Monday, December 22, 2014

Where was it you wanted him kept?

Before I get into the heart of this post, I'm going to say that this may be one of "the icky, cream-filled ones". It could possibly be classified under "how to lose friends and infuriate people."

Between police involved shootings and the report on the CIA torturing prisoners, this holiday season has been difficult for keeping hope alive. Throw social media into the mix and a hot mess just gets hotter and messier. I've tried to keep from posting anything that may cause too heated a comment battle. Following that same mentality, I've bitten the proverbial tongue by keeping my own comments on the posts of others to a minimum. I have been one for getting into pissing matches via comment sections in the past. It really ends in my getting riled up and nothing productive coming from it.

Though I do not follow any religion, I do have many friends who identify themselves as one Christian denomination or other. My feed on Facebook will often contain religious themed quotes; updates on what he/she is doing with his/her particular church group; religious news or pictures, etc. I usually scroll through these things without much thought or analysis since it's really not my thing.

Lately, though, I've been paying closer attention to my feed because I can't believe some of what I've seen. When the CIA shit hit the fan, it hit my news feed as well. Pictures of the events of 9/11/01 were being shared with messages about how the events of that day make the CIA justified in the use of various forms of torture -- the very types of torture most would be enraged over if done to "our" prisoners. There was also a picture floating around of "The Elf on a Shelf" doll being water boarded by a "G.I. Joe" doll who is trying to get information on where the toys are hidden. I decided that was too much for me to handle in my feed so I un-friended or un-followed some people...Christian people.

Then, there are the police shootings and racial tensions that have escalated. Again, I tried to keep from battling folks in cyberspace, including those I actually know in person. One post I did make was to share a statement from Cleveland Browns player, Andrew Hawkins about his choice to wear a t-shirt at a game that was in protest of two police shootings of black people in Ohio. I felt his point-of-view was well stated and I could relate to his anger being at individuals not the police as a whole. When I posted this, someone disagreed with what I posted. I simply said that we were most likely not going to change each other's minds, so we should leave it at that. Somehow, this meant that I was in favor of what a group of protesters had been chanting about killing cops. Wait, what? No. I don't know how that leap was made, but that is not at all anything with which I agree. My agreement with Hawkins' statement is that it is possible to be outraged by the behavior of individuals while supporting the job of police officers in general.

Just like other issues of discrimination, the tensions arise because behaviors of a person or minority of persons belonging to a group are seen as the norm for the group as a whole -- be this religion, gender, sexuality, race, and, now, a profession. This kind of generalizing is like living out synecdoche as more than a simple figure of speech for dramatic effect.

From what I've read and heard of Christ, I don't see how torture of or blanket support of or overwhelming hatred of a group fits into being a follower of a religion based on his teachings. I certainly do not question all Christians. I'm trying to understand how such duality can exist in some individuals.

In the end, I just wonder if some individuals should be less concerned about keeping Christ in CHRISTmas and maybe think more about keeping Christ in CHRISTian.

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