patient by her doctor. If you're a doctor and you believe AIDS is God's justified punishment for sinners, you may not refuse to prescribe an HIV-positive gay patient a medically appropriate course of antivirals. As for the Curse of Ham, yes, thank you, I am aware that people used the Bible to justify racism. You have to work pretty hard to do that, since the Bible doesn't actually say anything direct to that effect. Whereas it does explicitly condemn sodomy, both in the Old and the New Testament…When it comes to the Bible, what is "explicit" and what is merely implied are very much in the eye of the beholder. As you're probably aware, there are theologians who believe the verses you're referring to were a condemnation of temple prostitution in pagan religions, not homosexuality in general. (What does the Bible say about why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah? Hint: It wasn't for sodomy!)But, again, why should this matter in a secular society? Should it be the state's business to parse scripture, deciding which viewpoints are supported by the Bible and which ones aren't, and granting special exceptions only to believers of the former positions and not the latter? I trust you don't need to be an atheist to consider that absurd.

  • http://thegroomsfamily.wordpress.com Lea

    @TooManyJens: Thank you for answering my question! This is helpful information that I was not aware of (which is why I started this conversation in the first place). These are some very disturbing examples of harassment. Though I don't know that you can blame people for not trusting atheists as political candidates – atheism, unlike skin color, is a conviction, and judging politicians based on their convictions is what the whole voting business is about, right? As for Catholic Charities – it was in Massachusetts that they were forced to close.@March Hare – maybe the distinction between "secular" and "atheist" is more important in UK than in US parlance. When I say "secular," I mean "people who don't believe in God." I don't mean "people who don't want to live under a theocratic regime."

  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

    @Lea: They're not judging atheists based on their political convictions, which would obviously be totally fair in voting, but on their atheism itself. They weren't asked for specifics as to why they didn't trust atheists, but there are stereotypes (heavily promoted by some religious people and politicians) that atheists have no moral, are un-American, etc. That's bigotry, and yes, I can blame people for that.Do you have a link for the Catholic Charities in MA being forced to close? A quick Google indicates to me that they're alive and well. They may have ended a contract with the state government, but that's much different from being forced to close.

  • Anonymous

    Lea, I am quite glad that Catholic Charities in MA was forced to close. It is not fair to the children they adopt out to not be matched with potentially great parents on the basis of orientation. This is not a place where it is acceptable to allow your biblical prejudices, because it harms children. Furthermore it is unfair to the gay couples looking to adopt because it gives straight couples an unfair advantage. Again you can spread your hate as much as you want within religious activities, but when it leaches out into society it is just to put an end to it.

  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

    I think I found what you're referring to. MA requires that adoption agencies comply with state anti-discrimination law in order to be licensed, and Catholic Charities would not do that, so it stopped placing children for adoption in MA.It's sad that their work in arranging adoptions was lost, but it's not persecution of Catholics — it's a conflict between Catholic practices and what the state has decided are the best laws for the citizenry as a whole, who cannot be legally compelled to accept Catholic teachings. The state has to do balancing acts in cases like that, and in this case they decided that non-discrimination outweighed religious freedom to discriminate.

  • http://thegroomsfamily.wordpress.com Lea

    @TooManyJens: Atheism is not a political conviction, but when I'm voting for a candidate I'm interested in more than their views on politics. A voter wants a candidate whom they can trust to think like them.That said, I personally would much sooner vote for a candidate who was an atheist but I agreed with on more relevant issues than for a hypocritical Christian (for the easy examples, a supposedly Christian politican who supports abortion or has committed multiple rounds of adultery). @Ebonmuse: Christianity in China is technically legal, but Christians are essentially not allowed to do anything outside of church doors. They can have services and preach (carefully censored) sermons, but they cannot undertake any activity out in the world in the name of their religion. In what way would you like America to be different?On one hand, I see your point about the fireman, physician, etc. On the other hand, if the Catholic Church starts an adoption agency *as a Catholic ministry* – which Catholic charities is – under what logic does it make sense to prevent it from running this agency in accordance with Catholic principles? How do we draw the line between a secular and a religious activity, without ending up like China where anything you do outside of your "religious" building can be made illegal?

  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

    @Lea: "A voter wants a candidate whom they can trust to think like them."Why? I'm an atheist, and if I held the view that my representative had to think the way I do regarding supernatural matters, I basically couldn't vote. Even if someone believes something totally wacky, if that isn't expressed in their policies, I mostly don't care.Granted, there are limits. I have to admit that if I lived in the neighboring town, I would have voted against their Birther mayor this spring just because he was a Birther (and I'm glad to report that that was a factor in his loss). But your garden-variety difference of religious opinion? Honestly, why do people CARE?

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    @Lea,Well, you said it yourself, didn't you? In China, Christians (and Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong members, etc.) don't have freedom of speech; they can only preach the carefully censored messages that the authorities permit. They can be coercively silenced at any time, they can be arrested, beaten or imprisoned just for having private services in their own homes, they certainly can't preach their beliefs to the public, and I very much doubt they can serve as officials of the government. All those policies are brutal and tyrannical and I absolutely oppose all of them. As I said in my previous comment, I believe that people of all belief systems should have absolute freedom to preach and advocate their beliefs in public, regardless of who it offends or dismays. The only restrictions I'd defend are the minimal ones necessary for public order (i.e., laws against directly inciting violence). Also, if a religious believer is an employee of the government, they may not promote or advocate religion in their official capacity (i.e., by using the powers and privileges of their office). To put it another way, you can exert unlimited effort in convincing people to adopt your beliefs and voluntarily abide by whatever rules your religion prescribes for its members. What you can't do is use the power of the state to force or coerce people who aren't members of your religion into obeying those same rules.On the other hand, if the Catholic Church starts an adoption agency *as a Catholic ministry* – which Catholic charities is – under what logic does it make sense to prevent it from running this agency in accordance with Catholic principles?Religious ministries, while acting as voluntary private organizations, can set whatever rules they choose for whom they'll help. The dividing line is when you're taking state money or want to assume some portion of the state's authority in dealing with people who are not members of your religion.I'm no expert on adoption law, but there are such things as private adoptions, no? If a Catholic couple wants to put a baby up for adoption, they're free to only consider prospective parents who agree with their interpretation of Catholic teaching, regardless of how strict. But when children are in the state's care and Catholic Charities contracts with the state to place them with adoptive families – or if it accepts state money to fund its adoption work – then it has to abide by the same principles of fairness and equal access as the state itself. With governmental power comes governmental responsibility. :)

