The New Bullying

There’s been a lot of emphasis in our society about trying to put an end to bullying. We’ve made it socially unacceptable, we’ve imposed embarrassing punishments on people who bully in an attempt to have a kinder and more decent society.  I am in favor of this.  A large part of my ethics are based on the kind treatment of other people.

The definition of bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual.

Everyone seems to have gotten on board with the anti-bullying campaigns. I don’t like to see anybody bullied and I am just the type person to speak out against it when I see someone doing it. The down side of the issue is that we only speak against socially unacceptable bullying.  I have the feeling that all the anti-bullying campaigns are little more then an opportunity to say that we don’t bully.  In my opinion it’s a lot of crap.
We kid ourselves if we don’t think bullying is going on every day and we are not active participants in it.  If someone smokes, its open season on bullying them, because our society has decided they don’t like smoking.  There is almost no where a person is allowed to smoke anymore, indoors or out.  Smokers rights seem to have been put aside, and they are treated like lepers if they smoke.
It is also socially acceptable to make fun of fat people and make disparaging remarks about them being gluttons or lazy because they are overweight.  Some airlines will charge overweight people for two seats and publicly embarrass them in the process.  We convince ourselves we are doing it for their own good, but all it does is hurt them.  Its open season on them, and its a hateful thing to do.

Apparently we only call it bullying if someone’s attacking one of our protected causes. If I don’t support transgender bathrooms, I’ve been told that holding a different view somehow makes me a bigot and I hate monger. No way.  I am not filled with hate for anybody just because I disagree about something. I am not a bigot because I don’t I think it’s right for men to be using the ladies room.

 

When it is not possible for someone to hold  a viewpoint other than yours without being called a bigot or a hate monger, or someone with a phobia, then you are bullying them to accept your views. Sorry folks but I believe the genitalia determines which restroom you use. Its common sense and society has functioned well with that view for countless generations.  That doesn’t make me a homophobe, it doesn’t make me a bigot, and it doesn’t make me uncaring. Sensitivity to the transgendered results in insensitivity to the many women who would be uncomfortable with their presence in ladies rooms. Holding that view does not make me a bigot, It means I don’t agree with you, a right I choose to exercise, and I’m not going to be bullied into acquiescing to someone else’s BS’ing.

 

It’s not just the transgender issue. The boycott Israel movement has been trying to paint Israel as an apartheid state. The facts show otherwise, but Arab students on college campuses have been bullying Jewish students and anybody who is pro-Israel. It is the new anti-semitism, and its somehow acceptable to be so.  Holding this view doesn’t make me anti Muslim.  It means I don’t agree with you.  I don’t eat bacon, but I don’t go around trying to make pork eaters feel bad.  Its called mutual respect.
If I don’t support “abortion rights,” I’m labeled as anti women.  Why can’t I hold a view different from yours and honestly disagree without being labeled as something terrible?

It’s time to realize that bullying goes two ways. I’m tired of people trying to bully me because I don’t agree with them. I don’t want to be hit with a barrage of accusations and labeled being a “hater” because I disagree.  If you can’t deal with the fact that people have an opinion other than yours and that it’s legitimate to do so, then you’re the one with the problem. You need to learn to respect people who disagree with you.  Get yourself some counseling, learn to cope, or do what people have been doing for time immemorial. Get over it. It is maturity to show respect for people in the midst of strongly held differing opinions.  If you can’t do that, then emotionally, you are still in the seventh grade.

Finding Yeshua

searching-300x225It’s been forty years since I became a follower of Yeshua.  I did not become His follower because of someone’s brilliant argument, or because of the literature people gave me to read, or because of the many prophecies people showed me in the Bible.  When people showed me their literature, or gave me their arguments, I simply shrugged it off and said, “so what?”

What made the difference for me was seeing Yeshua in the lives of my friends.  I encountered Him as he lived His life in the lives of His people. When I saw him through their actions, and their kindness, it made me want to know Him.  Introducing people to Yeshua is not about making the best intellectual argument, or presenting irrefutable proof, because arguments and proofs are only as good as they are until the next argument comes along.  People who accept Yeshua based on argument tend to treat Him as a philosophical concept, rather than as a living person.

An argument can be compelling, but not nearly as compelling as Yeshua Himself.  When I encountered Him, I wanted to know Him.  I wanted Him in my life.  I wanted people to see Yeshua when they see me.

I have met many people who are theological hacks.  They want to be the mouth of God, preaching to people, telling them what they should and shouldn’t do.  I think we have too many of those people around.  We need more people who show the love of God through their actions more than just their words.  They need to become the hands of God, showing kindness to a hurting world, not by flapping their jaws in an already too noisy world.

