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Labels, Bush, Racism Etc.


darby
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I wanted to do this on the "debate" forum...I'll steer clear of the one going on in the pc forum. I will say, Fred, I appreciate your ability to avoid labeling and categorizing people.

 

I'm sure most of you hate (dislike, abhor, distrust, you pick the word) President Bush. I voted for him, but I can understand why some of you wouldnt'. We disagree, but I can understand. But I think Fred brings up some great points in the other forum--how easy it is to take disagreement and turn it into labelling, etc. And I know, it happens on ALL sides. I did not particularly like some of President Clinton's policies, and I had a major problem with his personal actions. But I think many on the right need to repent for their vitrilioc attacks on him, his family, etc. I don't think he's a devil worshipper, I don't think he's a communist, I don't think they killed Vince Foster, etc. Those types of attacks are ridiculous, and un-Christian.

 

I feel the same about some of the ridiculous posts on Bush and evangelicals. I see someone like Beach write, and I think, "that's not at all how I think/feel/etc. She has no clue." Because I voted for Bush I'm a racist? I've got two sons from Guatemala, having two homeless African-American guys over for dinner tomorrow night, my kids have hispanic, mixed race and A-A friends and I'm racist? Don't think so.

 

In the Time mag. issue that named Bush "Man of the Year" there was an article entitled "The Benetton-Ad Presidency" that points out that Bush has appointed the two most diverse Cabinets in U.S. History. Some quotes from the articl:

 

"With respect to the A-A guys in class, he got along very well with them" and "George's little Texas group was more friendly than their Northern counterparts"--an A-A roommate at Andover

 

"A Hispanic General Attorney--that means something. And even Commerce Secretary--that's a job that usually goes to a white businessman. These aren't tokens. This is real."--Congressman Robert Menendez

 

"He doesn't talk to a woman as if he's talking to a woman. He doesn't trivialize or condescend. "--Kay Bailey Hutchinson

 

There was also a story from an Indian-American congressman whose contractor father met Bush after a hurricaine in Florida. They took pics, and he says, "the two of them (were) standing there, with their hands in their pockets, laughing about something like they're best friends. My dad is wearing his baseball cap, and I asked him why hed didn't take his cap off and show more respect. 'I forgot he was the president' my father said. 'He just seemed like a regular guy.' A lot of immigrants like my dad just simply feel comfortable with the man."

 

I pass all of this on not to get into a political discussion, but more to reinforce what Fred said--let's debate issues, and scale back the venom and labels.

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Darby, was there a post or topic in particular that led you to post this? Specific feedback always helps.

 

The topic titles like this one seem a bit gratuitously inflammatory, biased, and unfairly stereotypical if that's what you're referring to:

 

"Mccarthy Era & The Rise Of The Far Right, McCarthy Era,&Anti-Cult Hysteria"

 

http://tcpc.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=479&hl=

 

I posted a thread on the Supreme Court crisis that is political, but I believe also directly related to progressive Christianity. People need to be respectful of others beliefs, and also respectfully candid about their own. Otherwise we'll all feel like we're walking on eggshells and probably not risk gaining any greater understanding of one another either...

 

I respect our leaders, but I also believe it is important to engage in meaningful , respectful, candid dialogue about the beliefs and issues that are important to us.

 

With recent events, such as the Supreme Court resignation, and one more (Rehnquist) coming soon, along with the Africa crisis, Iraq, and our impending environmental/energy crisis, there are a number of issues that deeply impact us all as concerned people of faith.

 

Also, I am all for diversity, as long as policies are as equally respectful of diversity as the background of the person in the office.

 

Peace,

 

John

Edited by peacemover
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I think part of the reason we tend to label people is we live in a culture of brands and labels. Almost any character in a television show or movie is a stereotype. Most of the news programs give us 10 second sound bites, and never spend more than a minite or two on a story. Most of talk radio spews nothing but stereotypes.

