Tuesday, May 1, 2012

More Questions Than Answers

There's a war waging in our country and, to be sure, around the world.

On one side of the battlefield are people with strongly held, if misguided, religious and political beliefs that leads, both directly and indirectly, to casualties.  They are the aggressors.  Their rhetoric creates the environment of hate and intolerance that allows young people to feel it's okay to be hateful, intolerant, mean, and outright (at times) violent to other young people whom they deem to be different.

On the other side is a group of people, a segment of our population, who want nothing more than to be accepted simply for who they are, to be able to love whomever their heart falls in love with, and to an equal opportunity to live their lives to the fullest extent without repudiation.    That doesn't seem to be asking for too much.

Why is it so hard for people to simply tend to their own lives and allow others to live THEIR own lives?

How is it that people who profess to be Christians, that is to say "followers of Christ", can be so full of hatred and intolerance...be so bitter and spiteful?

What does it say about us, as a people, that we continually elect people to "govern" us who are mean-spirited, narrow-minded, or intolerant?

Why is it that NO ONE is ever held accountable for the suicide death of someone who was so severely traumatized by the hatred and intolerance, BULLIED so badly, that they felt no other way to end it than to end their very existence? 

How does a person even BEGIN to blame the victim for feeling such a sense of hopeless- and helplessness that (s)he felt that the only way out was to end their life?

WHAT KIND OF PERSON, let alone a person of power and influence, chooses to protect the one(s) who bully as opposed to the victim(s)?

I could go on and on, ad nauseum.  Why?  Because there are far more questions than answers.  To get to the root of this issue, however, these are just some of the questions that begs to be answered.  Forget about religious beliefs or politics beliefs that are steeped in religion.  The fact of the matter is that people as young as 10-years-old are ending their young lives not only because they are being bullied beyond their threshold of tolerance, they are also getting the sense that no one can or will help them.  In countless comments, replies, and even personal emails, I'm told, by parents or adults who survived the bullying!, of situations where the went through all the proper channels, and no one did anything about it!  How is that possible?  How is it possible that people, from school administrators, to religious leaders, to politicians are letting these young people die without alarm?   

Let me be clear:  I am not referring to all Christians when I say that they, with their hatred and intolerance, have a role to play in this madness.  I am fully aware that there are true Christians, that is to say true followers of Christ, who are as alarmed as anyone to see what's going on with the bullying and teen suicides...and, in particular, the bullying and teen suicides of the LGBT youth.  Incredibly, even Pat Robertson went on record just last week for saying that the bullying of LGBT youth is wrong and should stop, that Christians are supposed to be about love and acceptance, not hatred and intolerance.  Wonder how many of them heard him?
Rev. Pat Robertson could not have been clearer during his 700 Club's question and answer period - bullying gay and lesbian students is wrong.
Roberston was asked by a viewer named Douglas: "What would you say to a school that has gay and LGBT (sic) students being bullied by the Christian kids?"
Robertson actually seems a bit shocked by the question, and answered: "Well I think that's terrible. Christians shouldn't do that... I mean.. lesbian, gay, transgender, blah blah blah, I mean.. Christians shouldn't do that. They ought to act in love."
He continued: "You may disagree, you may think these practices are an abomination, you can think all sorts of things, but you need to love, and reach out to these kids in love." To which his co-host repled: "Absolutely. Bullying is wrong - period."
Which got an "Amen" from Robertson.
Before we can change the culture that's creating the atmosphere of hatemongering, which is leading directly to the suicides of young people around the world at an unbelievable rate (and, statistically, two more teens have committed suicide just since I started writing this article), we have to change the way people think.  And, to change the way people think, we must change what is taught!  God is love.  Period. (1John 4:8) And, NO politicians personal and/or religious beliefs are more important than human life.  Period.


  1. It's about time we see a christian leader who is emphasising that god is about love, and not hate! I am not religious, but I find it strange that many christians will say on the one hand, that god loves everyone, and then on the other, that god hates gay people (and thus they feel justified in hating, too). It just doesn't compute with me!

    Ultimately, who a person chooses to love, or just to sleep with, is not anybody else's business!

  2. Ron, your compassion for this tremendous issue never ceases to inspire me. I agree with you on every point you make- because they all appeal to the most basic thing to survive emtionally, or even at all: love.
    I do believe that not nearly enough is being done to prevent these losses of life, from all aspects of society. And by that I especially mean governments. One of the things that governments almost never seem to understand is that they are essentially parenting all the people in their country. Quickly going off to the side, I do not hesitate to compare bullying someone to the point of suicide to murder. And going back my point about the government, no parent wants to raise their child to be a murderer. So why do governments let such happenings continue, then? Well, that's another unanswered question.
    I hope that your posts will continue to inspire people like me, to get people to further acknowlege this as a big issue in our society and most of all, to take action. I have already chosen teenage suicide as my topic for an art project about social and political issues. I hope it will help to open people's eyes just as you do. Thank you for all you do, and may you be successful in the future.

  3. Review of "The Anointed" on Amazon.com. "American evangelicalism often appears as a politically monolithic, textbook red-state fundamentalism that elected George W. Bush, opposes gay marriage, abortion, and evolution, and promotes apathy about global warming. Prominent public figures hold forth on these topics, speaking with great authority for millions of followers. Authors Stephens and Giberson, with roots in the evangelical tradition, argue that this popular impression understates the diversity within evangelicalism—an often insular world where serious disagreements are invisible to secular and religiously liberal media consumers. Yet, in the face of this diversity, why do so many people follow leaders with dubious credentials when they have other options? Why do tens of millions of Americans prefer to get their science from Ken Ham, founder of the creationist Answers in Genesis, who has no scientific expertise, rather than from his fellow evangelical Francis Collins, current Director of the National Institutes of Health? Exploring intellectual authority within evangelicalism, the authors reveal how America’s populist ideals, anti-intellectualism, and religious free market, along with the concept of anointing—being chosen by God to speak for him like the biblical prophets—established a conservative evangelical leadership isolated from the world of secular arts and sciences. Today, charismatic and media-savvy creationists, historians, psychologists, and biblical exegetes continue to receive more funding and airtime than their more qualified counterparts. Though a growing minority of evangelicals engage with contemporary scholarship, the community’s authority structure still encourages the “anointed” to assume positions of leadership."

    This is the problem: how to get the church to remember what the church is supposed to be about--loving, caring, serving, not holed up in an insular community waiting for the end times.

  4. You're passion about this issue is amazing, and I'm glad that people are willing to come out of their shell and say something about it. I myself am a Christian, and am about to graduate from a Christian high school. At Christian schools, it's hard to tell who's going through the motions and who's honest about their faith. I myself have no problem with people who live an alternative lifestyle, but I also don't understand how some people who claim to be about acceptance and love can turn around and be so judgmental and hurtful. Most people don't realize the influence they have over other people's lives. This kind of abuse should not have to be tolerated by any one...everyone deserves better than to end up feeling like their only choice is suicide. And it hurts me everytime I hear about victims of bullying. It's wrong, and it has come to the point where people need to start taking a stand to prevent it from happening again.