The Passive-Aggressive Tolerance Trap -or- All Opinions Are Equally Valid, but if You Share Yours I Will Beat You With a Stick

A friend of mine got clobbered on his own blog today because he posted a picture of people returning food to the parking lot of General Mills, who recently came out (no pun intended) in opposition to the Minnesota Marriage Amendment that is on the ballot this fall. He dared wonder openly why a corporation would take such a stand against Biblical ethics and time-honored morality.
A few of his Facebook friends jumped on him. How dare he... and what followed was mind-numbing and dizzying. So I thought I would share one I've had in the archives that will demonstrate:
a) the folly of the postmodern worldview
b) a way to (at least try to) reason with such a precious, eternal human soul
Note that I wasn't snarky or impatient, and that I stayed on point. You don't win souls by beating someone up. The "new commenter," if you will allow me use a non-standard English word, has adopted several thoughts that will keep her from considering- or even being able to consider- the Biblical claims of sin and grace. I'm trying to plant a seed.  
Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but that doesn't mean they aren't wrong. Enjoy the LENGTHY conversation, starting with the cheap shot picture that first drew my attention.


WADE to ORIGINAL POSTER, I appreciate what you said earlier about one-word dismissive answers. I agree that if we can't give reasons for what we believe we are best not to make bold, public assertions about them.
However, I don't think unreasoned viewpoints are the exclusive property of the right. For example, attackers on the left aren't taking much time to nuance their assault against Kirk Cameron's simple, straightforward when-asked-directly-for-by-an-interviewer statement of the Christian sexual ethic. And my explanation at www.lwflc.org of why birth control is in the news again (contra Olbermann's take) woudn't fare well in the msnbc.com comment room, either.
As to the picture, above, the facts are incorrect. The size of the surplus is vastly overstated (it was 5.6T projected over 10 years, if memory serves). Further, fiscal conservatives (me among them) were never very happy with President Bush. Social conservatives (me among them) were due to the consistent pro-life action he offered from the executive branch.
The picture- and the message superimposed- does not further discourse, but further diminishes it. It introduces incorrect facts and trades most heavily on an all-too-available stock shot of President Bush looking clueless. I've got a few of those of me, too :-).

