I'd say something like, "What is this world coming to," or, "What is this country coming to," but these things have been happening for...ever. I'd hope that with all the growth of technology, awareness and rights, there would be greater growth in tolerance and less stories of this ilk.
The first is the story of the Rhode Island teenage, Jessica Ahlquist. This has been going on for a while, since 2010.
Remember Rhode Island? Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is an American state, founded in 1636. The state was the first to declare independence from England. Its founder, Roger Williams, was a theologian who sought to escape religious persecution and establish a tolerant community.
Jessica is an atheist and a student at Cranston High School in Rhode Island. She requested that a Christian prayer banner be removed from her school. That request prompted an uproar. A judge agreed with her, infuriating more people. Florists refuse to deliver flowers to her house, and there are death threats. "Opposing Views" has samples of people's reaction to Jessica's request and the threats against her. They say things like, "...she's hiding behind the bill of rights. Christians have rights to express their beliefs, too."
Sure. She doesn't argue that they don't, but if you have a Christian prayer banner in the gym, where is representation of other philosophies and religions? She asked the banner be removed not because Christians don't have a right to self-expression but the public banner, endorsed by the school, is not inclusive. Another person on "Opposing Views" asks the obvious, if that banner hanging in the school was a Muslim prayer banner, how would the Christians feel about religious expression? Shall we ask the people that planned the mosque in New York city about that?
As for the death threats? Well, what did she expect, some comments say, while others said, come on, are death threats Christian responses? As for the florists, the business owners said that they didn't like Jessica's positions, so they refused to accept the orders and make the deliveries. It's their business, it's their right.
Ironic, isn't it? What would Roger think?
Over in the San Fransisco Bay Area, Ryan Williams is this week's goat. He muffed a point once during their last football game, and fumbled the football in another incident. Fumbles are never good but he did it in the NFC Championship. Both events led to scores, but the second fumble was in overtime, and lead to the NY Giants' winning score and ended the game, and the 49ers season. Bad stuff, if you're a football team and a football fan, and Mr Williams, a pro football player, is naturally, um, upset. But people are calling him with death threats.
Really? Death threats? Over a football game? Where is the sense of civility and perspective? They're being buried in the name of passion and emotion. That is the human way. We humans, as Captain Kirk or his companion, Bones McCoy, would tell the Vulcan, Mister Spock in Star Trek, have emotions. They color our responses.
Okay, does that include the person or people who killed and mutilated a cat, marking its dead body with, "liberal"? The right side of its head was bashed in. An eyeball hung out.
Yes, we may be emotional humans, but sometimes the things we do are a downright shame.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com