Friday, September 27, 2013

Truth is Truth (no matter who speaks it)

In a sense, I hate to have to mention Westboro Baptist. I'm sure everyone has heard of them, often making nonsensical correlations so they can "protest" the very existence of homosexuals by blaming the phenomenon on everyone from grieving military families to the Foo Fighters. Fortunately, their targeting of the military has energized many of my more conservative friends to join my more liberal friends in rare bipartisanship. In the interest of full disclosure (did my saying "full disclosure" just make me pro-gay?), I don't think there would be such agreement if they merely targeted actual homosexuals - they might even be praised, as some have praised Mr. Putin recently, but perhaps that is another post.

Mentions of Westboro have been down as of late, as there is nothing new here, and that's fine by me. Yet, a couple of weeks ago, they appeared again in USA Today with news of a small tiff with...Vince Gill (are they starting to go the B-list, Celebrity Apprentice route)? The most shocking part of this recent endeavor was that there was no gay-bashing; they were after him for his affair, divorce, and remarriage (to former star of Christian radio Amy Grant). But as much as I do not support WB in their rhetoric (against homosexuals or heterosexuals), I must give them credit: where so many people of faith I know are more than willing to explain the evils of homosexuality, the damage it does to our otherwise pious nation, and the perils of even casual tolerance, I almost never hear the same about heterosexual infidelity.

I've never been a fan of Mr. Gill, either. Yes, at the risk of outing myself as judgmental, I considered the Grant affair scandalous (on both parts), and still do, but the truth is that Vince could be completely celibate and I still probably wouldn't be a fan. I'm not into country music, and the little I can tolerate is on the rockabilly side as opposed to the whiny, saccharine ballads for which Mr. Gill is known. I do credit him for responding to WB protesters claiming (rightly) that the Bible condemns divorce and remarriage under his circumstances by saying, "You know what else [Jesus] said? He said a lot of stuff about forgiveness, about grace. You guys don't have any of that."

And so I find myself unable to fully agree with the actions of either party here, nor able to write off either as completely wrong. The better question here, however, is not who is right (about what) and who is wrong, but if such confrontations are even necessary. There are a great many things that I believe are wrong, but I can't imagine having any motivation to picket individuals for their transgressions. At the same time, I openly acknowledge that I too fall short (often), but can't imagine why anyone would want to take to the streets over them. Why is it that some people feel the need to respond to a group of people with hostility, even if they can identify sin? Does such a confrontation aid either party?

Yes, truth is truth, no matter who speaks it. Yet, knowing something to be true does not always require a proclamation. Even when spoken, something true can be stated in an incorrect (or even merely inefficient) fashion, and it appears the delivery often causes more issues than the validity of the statement.

Hey, it's true...figs are certainly not portrayed all that positively.  Maybe a boycott is in order?

Now I throw it out for you: what are the criteria for necessary statement of truth? Equal and consistent treatment? Likely danger? Possibility of acceptance/correction? Mere statement of personal principle (and if so, how often)? Obviously, everyone believes their own position to be superior (or why have it?), but is silence always approval? If so, I can't imagine a peaceful quiet anywhere.


  1. I'm torn. I silence always approval? In the case of others being hateful and/or judgmental towards homosexuality, if I don't speak up I feel that I have contributed to a social standard that allows such ideas to breed freely. And I suppose the people who protest loudly about being anti-gay or, in this case, anti-unfaithful, feel the same way.

    1. I think we're likely on the same page here (as usual). For my part, I can know that a person (or small group of people) share a position I disagree with, and yet I feel no need to jump in until I hear something untrue. For example, someone could be going on about how they hate the Affordable Care Act (typically called "Obamacare" by the critic), and I can respect their opinion, until they say something about a microchip, or death panels, or slippery slopes to communism. I can tell you it's worked to a degree, as well; I doubt my friends and acquaintances have changed their minds, but just speaking up once (as opposed to every instance) has reduced the comments they make that they know will meet resistance.

      As a side (but related) note, I find it odd when someone assumes, based only on my lighter skin or obvious male characteristics, that I would then enjoy a joke or nasty comment about blacks, or arabs, or women. Yes, I find it necessary to speak up in such instances, but I know I am changing a behavior in my presence, not a mindset.

  2. In the case with Westboro Baptist Church, I don't believe their way of protesting is necessary. No matter what is true or not in their case because the ends do not justify the means. However, I believe the way I participate in the Occupy movement to be the right way to protest.

  3. We all enjoy freedom of speech, but the question is one of goal. You can be right about something and fumble the delivery to the point that it turns people away from it better to justify one's opinion as superior, or to convince another to give your opinion some thought? I agree that your respectful interaction with the police (specifically stressing solidarity with them as fellow laborers) has been refreshing to witness - not all protesters (Occupy, Tea, or otherwise) are as humble.