Regarding the Nov. 14 letter “Liberal culture of hate to blame for political division” sent by William C. VanRonzelen IV:
William, I read your letter, and I noticed it looked remarkably similar to what I have found, and read about for quite some time now.
The main difference is that the parties are switched.
There are bad people on either end and in between. I’ve read too many hateful opinions, read through extremist Right and Left blogs, articles, biased news outlets.
On one hand, you have folks that believe an influx immigrants (whether illegal or not), the giving of civil rights to LGBT folk, and the allowance of stem-cell research and abortions will soon destroy God’s chosen nation in a hell-storm of divine retribution for such sinful and blasphemous debauchery.
In reality it is their own fault they believe this, for the most common belief is that the Bible espouses love and tolerance to all men and women.
But these folk use their holy book to justify negative views of the world, to justify hate of other philosophies, claiming to be tolerant as they bar the way of scientific progress, the promotion of welfare among men, and the civil rights of others. And on the other, you have folks so jaded by bad experiences with religion, and a few negative people, that they have shut their minds off to all viewpoints, except their own.
They judge and jeer others, not because of their merit or actions but solely by their beliefs, and they would rather see such people burnt to the ground,than to stand their presence on this earth.
And so they go about their rude and overtly destructive way, claiming to be tolerant, unless one holds faith in a higher power, or clutching a holy script to their breast.
In truth, both of these kinds of people are in the minority, but are the loudest of all, and I fear that such minorities may be growing.
As people stick to isolated pockets, and only commune with like-minded people, their beliefs become more ingrained and their views inch ever closer to the extreme.
This effect is a real one, as any prominent social psychologist tell you. The Internet is surely partly to blame for this.
There are like-minded sites linking only to other like-minded sites. Droves of people only hearing and listening to only that which they want to hear and listen to.
I’ve thought about this a long time, and I believe the only way to end this “culture of hate” is to help strengthen a culture of love and compassion.
There are so few sights to behold as a single Christian congregation of so many people and backgrounds, everyone pitching in for a charity, shoeboxes full of toys and essentials to give to impoverished African children on Christmas. And I dare you to find as many happy faces as there are in an LGBT pride festival, so many folks able to throw off the facades they wear in a world where so many others think of them as less than people.
I could give so many more wonderful examples, but I’ll cut this short to tell you this: Don’t wait for the other side to change, go out there and promote it yourself.
You know the extrematizing effect I spoke of earlier?
It works both ways, surround yourself with good-hearted people, with people that give to charity, that volunteer, that are kind and compassionate, that would never insult others or hold prejudice in their heart, that know that with understanding comes love and acceptance. By communing with such people, your views and attitudes slowly become more accepting, and open.
And then go out, and be kind.
Don’t sit on your butt and grumble about how everyone is so mean. Be the change you wish to see.
“But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you.”