 

It takes conscious effort to break the conditioning and think about ideas without falling into the old habits.

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Peace-

 

Sorry for the confusion...yes, that's the post I was referring to. Trust me, I am all for a vigorous debate on all issues political and religious. Like you, I'm not for some wishy-washy, "walking on eggshells" discussions. My feelings don't get hurt. It's just not an honest way to put forth ideas. And it's lazy, also. There's a famous quote..."You raise your voice when you should reinforce your argument." We could substitute "label or lump people into categories" in the place of "raise your voice." Challenge ideas...propose solutions...and don't be so paranoid of those with different views.

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What appears to have happened is that non-Progressives have entered into dialog with me and the other Progressives here. One person on here, admits that are not Progressive. I wish that there was a 'special' forum for Progressive & Fundamentalist Dialog..because I personally would like to be warned that non-Progressives are going to try and and join the conversation at hand. Had I known before hand when I started that other thread about McCarthy and Bush that non-Progressives and Bush-Supporters would here and were going to enter into this conversation i would not have encouarged the whole topic to start with. I personally I am not interested in doing an inerfaith dialog with non-Progressives or pro-Bush supporters. Other Progs here seem to enjoy it. But I don;t I feel if I wanted to do this I'd go to Beliefnet where they actually encourage Fundamental/Liberal dialogs.

 

Darby has already siad in the past that he is not a progressive and with Fred I have no idea anymore. I think once in the past he got annoyed with me when I said i have no use for this new fundamental pope. Anyways, I, for one would really appreciate if a new forum could be added especailly FOR Progressive/Non-Progressive dialog... <_<

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Beach, you have a good suggestion as for a "dialogue section". My own feeling is that as long as the person can communicate fairly and politely, then they are welcome. Of any of the non-progressives on this forum, I think Darby has done the best and most consistent job of this. I dislike attempts made to convert, and I feel Darby has stayed away from this.

I know some of us have been hurt more by fundamentalist family, etc than others. I, for one, was pretty suspicious of someone being able to communicate fairly due to my own family situation with my sister (who has also grown and developed to being more able to communicate-- though I strongly think with her Campus Crusade background she is just a more skilled converter). I have come to see darby as very much part of the group, and sometimes a pretty good reality checker. I have not felt the same on some other non-progressive people in the group, but it just shows we are all individuals. I have even enjoyed his discussion when I don't agree with it.

 

I personally feel darby's comments are fair. I think that when we use terms demonizing our opponents it does not strengthen our arguments or our Christianity. Yes, I'd prob. like GWB if he were my neighbor and not the president. :-) (Anyone for the George Bush Dude Ranch? :-))

 

However, I have always sensed that you, Beach, have been very hurt by those JWs in your family and background, and haven't quite recovered. I agree we should have a "safe space". I was very upset when conservatives (and not at all nice ones at that) took over the ucc forum with barrages of homophobic comments. However, darby carefully placed this in the debate section and kept his remarks very polite. It is a hard balance for safe space (I am pretty sure there are tons of conservative Christian sites) and yet keep an open discussion, but I think its a separate topic.

 

 

--des

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Mostly, Des, is Fred P whom i do not understand where he is coming from. Darby merely concured. This is started when I wrote a thread of McCarthyism and Bush & The far right red. For some reason, that i can not understand..all of this seemed to rub Fred's fur the wrong way. I do not know why..but this happened once before when I posted that I delt this new pope was far right. Why any Progressive Christian would get defensive about speaking of Bush and the far right and the political reds and claiming unfair stero-typing as if..defneding Bush and the reds...on Fred's part...I don;t know. It sounds to me that he is defending the right and Bush and don;t know if he is on the right or the left.

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Well, I am NEITHER one...but I still think it a mystery that any Progressive Christians should gets so defensive over MCCarthy or Bush. Like as if....no one here has ever voiced their dissaprovel of Bush or the whole Red movement before. I am not voicing one party over the other..but it seems really weird to me that anyone claiming to be Progressive would get so defensives for Bush or Republicans.

