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Accepting Reality

2008 November 6
by Julie Clawson

Elections can often bring out the worst in people. I’m already sick of the Obama/Hitler rise to power comparisons (come on, can’t you at least be creative) and the litany of Gospel additions we have suffered through (i.e. to be a Christian you must vote this way…). Hopefully that will all subside soon, but what sticks around after these cycles are the undercurrents of prejudice. After the intensity of candidates and propositions is over, people stop fighting and succumb to the “pissed they exist mentality.”

Try as some might to make certain sorts of people illegal, what most people seem to want is hide the very existence of the other. I’m not talking about wishing child molesters or rapists didn’t exist (and working to make it so), but the mentality that gets upset that they (or especially their children) must breathe the same air as say a LGBT person, or a Muslim, or an Atheist, or a Christian. These are the people who would rather ban all extracurricular activities in a school than allow a group of THEM to gather together. Or the parents who launch campaigns against libraries to remove books that talk about someone having two mommies from the shelves. Or the Atheists who freak out if a Christian social worker is profiled in a “secular” magazine. I understand engaging in disagreement, but am appalled at this desire to pretend reality just doesn’t exist.

I’ve seen this pattern occur all too often within the Christian world especially. A few years ago I was working on a screening committee for a magazine to decide which submitted articles to publish. One very well written article told the story of a girl’s date rape and subsequent silencing at a Christian college. While the committee thought it was a good article, it wasn’t published because “our readers don’t want to hear about stuff like that.” Or the public safety officer at Wheaton College who had been told not to look for drugs on campus because it was better to pretend they don’t exist than taint the college’s reputation. Then there are the bans on religious symbols (headscarves, jewelry) in schools and workplaces. And the numerous people I encounter who just don’t want to hear about justice issues because it might upset them too much.

Reality check please. Pretending that reality doesn’t exist just because you don’t want it too is unhealthy. Perhaps it’s time to engage a slightly less unbalanced tactic in how you deal with the world.



2 Responses leave one →
  1. November 6, 2008

    As one who believes God intented for man to be with woman, I woke up this morning surprised. Surprised how sad I was that Proposition 8 passed in the state of California. Angry that this question was even on the ballot. And embarrassed that many proponents of this initiative did so in the name of Christ.

  2. November 13, 2008

    “reality check please” indeed. this past election season/avalanche just made so many individual and cultural fears rise up and knock things over – the kinds of things you point out in this post.
    and so now we know what jesus wants to tackle.


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