Have We Forgotten How To Be Human?

How many times in the last month have you said “I just don’t know what is wrong with people today”?  Or, “What is this world coming to?”  If you are like me, you say that on a daily basis, perhaps every time you pick up a newspaper, turn on the television, or log onto the internet.  I sometimes think I need a 3-day hiatus from the outside world … no internet, no television/radio, no forays outside the home, just peace.  But alas, SIGH, I am a news junkie and unless forced by either death or an electrical outage, I am not likely to allow myself that break.

So, what is the world coming to and what is wrong with people?  The answer to both questions is the same, in my humble opinion:  a lack of humanity.  Humanity: compassion, brotherly love, fraternity, fellow feeling, philanthropy, humaneness, kindness, consideration, understanding, sympathy, tolerance; leniency, mercy, mercifulness, clemency, empathy, compassion, tenderness; benevolence, charity, goodness, magnanimity, love, generosity.  Now turn on your television … any program, any channel … and tell me how many of the above-named traits you can find in a 10-minute period.  I am betting your answer will be zero.

When we allow ourselves to believe that we are somehow ‘better’, or more deserving than other people, whether on the basis of race, skin colour, religious beliefs, or culture, we take a step away from the concept of humanity.  It is human nature to live in our own small world, to put our own needs and desires first, and I cannot argue with human nature, as it is no different today than it was 1,000 years ago.  But for a time it seemed that we were on the path to becoming a kinder, more gentle society; a society that was trying to overcome prejudices and see others as different, but not inferior.  But today that trend is reversing.  Today we are regressing back to a society that views all who do not look, act, speak, and think like us as being somehow inferior.  And that is just wrong.  It is a reversal of the lessons learned during the migration from Europe to the New World seeking freedom of religion.  It is a reversal of the lessons learned from the devastation of an entire group of people in the Holocaust. It is a reversal of the lessons learned during the Civil Rights era.  It is a reversal of the hope we once had that human beings might yet be able to learn to live together on this earth in peace and harmony.

Two hundred years ago, people lived in very sheltered, close-knit communities where they might pass a lifetime without ever straying more than 20 or 30 miles from their homes.  Children grew up and took care of their aging parents, neighbors pitched in to help neighbors in times of trouble.  But the globe became smaller, just as our individual worlds expanded, with the advent of communication tools such as telephone, television, and most recently the internet.  And our horizons broadened as access to travel thousands of miles via airplane was made readily available.  This should have been a good thing, should have opened a whole new world of experiences, of learning about other lands, people and cultures to us.  Today, I am not so sure. Perhaps, instead of taking the best of each other’s societies, we have taken only the worst.  Perhaps instead of learning to love more, we have learned to hate more.

Politicians, world leaders, and religious leaders alike, have failed miserably in their jobs to help bring peace among nations.  They scream, they threaten, they bully, and the people eventually follow suit.  Violence is the norm, where it should be the exception.  We believe we have a right to kill another human being, we believe we have a right to deny the basic necessities of food, shelter and medical care to others who are less fortunate than we are.  We believe that we have no responsibility to our fellow mankind.  And therein lies the problem.  We all have a responsibility to others.  But we, as a society, have listened to those who screamed that we must protect ourselves at all costs, even at the cost of another human life.  They would argue that abortion is wrong, yet that it is okay to murder a person because their religion or ideology is different than ours.  They rant that the wealthiest in the land have no responsibility to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.  We have been told, in essence, that it is “all about us”, and we believed.

If there is any remaining hope for humanity, it lies with our children.  Children do not see others as black or white, as Muslim or Christian, as Syrian, Mexican, or American … they simply see them as potential friends, playmates.  If only we can stop ourselves from poisoning their young minds with our own prejudices, there may yet be hope for humankind.  I wonder how many of those words that I used to define ‘humanity’ any of us can honestly say apply to our lives today.  Can we do better?  Yes.  Will we?  I do not know.

Women Should Not Be Allowed To Vote??? Says WHO???

Something was brought to my attention today and at first glance I blew it off with a “yeah, right, as if anybody is that stupid in the 21st century in the U.S..  But it apparently took up residence somewhere in the back of my mind, and I finally decided to “give it a google”.  WHOA!  Apparently there are a few people that stupid in this, the 21st century!

One such person is a so-called “pastor”, Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, who believes that “women should be banned from voting and confined to their home”.  Mad yet?  Just wait.  I am woman … hear me ROAR … ! Anderson (I refuse to dignify him by referring to him as “pastor” Anderson) follows with this:

“You know what they mean [by women’s rights]? The right to divorce your husband is what they mean. You know what they mean? The right to rebel and disobey your husband, the right to divorce him, the right to go out and get a job and make your own money, the right to tell him what to do, the right to go vote for our leaders as if women should have any say in how our country is run when the Bible says that ‘I suffer not a woman to teach, not to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence’?”

He once went on a rant about how women shouldn’t be allowed to read, talk, or leave the house without permission from a man. He has even demanded that women keep their mouths shut in church.  (Filosofa says:  Hello … knock, knock, knock … anybody home in there?  Welcome to the 21st century and you have just royally pissed me off, so watch your step, BUCKO!!!)