When I meet people, I observe their behavior; not just how they carry themselves ritually or religiously, but their interactions with others.  I long to see Yeshua in other people.  I find it difficult to see Yeshua in people who talk about God, but treat people like crap for the sake of “truth,” or right theology.  There is no excuse for bad behavior.

It’s true that everyone can have a bad day, or even a bad season, but even so, at some point, I should be able to see kindness in people.  When people are harsh, and judgmental for the sake of heaven, they are not representing Heaven.  Yeshua was kind and caring, not just to the people who agreed with him, but to people who were hurting and in need.  I find myself searching desperately in people who present themselves as Yeshua’s people for His presence, but sometimes all I see is their anger and opinions, and not His love.

When I consider hate groups, like the “Westboro Baptist Church,” that literally hate people in “Jesus’ Name,” I can’t help but think what a profanity they are.  There is nothing of Yeshua in them.  They spread hate while claiming to represent the truth.  This gross misrepresentation of God, or at least, God’s interests, is nothing new.  Throughout history, people have hidden behind religion as an excuse to make war and murder others in the Name of Yeshua.  The long dark history of so-called, “Christian” anti-Semitism is evidence of this.  It did not reflect the love of God, or the will of God.  You can’t kill people or hate people for the Love of God.  Its like having intercourse to protect virginity.

I want people to see Yeshua in me, just as I first encountered Him in others, and still do.   That will only happen as I treat people as He would treat them; with kindness, grace, and mercy.  When he looked at people, he had compassion on them.  The only ones he got angry with, were the people with religious axes to grind.  It is my hope to be a bearer of His kindness and mercy, that people may encounter Yeshua in me, that they might be blessed.

If It Walks Like A Duck…

I have read several articles this week about the Catholic Church’s stance on the Jewish people. On one hand, the Pope declared the Jewish people are not responsible for the death of Jesus. This is a good affirmation that is a reiteration of the Vatican II statement, going back to the 1960s. It basically absolves the Jewish people, and neutralizes the accusation against the Jews that was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews for over 1500 years. While the statement is nothing new, I’m happy that the present pope continues to affirm this important stance.

On the other hand, in a recent article in the Jerusalem Post, the author wrote,

“The January edition of La Civiltà Cattolica – the most authoritative magazine of the Jesuits, printed under the supervision of the Vatican – opens with an editorial about Palestinian refugees. Adopting the Arab propagandist word Nakba, it declares they are a consequence of “ethnic cleansing” by Israel. The journal also supports anti-Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, and falsely proclaims that “the Zionists were cleverly able to exploit the Western sense of guilt for the Shoah to lay the foundations of their own state.””

Maybe its just me, but on one hand, the Vatican says the Jews are not responsible for the death of Christ, and therefore, we are not the “Christ-killers” we were accused of being. On the other hand, they de-legitimize the Jewish State, and blame all the problems in the Middle East on the existence of the State of Israel.

The Jerusalem Post went on to report, “Archbishop Edmond Farhat – the official representative of Vatican politics – proclaimed that the ultimate cause of all the evils in the Middle East is that “foreign body” which is Israel: “The Middle Eastern situation today is like a living organ that has been subject to a graft it cannot assimilate and which has no specialists capable of healing it”.”

The situation is clear: No longer will they express anti-Semitism towards Jewish people. Anti-Israel and Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism. Israel is the “Jew” among the nations. Rather than be against individual Jews or the Jewish religion, they are against the Jewish State. This isn’t just about Catholicism. There are many fine Catholics I love and respect. This is about an attitudes held by many people, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

I am getting sick and tired of hearing people de-legitimize my remarks by complaining that I characterize anyone who disagrees with Israel’s politics as anti-Semitic. They make a big deal about having the freedom to criticize Israel without being labeled an anti-Semite. Well maybe its just me again, but if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, you can call it a chicken, but it’s still a duck. The real question is, why can’t I defend my view which happens to be pro-Israel, without being accused of being biased and bigoted when opposing someone who is anti-Israel. Why is there a presumed guilt on my part, and presumed innocence on the part of those against Israel? Could it be that I’m not the one being biased? Could it be, that they subscribe to the new anti-Semitism?

The Scriptures have made several things clear: First, those who bless Israel will be blessed, and those who curse Israel, are bringing a curse upon themselves. This is the covenant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which has never been revoked, invalidated or rescinded.

Second, The Scriptures also speak of a day in the future when the nations of the world will come against Israel, but God Himself will defend Israel and strike down all the enemies of the Jewish Nation. This would be consistent with the aforementioned covenant with the patriarchs.

These scriptures speak of the present, and the future. In that scenario, there are only two kinds of people: those who are for Israel, and those who are against Israel. If you don’t believe the scriptures, then it really doesn’t matter to you. If you do, which side do you want to be on?