NEW COMMENTER to WADE- Wade, I get that you have some strongly-held beliefs. I do, too. One of those is that medical science has progressed a lot since the Christian Bible was committed parchment.
I think my health is something best left between me and a doctor. I get that some priests and seers from centuries ago think they have it all figured out. But, well, I don't consult my dentist when my car's acting funny so I'm not going to see a pastor if my period's too heavy or I've had a miscarriage and need to get the remnants out. Feel free to consult ancient texts with your medical concerns. Just understand that other people see that as...well, perhaps crazy.
There are no scientists in the legislature. Terms like “birth control” and “abortion” are colloquialisms used partly to stir up controversy and partly because many of the people using them don’t really understand the separate drugs and operations that fall under those broad headings. If you and your wife would choose for her to die rather than have a life-saving procedure that your local politician would call “abortion” is between you and her. I’m glad my friend was able to have her miscarried fetus removed so she could try again and give birth to her son. I’m also glad my other friend had the use of the Pill to control her endometriosis so when she was ready to have her kids, she could.
Another is that population growth is exponential and planetary resources are finite. While mass extinctions of top-tier species have occurred before and are likely to occur again, I'm not sure hastening our end is really in our best interest.
Economic resources are also rather scarce at this point, as most of the money has been funneled upward to the obscenely rich who promptly shipped it all overseas to hide it from the IRS. This means that families really can’t afford to have fourteen kids like my grandmother’s parents did. (Additionally, for families who consult doctors rather than theologians with health concerns, most children live until adulthood and beyond so the large numbers of offspring parents used to have to ensure they got to keep some to work the farm…not so much necessary.)
And if my employer is going to employ secular citizens (presumably because they are either the best qualified for the job or the cheapest), then my employer needs to understand that “it” as an organizational entity is ethically required to provide employees with health care and to leave what that means up to the medical professionals.
And if employers, as organizational entities as opposed to “people” since I refuse to believe that a corporation is a “people,” are going to refuse things on moral grounds, how about they start with not polluting the earth, not killing people in the name of profit, not spreading hate and not calling women sluts.
WADE to NEW COMMENTER- Thanks for your reply. I think you're missing my point, though, which was the need for reasoned discourse instead of one-word dismissals. I was agreeing with ORIGINAL POSTER on that, yet challenging the viewpoint that such lacking answers come solely (or usually) from people characterized as "the right."
What you responded to was one example I was using, not the point itself. I'm certainly willing to address some of what you write, but it's not best to do so on her page. Are you interested in doing so in the comments section of the blog post I referenced, or on your wall or mine?
ORIGINAL POSTER to WADE- I understand where your coming from regarding birth control and planned parenthood, Wade, but I can't say I agree with it. I think it's totally cool for that to go on within the church; the people in a church or employed directly by the church, but people who are employed by the church who are not of the faith shouldn't have to give up contraceptives, because, let's face it, people won't stop having sex for various reasons and there aren't as many rockstar families like yours to take in the children whose parents can't keep care of them which leaves us a lot of unwanted children, kids in foster care, kids growing up knowing they're unwanted, kids not receiving proper medical attention or education, and abortion. I don't want to sound harsh, but I think it's more economical for the US to allow contraceptives than it is keeping care of these unwanted or unplanned kids. Furthermore, the kids would probably have a better life if their parents put off having them until they are stable enough to support them. Being an unplanned child myself, I always saw very clearly that life would have been a lot smoother for everyone involved if I had been put off another five years. It's a hard balance to make, keeping that separation of church and state when the church is employing non-believers or people of different faiths. I apologize for reposting an inaccurate thing and I won't do it again without making sure the facts are accurate.
WADE to ORIGINAL POSTER- I love your responses, ORIGINAL POSTER... I'm a rockstar? Wow. It's humbling to be thought a bit of a hero. You are a blessing to us. We love all you guys.
To clarify what I think, 2 thoughts come to mind:
1) I think "conception control" should be legal.
A) "Birth control" methods which don't prevent conception, but cause the development of an already-conceived child to cease should be illegal.
B) Those opposing any birth control (even if I don't agree with them) should not be forced to provide it against their conscience (again, that doesn't mean it wouldn't be available elsewhere).
2) God says children are a blessing, not a curse.
A) If I, as a follower of Christ, am forced to adopt (no pun intended) the opposite philosophy, I am placed in a position where I have to decide whether to obey God or man. It's an unenviable position, but one Christians have been faced with for centuries.
B) The underlying philosophy that "children are as valuable as their parents intent and/or their ability to care for such children" causes humans to undervalue themselves. For example, you were unplanned only by your parents. God had you in mind all along. And I'm glad you are alive. You are a blessing, and a precious, eternal human soul for whom Christ died and rose.
Hope this helps. Have a great day.
NEW COMMENTER to WADE- That argument creates a slippery slope where one day an organization can decide other medications/procedures that are just too expensive are than "against they beliefs" in order to not pay for cancer drugs or stints or appendectomis. Once you decide to become a business, you are an entity with broad ethical responsibilities that are not beholden to specific religions. If you want the freedom to only choose followers or deny coverages, you need to stay small enough to avoid legal equipments to do so.
