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Monday, November 03, 2008

What Fuels Your Vote?

My goodness the hate mail has been flying around this past week. Lies, hate and bigotry are all alive and well in America, my friends, and for some reason, they're congregating in my email in-box. I had to read through my spam box just to take a break from the nastiness in my in-box.

I don't like to do this in my blog, but I want to take a few moments to talk about religion because, out of all the nastiness I received in my in-box, by far the most inaccurate and hateful messages were from the evangelical Christians in my life.

I was raised in an extremely conservative christian church by an extremely conservative family. It wasn't until I became an adult and experienced other churches that I really began to understand that the term "God's Love," a term that was thrown around every day throughout my childhood, really is supposed to mean love. Fear ruled the day. Christians, I was taught, were supposed to be fearful, to live their lives in fear.

So let's talk about fear, because most of the hate mail I've received this past week has been motivated by fear. Anytime a work is translated, including the bible, the translator has to make millions of decisions about which words to use. And words change meaning by their use over time. The word fear, for example, can be understood to mean respect (as in fear God), or it can be understood to mean the source of hate (as in fear everything you don't understand). My belief is that fear, as commanded in the bible, is intended to mean fear-respect rather than fear-hate (check out I John, 4:18-21). The best way to counteract fear-hate is knowledge. Real knowledge, not just assumptions fueled by emotions. Do some research. Study the issues. Use real sources rather than the chain hate mail that lands in your in-box.

Two great quotes from early in the last century come to mind:

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

and

"I have seen the enemy, and it is I."

Muslims are not the source of evil in this world, the source of evil is the fear that resides in our own hearts.

So I'm asking you now: is your vote fueled by fear and hate, or is your vote fueled by compassion and knowledge? Vote your conscience, but ask yourself first: what rules your conscience? Do you have peace in your heart or fear? Do you have to lie to make your case? Do you avoid research because it causes you to question your decision? Do you get all of your information from others whose lives are ruled by fear and hate?

The definition of bigotry is fear based, unreasoning attachment to one's own belief, with narrow-minded intolerance of differing beliefs. Let's let go of fear and bigotry for a day, and give our minds and hearts a bit of a workout.

Just think about it.
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11 comments:

Does Anybody Hear Me said...

When you encounter the hate-filled 'Christians', it almost makes you ashamed to call yourself a Christian.

I experienced one of those hate filled moments last weekend while speaking to an old childhood friend in Ohio. The talk turned to politics and well...I am not even going to repeat what she said in the name of God. It just floored me. And no matter what you do, what you say, you can't convince these kinds of people that their point of view is somewhat...wrong.
And it is sad that there are people who think that way in this day and age.

Ronda's Rants said...

I have just recently recieved a few "hate emails"...these are Christians writing this filth! I have had only one respectful letter disagreeing with me but still she/he/no name person said I was only professing to be a Christian...it has hurt but I still live in this country and I am entitled to my opinion!
I feel sorry for them...Wednesday is not going to be fun for them!

Shea said...

vote Obama, He hasn't sent me anything that has been hate filled, unlike McCain

A Progressive Girl said...

Greetings Judy,

Thanks for commenting over at AWOP. I followed your link back to check out your blog. Love it.
Great post too!

Thanks again for popping in and I do hope you will come back again soon : )

kim

Matthew said...

Seeing as the US has separation of church and state and freedom of religion, I see no place for religion in politics. I don't like when people bring the big G-word into political arguments.

Jessica said...

Great post! I totally agree, and as "shea" said, I have never gotten a negative email from Obama's campaign (unlike the hate mail I get from the McCain supporters). I saw your comment over at Blurbomat and followed the link. Glad I did. :) PS: Good luck with your pregnancy (I am pregnant, as well)!

Moose Nuggets said...

I voted for McCain (those that know won't be surprised).

I am also a conservative Christian (notice which is the adjective and which is the title).

I am extremely frustrated by 2 groups of people 1. McCain's campaign (I don't like him anyway) and their insistence on slinging mud. and 2. people who think that Obama will destroy everything that we hold dear. My answer to both is that God is in control and tomorrow I will go to work.

So regardless of who you voted for...

Thank you for voting.

(and at least for me Wednesday won't suck, it's just another day at work)

Tricia said...

I'm still so surprised by the hate that's gone around during this election cycle, it really has disheartened me. I've seen people make truly hateful comments on blogs that have supported one candidate or the other, and then swear never to come back. The idea of intelligent debate got lost along the way of people claiming to hold the truth. It was so, so sad. Sorry to hear you were barraged with that kind of crap. I wish religion didn't enter into politics, and that people could feel free to engage without attacking. I'm so relieved the election is over, but in reality the sentiments will still be abundant, even if people aren't screaming about them. Truly sad.

insanemommy said...

Excellent post! We could be related. I was raised in a dictatorship. One religion -- christianity. Much to their dismay I married a Jewish man. Two of my sisters have converted -- one now a Mormon and one a Catholic. My parent's have asked themselves over and over what they have done to deserve this. Can you imagine? One of my sisters is married to an African American man and they have a child. My parent's have never (NEVER) accepted the child because they do not accept my brother in-law because of his color! They have called him names that I wouldn't even write. Horrible. My husband and I adopted twins from China and I can only imagine with all their bashing about China what they say about my precious children. I didn't know another polictical party existed until I was out on my on! They were die hard republicans. It was nothing to hear them refer to the party as "G-d's people"! I've always marched to my own beat. I have numerous homosexual friends not to mention a sister in-law whom I love! So it chaps my ass everytime I hear someone say they are sinners OR they have no rights. Why in the hell would anyone deny them the same rights as anyone else? I don't get it? I'm so excited for Barack to be our president. I think he will bring our county back together as one. I'm hopeful he can do it.

Love your blog...

Kristin said...

Very thoughtful post Judy! As a (mostly) republican person and a christian I respect all points of view and appreciate anyones passion about their political views as long as it is done in taste. While I completely agree with what you wrote and what the other commenters speak of, I also see another side. A side where I have been stereotyped as a bigot, a racist and a "hate filled Christian" just because I am a republican. I will never be ashamed to be a Christian, but I am tired of getting "lumped" in with judgemental people in general. Being a Christian has nothing to do with it. I was not completely enamored with McCain, but his fundamental beliefs aligned more with mine. As I said in my own post today, I am still extremely excited to see what Obama can do. Moreover, what we will do as a nation with this new leaf overturned.

mama said...

Monday was a very bad day for me. Much fear, though not the "respect" or the "hate" variety. But still I think the best thing to help me here is knowledge, looking honestly at what I fear and seeing that it's not the big scary monster as I imagine it will be.

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