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Where to begin....

 

I reread the intro to the discussion forums and saw that the main purpose of the forums is discussion about progressive Christianity, not debate, although debate is allowed if done appropriately, etc. I also can see why some might want a completely "safe" place to sound off, etc. So perhaps in light of that I'll post more on beliefnet or somewhere else, where debate is encouraged. Plus, as a non-progressive, it's not my place to get into the fray about what is acceptable/unacceptable debate--that's an in-house issue best decided by the rest of you.

 

Beach, you obviously have tons of bitterness built up over past treatment. It seethes out of your posts. And I don't say that just because I disagree with your views. In fact, I don't think you're anymore "liberal" or "progressive" than most on this board, and yet I'm able to carry on intelligent, meaningful dialogue with others because they are nice, compassionate and respectful. (In fact, they act kind of like this historical figure I read about one time that was known for compassion, treating people kindly, etc. But I digress) And they are able to do so without bending their beliefs or agreeing with me.

 

Lastly, Beach, I usually speak up when you make one of your sweeping generalizations because I go to church or know so many evangelical, conservative Christians who think and act nothing like you generalize. People who minister to the homeless and ex-convicts; adopt orphans (met a guy Sunday with 5 adopted children--one hispanic, one A-A, one oriental, and two cauc.--beautiful!); minister to unwed mothers, addicts, prostitutes; serve the poor overseas; etc. I know these examples don't fit into your narrow, paranoid world, but I go to church and serve with people like this all the time. Contrary to your myopic view, you don't own the market of love, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, etc.

Edited by darby
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Ah Darby, I sure hope you don't go! I enjoy your insight and input very much.

 

You have always been kind and conversational. I've never felt any of your posts were "debate-ish" in nature.

 

Just "you being you" has helped me to open my mind to other options, even if I don't always currently agree. :P

 

Please don't go!

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Aw darby, don't leave!!! I think *most* of us enjoy your presence here. No, I don't always agree with you, but then I don't always agree with anyone else here. (Except for Aletheia

;-) -- though we are really twins switched at birth :-)).

 

I understand Beach's issues, but I believe they are more personal. Yes, I see a lot of anger in there as well.

 

The rules call for politeness and not engaging in coersion, conversion, etc. I don't see any of that in your posts.

 

Something we get into a rocky place on the boards, just like any other forum.

 

 

--des

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What is interesting to me is that all of you keep pointing to Darby as being the one I aimed my annoyance with..when infact all I said of him is that he merely concure WITH Fred P. Fred is the one, if you'll recall who got defensive at what he said was my stero-typing of the religious or political right. I just thought I would point that out.

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Des/Alethia--Thanks for the kind words...that's how I hope to come across in my posts.

 

My discussion about posting more elsewhere was not a "I'll take my ball and go home" statement. I've not been offended here, even by Beach. I enjoy dispelling the myths I think she has bought into. But as I reread the intro to the boards, I had to ask myself if they were really set up for an outsider challenging ideas, etc. Even wiith all of my problems with Beach's generalizations, I can actually see why she might want (and expect) a "conservative free" zone....a place to spout off, etc. As much as I'd love to meet people at the coffee house for debate, I'm not sure I'd want an outsider coming to one of my elder's meetings at church and consistently challenging everything that was said. There's a time and a place.

 

What I will probably do is just be more selective in which posts I respond to.

