The tragedy in Orlando is giving millions of people around the world reason to pause and do some deep reflecting on life. Really, its caused many of us to reflect on the life we humans have created — the type of existence that we’ve forged for ourselves.
I’ve been reading comments on social media and news sites and for lack of a better word, I’m flabbergasted at the level of discourse I see in our world. It dawned on me that here in the U.S., we’ve been debating the same six issues for years and years. I’ve been watching re-runs of a show called “All in the Family” and I noticed that the same hot button issues that we’re talking about today, were the very same ones the show tackled some 45 years ago (and I’m certain we were talking about them long before that). Have we not grown and evolved in all these years? Sure, we’ve made some progress, but that we’re still tearing ourselves up over these same six issues in 2016, is astounding.
I’m a big believer in the idea that in order to have true and lasting positivity, we sometimes have to clear the air, re-group our thoughts and reassert our internal harmony. I’m going to use my blog post as an opportunity to do just that and ask that you bear in mind that these are just my humble opinions.
In no particular order, below are the six “issues” which I believe have literally paralyzed America and turned us into an “us vs. them” divided nation:
- Sexual orientation/gay rights
I’ve seen Archie Bunker sound off on these issues, so we know that they must have been on the national radar starting in at least 1971. I’d like to share my personal opinions on these on-going issues:
As a Christian, I’m opposed to abortion. However, I don’t judge anyone, nor do I feel I have the right to force my views on another human being. We all have free will. It’s not my place to tell a woman if she can or cannot have an abortion. I know some people say “but it’s a sin!” My belief is that I am in no position to speak for God or judge on his behalf. Just because your neighbor has an abortion doesn’t mean God is going to punish the whole town, or even the woman who had the abortion. It is not up to us to judge. Again, as a Christian, I approach this issue from my own beliefs, so I quote:
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-5)
In other words, even if you believe abortion is wrong or a sin, not everyone shares your beliefs. One can be against something for themselves, but that doesn’t give them the right to expect or force other people to agree with them.
I believe as Americans, we do have the right to bear arms. But, why does any citizen feel the need to have an automatic assault weapon? If one feels they need to be armed to the teeth with military-grade assault weapons in order to protect their family, it’s time to move. Some people claim that they fear the government will turn on the people and they need to be prepared — my feeling is that if the government ever does turn on us, they have tanks, armored assault vehicles, fighter jets and Black Hawk helicopters, so not even owning 100 AR-15 Assault weapons is going to stop them. These conspiracies that the government is about to turn on the people are fear tactics being stirred up on the internet and they’re succeeding in dividing America even further (but perhaps that is their intention?). I reject the notion that we have the right or need to be armed with automatic assault rifles. What we need are stronger background checks and the expectation that we can “bear arms,” but within reason.
My parents are immigrants. They followed the law and came here legally. As the child of immigrants, I welcome all to our shores. However, I firmly believe that those who wish to come here, need to do so within our laws. This notion that people can just show up and expect to live here is misguided. The very countries that demand we let their citizens have some of the most draconian anti-illegal immigration policies themselves, which is quite hypocritical. America is a nation of immigrants and I believe we should embrace and celebrate immigrants and diversity, but it should be based on a clear, easy to follow immigration policy — which the U.S. doesn’t seem to have at this time.
I’m a Christian. My friend is not. The guy across the street is Jewish and the lady next to him is an atheist. So? I’m confident in my faith — I’m happy with my Christian beliefs and as such, I fear no other religion and feel no need to condemn people who believe differently than I do. We have freedom o f religion in America and that is a guarantee of our Constitution. Anyone who kills in the name of their religion is wrong and to do so is pure evil. Extremism by any religion is intolerable. We’re all flesh and blood humans and at the end of the day, we have much more in common than not — it’s long past the time for accepting this fact.
I can’t fathom that we’re still so divided over race. Who cares what color or tone someone’s skin is? Are we ever going to get past racism? Well, not unless every person admits that there is some form of racism in their minds — that means Black, people, Whites, Asian people and Hispanic people, are all going to have to admit that racism exists within their midst. I believe we are all God’s children and just because we don’t all look the same, doesn’t mean we’re not brother’s and sister’s. I quote the Bible again with:
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Outdo yourselves in honoring one another.” Romans 12:10
Sexual orientation/gay rights.
Why would anyone care whom one has private relations with? How is a person being gay of any concern to anyone else? It’s not. Those who rage against same-sex couples almost always infuse religion into it: “It’s wrong!” “It’s an abomination!” Really, who says? Does God need you to speak for him? No. Are you afraid that God will wipe out your whole town or country because of gay people? Hardly. Do you honestly believes God loves gay people any less than heterosexual people? Of course not. When one speaks for God and does so out of a place of hatred, one most assuredly takes a very big step away from God and those who have hate in their heart would do well to remember that. Live your life and don’t judge others. I quote the Bible:
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” 1 John 3:15-16
I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog post. You may be wondering what this has to do with the terrorist attack in Orlando. Well, as incredible as it is, I have literally seen all six of these “issues” dragged into the Orlando tragedy — people have managed to intertwine abortion, guns, immigration, religion, race and sexual orientation into the national debate. That alone proves our national fixation on these divisive issues.
One of the reasons I’m frustrated that we’re still allowing these six issues to polarize us, is because as I write this, children around the world are dying from hunger, animals are being abused and our planet is being polluted into oblivion. Yet, we remain obsessed with the same debates.
I firmly believe that love is stronger than hate and I always remain hopeful and optimistic that things will get better — “venting” now and then is healthy. If you need to vent, consider starting a journal to express your frustrations. Even if you’re the only one who reads your journal, the act of writing your thoughts is very cathartic!