  • Anonymous

    I'd rather be told I'm going to a hell I don't believe in, than that I'm a bigoted moron any day of the week.

  • Patrick

    Lea wrote: "@Patrick: Is doing charitable work "acting as a secular institution?" Can't both secular AND religious institutions do charitable work, and do it differently?"Charitable work isn't the question. Adoption is. Adoption agencies take in children who are wards of the state. They have to follow the state's rules for the very obvious reason that these are NOT THEIR CHILDREN and they don't get to do with them whatever they want.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13116034158087704885 March Hare

    Patrick – no, too cheap, too easy. Makes a joke of a serious situation, must not mention it…Lea, if you think secular equals godless then you seriously need to discover what a secular country means. In Europe most countries are NOT secular (France excepted) and they happen to be apathetic about religion (immigrants excepted.) The importance of the difference between atheist and secular is infinitely more important in America – the country is (was, you guys f*cked it up!) beacon of light to a UK citizen who has bishops sitting in the House of Lords (an anti-democratic form of government in the first place!) and the head of a church as the head of state who is there for life and is replaced by their nepotistic (is that a word?) offspring.In summary, Lea, please look into what secular means, what it means for believers and non-believers and, as a final thought, think if you lived in a country where the majority didn't follow you brand of god (e.g. they were Muslim) what form of government would you most like to see?

  • http://www.noaa.gov Kogo

    *And, it's worth noting that there are studies that show that living with two parents of different sexes benefits children over other arrangements. There is no such data for children living in gay households. You may argue that that's merely due to lack of data. That may or may not be the case, but is it really so crazy to go with the thing that has been tested as opposed to the thing that hasn't? We seem perfectly comfortable with that approach in every other area of life…*Watching religious people deploying "scientific evidence" is like watching a 7-year-old play with the handgun he found under dad's bed.And anyway, there's ample evidence that kids in gay and lesbian households are fine. Not that you'll acknowledge it, being religious and all. Here: Rates of child abuse in lesbian households in particular are essentially 0%:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/10/lesbians-child-abuse-0-percent_n_781624.html

  • http://www.noaa.gov Kogo

    *On the other hand, if the Catholic Church starts an adoption agency *as a Catholic ministry* – which Catholic charities is – under what logic does it make sense to prevent it from running this agency in accordance with Catholic principles? How do we draw the line between a secular and a religious activity, without ending up like China where anything you do outside of your "religious" building can be made illegal? *Easy:1.) Accept no public money.2.) Never be in a position to decide the fate of non-Catholic children.

  • http://www.noaa.gov Kogo

    *Whereas it does explicitly condemn sodomy, both in the Old and the New Testament…*Why?Also, why should I care?

  • http://www.fleshbot.com Koto

    *The last thing I should want is to double their suffering by wishing that, in addition to being disfigured by their hatred to the point of wounding others, that they should also have my burden of feeling isolated and rejected.  Rejecting their cruelty and dying to their old self, if they ever manage to pull it off, would be painful, but that ache is meant to catalyze a rebirth and new freedom.  Self-recognition is punishment enough, I don't need to wish on them pain for the sake of pain.*Utterly unintelligible.

  • http://www.fleshbot.com Kogo

    *Utterly unintelligible.*Okay, re-reading slightly, I *guess* I understand you. But I still don't agree with anything you say. Specifically, I don't accept these two points:1.) "And don't forget, the odds are good that the people hurting me are acting out of ignorance or carelessness."No. That's a very comforting illusion given to us as children when we're bullied, "Most bullies are hurting inside." But either it isn't true or else it is true but it doesn't matter: Their hurt needs to stay THEIRS and not affect me. And when it does, well then I reserve the right to get angry.2.) "Self-recognition is punishment enough…"Again, that's a rather After School Special-ish way of thinking: That bullies eventually reach a moment of self-realization and that that realization hurts. But the Ask Abby letter you posted shows it right there: The fate of most bullies is simply to FORGET they ever did anything bad. And we're not talking about children here, anyway: We're talking about some of the richest, most powerful people on the surface of this planet (viz. American Christians, Israeli Jews, Saudi Muslims, etc.). None of these people seem like they're on the verge of a mental denouement (sic?), of realizing how horrible they are as people. They seem to go from strength to strength to strength, revelling and chuckling at their own awfulness and congratulating each other on their awfulness.I will NOT wait around humming "Come By Lord" for them to have a Dark Night of the Soul. I want to fight them. I want them to die.

  • Iota

    > I want them to die. I sort of assume that's a hyperbole?

  • http://www.noaa.gov Kogo

    *I sort of assume that's a hyperbole? *Let me put it this way: I want them to die. I don't want to kill them.

  • http://www.cookcountyplumber.com/ Danial Tizon

    Thanks for the aspects. Plumbing Sewer


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