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Darby - I'm glad you're not leaving. I'd miss you. I enjoy your posts and hope that you reply to any and all posts that you feel moved to and not only those that you feel you are allowed (by forum rules) to. Of course, that's just me. I certainly can't speak for the forum owner, administrators or moderators. :) If you were a preachy, conversion oriented (to the exclusion of dialogue) individual, I might feel differently. ;)

 

Beach - I don't think either Des or I "pointed out" that you have a problem with Darby. I understand that your "beef" is with Fred. As one of the conservatives on this forum however, I can see how Darby might feel included in the sweeping generalizations being made about conservatives. I simply wanted Darby to know that he is wanted and appreciated here. :)

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Maybe you oversimplified. Maybe I overreacted. I can understand why you would make a statement like you did. Can you at least understand why I would react strongly to what I felt was a drastic oversimplification? Is anyone else completely baffled about where I'm coming from? What more do you want me to say?

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>Des/Alethia--Thanks for the kind words...that's how I hope to come across in my posts.

 

And you do, that's the beauty of it. :-)

 

>My discussion about posting more elsewhere was not a "I'll take my ball and go home" statement. I've not been offended here, even by Beach. I enjoy dispelling the myths I think she has bought into. But as I reread the intro to the boards, I had to ask myself if they were really set up for an outsider challenging ideas, etc. Even wiith all of my problems with Beach's generalizations, I can actually see why she might want (and expect) a "conservative free" zone....a place to spout off, etc. As much as I'd love to meet people at the coffee house for debate, I'm not sure I'd want an outsider coming to one of my elder's meetings at church and consistently challenging everything that was said. There's a time and a place.

 

Well true. I'm not sure I'd want you at the congregational meetings (then again *someone* could liven things up already :-)). I mean there is a time and place. I think the debate/discussion forum is the place. I never felt you were just out for messing with things, etc. You have always conducted yourself in a Christian manner imo.

 

It has been very helpful for me to see a conservative not acting like my sister. I think this is a very good thing for my own growth. I started out not trusting you, and ended up liking you. It's also good, imo, to rattle the cages a bit, if you get my drift. You rarely change my mind too much but you might modify my opinion on something. At least it is useful to get out of the stereotypes we all have. You might not want to hear this but you have made me a better Progressive-- by really being more open to other views.

 

>What I will probably do is just be more selective in which posts I respond to.

 

I don't know why not. I am. I, for instance, just get frustrated that I don't understand "heavily theological discussions" and stopped discussing them.

 

Yes, Beach, I thought your comments had more to do with Fred. I did understand that.

 

 

--des

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I agree with what you said and now I understand..but how is peace to made with the right? And do you think this have to come about through innerfaith dialog? Why or why not?

I think peace will probably start with individuals sharing thoughts and ideas (like here!). I'm not overly optimistic that the religious right as a system has any strong desire for this kind of peace; but I know there are conservatives out there who really genuinely want the world to be a better place. I think they're wrong in some significant ways, but if I want them to listen to me with a truly open heart and mind, then I owe them the same.

 

"Interfaith dialogue" is technically dialogue between religions (Christian-Buddhist, etc.), but I assume the question is, Will this peace come about through some sort of "official" group-dialogue between conservative and liberal Christian churches? I don't know if I can answer that question; but as I said above, I do think it will begin with individuals if it is going to happen at all. I think if you take most people out of the comfort zone of their group identities, and talk heart-to-heart about issues that concern all of us as people trying to live out their day-to-day lives as Christians in 21st century America, you'll probably get an ear. If you really genuinely try, and get the shaft, dust off your sandals and move on.

 

Nevertheless, I would wholeheartedly welcome any attempts at inter-Christian dialogue on a church or community basis. But the bigger the groups involved, the more effort it will take to keep it from turning into a battle of group identities, even with the best intentions. It would need to be facilitated by people who are very far along in the dialogue process themselves, and can debate and discuss issues without things getting personal or tribal. The dialogue between Borg and Wright in terms of traditional vs. progressive Christianity comes to mind.

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I just recieved my newest TCPC newsletter in the mail today and the article that caught mu attention might relate to what we are talking about here. it is intitled, "Billy Graham: Obstacle to Progressive Christianity." I will start a NEW thread by this very ttile where we can all discuss our thoughts on this TCPC article.

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