Deep breaths now … 1 … 2 … 3 …

In 2009, Anderson gave a sermon titled “Why I hate Barack Obama”, in which he said he “had been praying for the death of the president.”  Not surprisingly, he was contacted by the Secret Service.  In an interview with CBS News he said he would like Obama to die of natural causes, as he does not “want him to be a martyr” and “we don’t need another holiday.” (presumably in reference to Martin Luther King Day)   In an interview with another reporter, he said he “would not judge or condemn” anyone who killed the president.

His message of hate is not confined to women and President Obama.  This may surprise you, but he also hates gay people.  According to USA Today (12/04/2014), Anderson declares that no “queers” or “homos” are allowed in the church, and never will be as long as he’s pastor. He goes on to say killing gays is the way to an AIDS-free world by Christmas.  In one sermon, he stated: “All homos are pedophiles. There, I said it, they’re all pedophiles.”  His message is that killing gays is a divinely sanctioned way to rid the world of AIDS. “Because if you executed the homos, like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant,” Anderson said.

Coexist

And the kicker … Steven Anderson brands all the still-living Holocaust survivors as “paid liars” who are simply lying when they talk about their experiences in Hitler’s death camps. He claims to “know” that Hitler’s Holocaust didn’t really happen, and that the current residents of Israel are not really Jews but a “Satanic counterfeit” placed there by the Rothschild’s family of Europe.  (Where in the heck did this guy lose his marbles, or … what rock did he slither out from under???)

Many adjectives come to mind regarding this man.  In the interest of professionalism, I will use none of them.  I do not claim to be of the Christian faith, nor to understand it in full, but many of my friends are Christians and I have been given to believe that they are a peace-loving people, people who believe in love, not hate … tolerance, not persecution.  I have written before about the Westboro group, and the evil that they perpetuate, but this Anderson character is the very definition of evil, even worse than the Westboro clan.  What is truly frightening is not that one man (idiot?) believes this rhetoric, but that he has followers!  If you look him up on Google, you will find 17.5 million hits!  I do not know how many gullible souls have succumbed to his rhetoric and are a part of his cult, as that data is not readily available. I have left messages on the church’s website asking for membership data, but have received no reply as yet.  On the website, you will find that his hate-mongering sermons have been translated into 115 languages.  He claims that, while he holds no college degree, he has memorized over 140 bible chapters “word for word”.  Apparently none of those chapters were the ones that talk about peace, love and tolerance.

A New York Times article from May, 2015 claims that “seventy-one percent of American adults were Christian in 2014, the lowest estimate from any sizable survey to date, and a decline of 5 million adults and 8 percentage points since a similar Pew survey in 2007.”  With churches like Faithful Word and Westboro, is it really any wonder?  Think about it.

Merry Christmas!

I have been biting my tongue, or trying to, for weeks now and I find I cannot do so any longer. I must speak to a topic that I find important. In this, the season of JOY, of LOVE, of PEACE ON EARTH, to name a few, there certainly does seem to be a lot of hate going around. There is the usual hatred directed toward any number of politicians, which is fairly normal year-round, but this year seems worse than most. There is hatred toward certain political agendas and policies – the first one that comes to mind, of course, being the Affordable Care Act, followed by NSA security measures and trailed closely by a number of others. On the other side, there is hatred toward those who hate the above-named people and things. And then there is this inane controversy over the interview given by the man I refer to as “Papa Duck”, the man who gave an interview in which he put down the entire LGBT community. The purpose of this blog posting is NOT to promote my own opinions, so I don’t intend to give my opinions here … those of you who know me, know my opinions, and the rest of you probably don’t care. My higher purpose here is to admonish everyone who, in putting forth their own opinion, is being rude to others. Yes, I have been guilty of engaging in some of these conversations, however I hope never to the point of abusing another individual and NEVER to the point of putting down an entire group of people. It is Christmas … there is a lot to do besides posting hate-filled rhetoric on blogs and social media sites! Go bake some cookies, wrap some presents, decorate your home, drive around and look at the pretty lights, invite some friends over, go fight the crowds at the mall, light some candles and have a glass of wine while remembering the many things you have to be thankful for, volunteer a few hours in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Do something that has more to do with LOVE and less to do with hate!

In our ethnically diffused society, Christmas has become a holiday for all to enjoy. Since Christianity is embraced by only about 28% of the world-wide population, I think it is a wonderful thing to see Christmas being shared by anyone who wishes, regardless of religious belief. Many Jews, Muslims and atheists are known to celebrate Christmas more as a secular holiday. It is a time, I think, for sharing love, for expressing hope for a brighter future, for sharing and for giving comfort to those less fortunate. For Christians, certainly it is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. However you view it, it is NOT a time for spewing hatred. It is NOT a time for judging people based on criteria such as race, gender-orientation, culture, or any other superficial criteria.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish a MERRY CHRISTMAS to ALL of my friends, Christian as well as non-Christian, and to ask that those of you who are angry about something find positive things to do to bring the joy back into the holiday, into your heart.