You assume your god us the one. People have argued this point since religion was invented. The problem will only be solved when there ceases to be humans.
WADE to NEW COMMENTER- You mentioned: "Once you decide to become a business, you are an entity with broad ethical responsibilities that are not beholden to specific religions."
One question for now- and I may not be back online tonight- What is the source of these ethical responsibilities, that is, where do these ethics come from?
NEW COMMENTER to WADE- Law. And our laws are supposed to be for the good of ALL people, not just one group. Our laws are supposed to allow for freedom of religion, for life, liberty, When non- medical people start making medical decisions, it threatens the lives of others (other people, not other blobs of helpless cells, & I notice no one ever has a problem with killing off animals, which is just semantics). When we destroy environment, it threatens more people. When environmental & medical decisions are made with religious allegory, it violates the separation of church & state if enforced by the state.
WADE to NEW COMMENTER- To clarify, are you saying that the source of ethics- that which people and business ought to do- is the law? If so, does the legality of a certain act make it ethical?
NEW COMMENTER to WADE- Ethics originate within, but some of the most ethical people I know are athiest, which means such ethics aren't based on religion.
WADE to NEW COMMENTER- But you need to choose: Ethics cannot come from law and also from within. In order to call someone "ethical" the term needs to be defined. The question remains: What, then, is the foundational source of ethics?
THREE DAY PAUSE, which made me reply with something because I didn't want the commentor to disengage without hearing that Jesus Christ is not just another ethical system...
WADE to NEW COMMENTER- as you think about this, it is vital to understand that Jesus Christ is not merely a system of ethics. Yes, a consistent, reasonable set of ethics is a natural outgrowth of Christian philosophy (an unchanging ethical standard based upon the flawless character of the Law-giver), but Biblical Christianity teaches that any system of ethics- even the correct one- cannot save, but only damns.
The reason for this is that, in the words of Galatians 2:16, "no one is declared righteous by works of law." What God provides in Christ is not another system of ethics by which to declare man a moral failure, but a solution to our moral problem.
God provided a way of escape from our ethical brokenness by giving His Son as our substitute- the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God. He fulfilled His own righteousness in the cross. A system of ethics doesn't require the death and resurrection of its Founder. Making men right with God does.
Thanks for the interaction.
NEW COMMENTER to WADE- I need a real keyboard for this so your god's gonna have to wait.
WADE to NEW COMMENTER- No problem.
NEW COMMENTER to WADE- I actually wrote out a whole long response. Haven't gotten around to typing it. This actually explains my initial point pretty well, though: http://danielboshea.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/somebodys-taking-liberties-...
WADE to NEW COMMENTER- Got it. Thanks for posting. If you re-read the article with the question "where do ethics come from?" in mind, it will be helpful. Unless there is an objective foundation for ethics, that which is viewed as good/bad in a given culture is subject to the "might makes right" decree of the majority (or the minority, sufficiently armed). That is how 42.6 million people were killed by Stalin in Russia during World War II- legally, and at least to his advisers- ethically.
NEW COMMENTER to WADE- But in your hyperbole you are forgetting we are a nation that has always valued religious freedom and that your kind wishes to force religion even when it isn't in the healthy interest of the person. This country also had historically, legally, respected the rights of its citizens. If a Christian Scientist can't opt out of basic life-saving care for his kid, why would it be okay for the Catholic church to deem what is medically right for women it has never met.http://www.fem2pt0.com/2012/03/16/legislators-women-are-not-cows-and-pigs/
WADE to NEW COMMENTER- I understand that you have strongly held views in this area, but in your replies you are not being fair or reasonable, but dismissive, which was the original point of this conversation. The link you posted has nothing to do with my original point- that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and not given one-word dismissals- or my follow up question of a significant claim that you make: That anyone starting a business has an ethical duty to provide access to certain goods/services, in your example, contraception.
I request that you answer two questions:
A) Where is the hyperbole you reference? Hyperbole is "exaggeration to make a point," and while I stand guilty of trying to make a point, I fail to see where I have exaggerated.
B) What is the source of these ethical duties?
NEW COMMENTER to WADE- No, I'm running out of patience with someone with unreasonable expectations. I don't have time in my day to debate the meanings of English words, especially with someone who makes it his mission to twist meaning to serve his purposes. I don't want to live in your vision of this country anymore than I want to live in Stalin's idea of a country or Sharia law. I want to live in a country of freedom.
WADE (disengaging) NEW COMMENTER- I'm sorry that you feel this way. Thank you for your time.
NEW COMMENTER to WADE- You're sorry I want freedom? *shakes head* The problem seems to be that you define ethics through religion, as the word of a god. I define ethics as something that comes from within, that gets made into socially-acceptable laws through debate and compromise. Sometimes that fails (ser Stalin) but sometimes religion gets it wrong to (see also Inquisition, Crusades, Salem, MA, Sharia, 9/11, Waco, TX...). You are also not going to convince me that a zygote or fetus anything but glorified parasite until born, once that depends on the host so if the host can't or won't perform her duties, the parasite must die. I also find the same people who think fetuses are so great have no problem killing animals, defunding welfare, refusing health care for kids, hating public education...and rarely adopt all those free-range kids they wanted born.

Pastor Wade

If anyone reads this far it will be a miracle... :-)

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