I would consider myself to be pretty accepting of people, respecting them for who they are and what they believe, and in return asking for the same respect.
My brother-in-law Clin reposted a blog entry entitled "Let's Stop Worrying About Being The Same" by Josh Bingham, and it was exactly what has been on my mind. It talks about how the author isn't ashamed of what he thinks and believes, even if it may be different from others viewpoints, but because we don't want to offend others we just keep quiet. In my case, rather than have people try to berate me into believing what they do, I just don't mention it. I'm not into confrontation. I enjoy having an educated conversation and learning about viewpoints different than my own, but cannot stand having someone who will not listen back or accept their may be an opinion besides their own.
Josh goes on to state this:
Obviously things like politics exacerbate that feeling of different-ness. With social media, our whole lives are on display to be judged and poked over. When I was in college I didn't necessarily know the political leanings of my friends unless we actually had a conversation about it. Now I can just check out some one's profile and infer a lot of things about their life based on which things they've liked. And it is easier and easier to surround yourself by people who think the exact same way that you do and assume that everyone else is clueless, or uninformed, or obtuse.This is my thought exactly. It seems lately, anytime someone has a differing opinion, the first conclusion drawn is the person must be some sort of bigot, idiot, or religious extremist. Just listen to a minute of political commentators like Bill Maher or Rush Limbaugh, they are always calling someone an idiot because they don't agree with what they have to say.
So Josh quotes a great excerpt on this topic that was just addressed in my church's biannual conference. Elder Uchtdorf says:
But while the Atonement is meant to help us all become more like Christ, it is not meant to make us all the same. Sometimes we confuse differences in personality with sin. We can even make the mistake of thinking that because someone is different from us, it must mean they are not pleasing to God. This line of thinking leads some to believe that the Church wants to create every member from a single mold—that each one should look, feel, think, and behave like every other. This would contradict the genius of God, who created every man different from his brother, every son different from his father. Even identical twins are not identical in their personalities and spiritual identities.
It also contradicts the intent and purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ, which acknowledges and protects the moral agency—with all its far-reaching consequences—of each and every one of God’s children. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are united in our testimony of the restored gospel and our commitment to keep God’s commandments. But we are diverse in our cultural, social, and political preferences.
Finally the answer to many of my prayers lately to try and understand the chaos around me. In this quote, I have comfort.
I agree that it is okay to be yourself. That it is paramountly important to be yourself. And believe what you want to believe. And make your own decision about how you want to live your life. The atonement is for everyone, not just people who think exactly what you do. Even though Josh has opposite view points from me on some topics, we agree on this fundamental point and that is love. It is okay to agree to disagree. Ultimately we still need to love each other. There is enough hate and ugliness in this world without people adding to it. We need more love and compassion, and less of the craziness and violence.
But I do feel the need to clarify some things. I feel like I need to set the record straight and voice my opinion, and not as a comment on someone's Facebook status where it is bound to get 100 ugly retorts back. I am having a baby and I don't need to invite all that drama and negativity into my life!
To touch on a couple hot topic issues of the day, I believe that I have the right to own a gun. I don't even want one, but I don't feel like taking away people's rights makes anyone safer. Reform some of the weak points, but I believe in the Constitution. Just because a document is old, doesn't make it irrelevant. If it did, people wouldn't read through classic literature or like movies from different decades.
I think abortion is wrong. And we are getting into a lot of trouble trying to rationalize away our morality as a society. Since when is aborting (terminating) a life different from murder? Anyone can read through a thesaurus and let you know there are tons of words that mean the same thing. As a rule of thumb, if it has a beating heart, it's a living thing and I think people need to think more seriously about what they are doing. I understand there are extenuating circumstances, but with the amount of precautions and preventative measures we now have, I don't see how anyone who just can't be responsible should be able to end an innocent life. If you are mature enough to be having sex, you should be mature enough to be accountable for your actions.
I think way too many people think they are entitled to things they are not. I don't believe I should have to pay my hard earned money to pay for birth control pills for someone else or to pay for all these other things we are legislating in for people lately. Maybe if I didn't have to deal with people who make terrible decisions on a daily basis and then expect people to clean up their messes I'd have a little more sympathy, but since when should people be able to buy nicer things than me, but then say they don't have money to pay for health insurance or a place to live? As a responsible adult, I go without some things I want because I feel it is wrong to make someone else pay my way, and I don't expect people to give me hand outs. Once again, I know some people really do need help and I don't have a problem with that. This pretty much sums up how I feel about this topic.
I hope everyone who reads this with a differing opinion from mine will not be offended and will listen at least to the first part of what I said. You be you, and I'll be me. And we can love each other, even though we may be different. Or even if we think the same. It's okay if you think something else, I respect that and I think its part of what makes life interesting. How boring would it be if we all thought the same things?
And thank you for a letting a pregnant lady get some weight off of her chest. I've got enough in my belly right now, I can't afford to be carrying anything extra.