Monday, November 14, 2005

Why do evangelical Christians insist on preaching to us?

One day last week, my wife and I were at an attorney’s office in West Plano for a consultation visit. We parked, as usual, in a handicapped space because we have one of those little blue placards which says we can.
Sadly, I forgot to hang it on the windshield because we were in a hurry and following the session, we were confronted with a note on out windshield.
“Excuse me, just how handicapped are you?” the note began. With back and knee problems forcing usage of a cane, and triple bypass heart surgery, the answer would be, “Enough.”
Still it was a fair criticism because he had forgotten to hang the “blue thingy.”
However … the note did not end there.
We drove in my wife’s Ford Escape and there are two bumper stickers at the rear concerning her church and domination – Unitarian Universalist. She belongs to a Plano church of that liberal faith; I am Jewish. So we are both outside of the mainstream.
Along with a sticker stating that the vehicle belongs to a “Collin County Democrat,” we often draw reactions, are ire, from other drivers, although I suspect the politics catch the eye first. I have one of my truck and I have even been bumped (or given derogatory hand gestures) by those who object to my mere breathing of the term, “Democrat.”
I can take that. What bothered me about the note was the other reference.
“Then I would ask How liberal is the bible?” the notewriter continued. “There is only one God. Therefore only One truth. It’s not Liberal.”
What possesses people, especially so-called “evangelical” Christians in white affluent areas, to insist on pressing their singular version of morality, truth and faith upon strangers? As a Jew, I’ve never understood it and never, EVER appreciated it. I find it offensive and my wife finds it equally offensive.
I have no quarrel with those who hold to the belief that the Bible is the living word of God or the bumper sticker mentality of “God said it; I believe it and that’s it!” I disagree strongly, but if works for them, I’m fine with it. Just don’t force it on me.
I’ve always believed that the strength of this nation lies in its ability to allow each person to make their own decisions. As a journalist, I always approached news stories from the perspective that if you present all the facts, people will be free to make their choices and conclusions. If I wrote an opinion piece (column or editorial), there would be no need to make it balanced … by definition it’s YOUR opinion (such a common misconception by the public about the media).
Sadly, too many Americans don’t want that to matter. They WANT one rule, one set of beliefs, one religion (despite all the hand-wringing to the contrary) to be the single factor of life.
Did I derive too much from a single note? Perhaps, but I see it almost daily, as does my wife. Snickering, sneering and snide comments and looks. One supervisor, a Catholic, once called my wife’s faith “a bunch of chrunchy granola eaters,” but I refrained from denouncing all Catholics as “followers of pedophile priests.” Because neither would be true.
Never argue sex, politics or religion at a party, we have all been warned. Lately, that cocktail has been mixed too often. And since I don’t drink (doctors orders), I’m left to argue whether the Longhorns will win a national championship (nope!), whether Terrell Owens is a bad guy (nope, just not a role model) and why I can’t get people from soliciting at my front door (don’t you just hate that?!?)
And one more thing, keepa you hands off my car! Or may a gaggle of crackles permanently yack all over your Simoniz finish.

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