Monday, July 1, 2013

In case you didn't like my last post

Please read this piece from the Chicago Sun-Times, "Anti-gay bias loses its legal whip." A straight Jewish man schools the sad "straight fundy Christians" on not having your religious beliefs made into secular laws.

I'm still thinking about my last post and the myriad ways I could have offended someone. With every post I write comes discomfort: I am still learning to truly own my opinions. But unlike my previous post, I'm usually towing the Democrat party line for a liberal audience. Voicing some sympathy for religion, especially when I have very little scholarly training on the subject, makes me nervous. Although I will give myself bonus points for exploring the intersection of liberalism and Christianity with an open mind, instead of shutting down the conversation and imposing my beliefs, however flimsy, on others.

Just yesterday I was walking around with a friend who started talking about a job interview she'd had recently. My friend was raised Jewish, although more in the cultural sense than as a religion. She was reading the text of a speech the potential boss had given, at a Jesuit institution, in which he had pointedly discussed "Christian values."

"It just makes me uncomfortable," she said. I felt a little pang of guilt and sadness. Maybe this problem is even more pervasive than I thought. Both she and I largely interact with open-minded, educated people in our work life. This potential employer she described even sounded like a great boss, one who wouldn't actually impose his beliefs on others. She did not make a big deal of this observation, but clearly this had made an impression on her, even as a non-practicing member of another faith. 

I still stand by my previous post, but I promise to be more cognizant of these situations. I can see how a Christian using the phrase "Christian values" implies that they are fundamentally better than Jewish values or atheist values. Personally, I avoid using that term because to me it has so much hypocritical baggage that it is nearly a joke. I do think many people say "Christian values" and really do mean adhering to Jesus' teachings and the Ten Commandments, without judging other value sets, but I get it. Coming from the religious majority, it really does sound exclusive and judgmental. 
I'm sorry.

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