Nice picture, isn't it? Such a nice group of people advocating for peace and justice and...tolerance. And heaven forbid you might disagree with them!
Don't worry. This isn't an article about gay marriage or marriage equality or whatever it's called these days. I ain't touching that one. Rather, this is about something I'm going to call "cultural bullying," or "political correctness gone amok, high on steroids, frothing at the mouth and looking for a fight.
There's something in the air these days, and it starting to make me more than a little nervous. Maybe it's just the "me generation" or living in an age where people have become self-centered spoiled brats who demand instant gratification or else. So now we have gay couples suing bakeries and florists for declining to work for them. Regardless of ones stance on gay marriage, this kind of immature behavior is not only obnoxious and unprofessional, but it's evil. This is more than just the petulant three year old wanting THAT teddy bear on the store shelf and only THAT teddy bear. The kid throws a tantrum and then the parents take him or her home, give a time out and that's it. The kid quickly realizes that there are many other toys in the chest, and soon, the little tyke is happy as a lark, satisfied with an alternative.
Sometimes, I think that a three year old has more maturity than these couples suing businesses because they don't want to play with them. One would hope that as children, they were taught that if Susie doesn't want to be your friend, then you should be friends with someone else. Why bully Susie to like you and play with you when she's not interested, or even because she doesn't like you? Why does she have to like you? Why should she have to play with you if she doesn't want to? Doesn't she have the right to play with whomever she pleases?
It used to be that if you didn't get your way, you'd pick up your toys and go home, satisfied to find another friend. But not these days. It's my way or I'll sue you. It's my way or you're a hater. It's my way or you risk your freedom. What country are we in these days? Are there no gay-friendly businesses who would be more than willing to offer their services to couples, and at a tidy profit? Wouldn't it be better to hire a gay-friendly baker or photographer who can then grow their business by expanding their services to other gay couples, rather than trying to ruin the livelihood of the one photographer or florist or baker who has religious (and Constitutionally protected) objections to participating in such a union? Can't we all just get along?
But it's not just sue-happy gay couples who are busy bullying moral conservatives because they can't get their way right now. Atheists have been at it for years, routinely taking people to court for everything from Christmas trees to a school monument, and then turn around and claim oppression.
But here's what gets me. People are so quick to bend over backwards to cave in, rather than to say to these groups and individuals, "GROW UP! GET OVER YOURSELF!" It's their way or no one can have fun. It's how they want it or no one gets to play at all. It's the epitome of selfishness and brattiness and self-absorption, to be so callously unmindful of the sensibilities of others simply because you are "offended." I wonder where people's strength is that they allow themselves to be steamrolled by these groups, who have only their own self-interest at heart and no one else's.
It's that word, "hater," that gets people. It's like a form of arm-twisting or "crying Uncle," just to get the bully off your back. I'll do what you want so you stop beating me down, not unlike a domestic violence situation. I don't mean to diminish victims of domestic abuse, so don't get me wrong. At the same time, I can't say that this form of cultural bullying is benign, because it's not. Moral conservatives might not be cowering in closets, but at the same time, they feel far less free to speak as they wish or act as they wish, because they constantly have to look over their shoulder for the next activist group saying "I'm OFFENDED" and hauling their asses into court.
I don't believe that the acceptance of gay marriage is leading us into dark times, but I do think the the resulting feeling of empowerment is a serious threat to individual liberty. Bakers and florists are not preventing gay couples from marrying, so they are not interfering with anyone's desire to determine their own future. But that has to go both ways. As we saw in the Hobby Lobby case, individuals and businesses have be able to act on their moral and religious beliefs. This is no excuse for racial bigotry or violence or anything like that, but then again, none of these people is advocating any violence against gay couples or Muslim families or atheists pre-teens. They just want to be left alone to practice their faith in peace and quiet, and that's it.
Think of the bookish, church-going kid who gets roughed up at school every day--all he wants is to get through the day, go to class, read his books and get home safely. He doesn't want a fight and he doesn't want a confrontation. He just wants to be left alone. Most moral conservatives are just the same, yet when activist groups throw that word around, "hater," the atmosphere becomes toxic, and soon, the moral conservative is marginalized, perhaps even questioning whether he or she really is a hater. That's the nasty mind-game of this kind of bullying, once again not different from domestic abuse. A beaten down wife is led to believe that it's her fault, that she's the bad person and that she doesn't deserve to be treated well. Many moral conservatives face similar intimidation, perhaps not with a fist to the face, but with the strong arm of the law getting into their private business.
I don't know what the future is, but my prayer is that moral conservatives, business owners, and others will learn to stand strong, to resist the immature name-calling, and to fight against cultural bullying so that everyone, gay or straight, atheist or religious, will be able to have their way and to have a mutual respect for the rights and sensibilities of others.
witty; cunning; crafty
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