Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Hate Begets Hate

"I want freedom for the full expression of my personality." -- Mahatma Gandhi

There's a story on the Huffington Post about a lesbian couple living in Kingston Ontario who returned from their vacation to find hate-filled letters by an anonymous group in their mailbox. Move away, they were told, or there would be consequences. If they went to the police, there would be consequences. Children would be hunting them with BB guns, among other things.

The couple took a stand. They went to the police, to the media, and to their neighbours. There was a support rally held in a neighbourhood park. They didn't intend to be frightened into leaving, as others had been.

I commend this couple. Still, it's a real shame that the world has become such a harsh place. No, scratch that - it always was a harsh place for anyone who was 'different'. Any such people had no option but to be 'different' in private or face complete societal censure. Today it's a little better, but now haters have the luxury of spreading their vitriol and idiocy around the world via Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other forms of electronic expression.

Some Christian groups have twisted Mahatma Gandhi's quote "Hate the sin, love the sinner" to their own ends. The letter from the above-mentioned group does so as well, stating "we have nothing personal against you, only against your sexuality" and they use this as justification to "watch and wait, and then strike, at home and office, as need arises", all the while claiming to be "primarily non-violent".

Having been raised in a home with extremely conflicting values (my father was a bigot, my mother a liberal) I will admit that I find certain lifestyles a bit difficult to accept. Seeing interracial couples, lesbian couples, or gay men kissing in public makes me cringe inwardly. However I do have friends who are in LBGT or interracial relationships, and this has taught me tolerance. I do not begrudge their choices, I don't make an issue out of it, and what happens in the privacy of their home is not my business. Just as my personal life is nobody else's business.

Too many people have forgotten that other adage, attributed to Jesus himself: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you". If more of us truly lived by that, the world would be a much better place for everyone.

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