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Recently in a post I made through Facebook about Voter ID laws in North Carolina, a rather puzzling exchange took place with a friend of mine.

Puzzling to me at least.

After Section 4 of the VRA was dismantled, North Carolina Republican Lawmakers took advantage of their new freedom from Department of Justice oversight, and put forth new voting laws. Already being angry at the GOP/Conservative SCOTUS Justices who overturned the section, I blasted off a link to a ThinkProgressive.com article on it. I don’t usually use them because of their angry and  purely anti-Conservative tone, but I was pissed and it was the first thing I saw on the subject. I ended the post by calling the lawmakers “Damn evil GOP bastards”. Which given what they were trying to do I thought was merited.

Evidently, I didn’t make it clear as to who I directed my insult towards. I didn’t understand why my friend (who lives in North Carolina) go so upset and took my insult personally. I wasn’t talking about her at all, but the actual people who submitted and voted for the legislation. I tried to argue the points of why these laws have nothing to do with fraud and everything to do with suppressing opposing voter turnout. My brilliant wife explained to me that my friend most likely thought I was referring to either Republicans in general or NC Republicans in particular.

My brilliant explanation didn’t work even though my facts are sound on the subject. When she thought she was being insulted, none of that mattered a bit. This led to a conversation with said brilliant wife, and some thinking on my part as a result.

I wanted to first and foremost apologize to any and all my friends that I have offended in the past over posts, especially on Facebook. If you are on my friends list and can see a post, then deep down inside I do not want to offend you. 

My goal is to make people think. I firmly believe that a combination of facts and inspiring words can change the ideas and hearts of people. This, IMHO, is how we progress society and see love and justice for all. It is why I post things that are not just personal updates and geekiness. At the core of my personality, I am an activist who needs people and ideas to fight for.

I often think this is what attracted me to “Professional Ministry” and the whole church leadership gig. That, however, is the subject of another post.

I firmly believe with all of my heart that any and everyone is entitled to their views and opinions on any subject under the sun. I may disagree with you, but you can hold any version of reality you see fit.

How does that play out with my activist core though? How can I respect other’s views and still fight for something I feel a moral imperative too?

It becomes a balancing act that I completely mess up at times. Unfortunately in my zeal to defend the ideas and people I hold dear, I can insult, belittle, and offend those who oppose them. Some of which I consider friends.

For this, once again, I sincerely apologize.

How do I try and minimize this? I think I need to put some boundaries around myself.

So here are my personal ground rules going forward:

  1. Any idea  or opinion is ok and fine to hold by anyone, and I will respect that. However, if those ideas and opinions negatively affect others, then I will fight against the implementation of them on a legalspiritual or social level. For example, you can think that homosexuality is evil all day, but I will resist any action that attempts to deny rights to the LGBT community. The individual people that hold those ideas are off limits though, only those that are trying to actively oppress others.
  2. Ideas are the real issue, not necessarily the people who hold them (unless you are in position of power to force those ideas on others). I will endeavour to address the core idea, theory, or reason behind actions that harm or oppress others, and try and respect those hold them with good intentions. Women are 100% equal with men in all areas of the social, political, spiritual, familiar, and economic realms…or  they NEED be. The issue isn’t that individual men are sexist and certain women embrace oppression, it is the reason WHY they act this way. What is the underlying theory, idea, or belief that leads to these actions? That is what is important, and needs to change. In dismantling the idea, we can build a better future for all people.
  3. I will try and temper my language and take a deep breath before hitting the post button. So as not to offend my friends who do not like certain linguistic “color metaphors”, to quote Spock, I will try not use them.

There we go. I will try to take my own admonitions to my kids, and remember that it is better to be kind than right. If I violate them, then call me out on it please.

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