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August 2, 2012

Which will it be: Silent majority, or vocal minority?

The other day, I read a quote from a cleric named Charles Pope. It expresses something I've been noticing but have been unable to verbalize as clearly and concisely. Here's what he had to say:
Welcome to tolerance as defined by secular radicals. In their lexicon “tolerance” is “your right to agree with me.”
What he says rings true to me.

I've noticed that if an opinion which differs from the majority is expressed, it's viewed as being unloving, intolerant, unchristian, bigoted... etc. To prove my point, go into any popular public venue and speak out against abortion or gay marriage or premarital sex or divorce... or any other trendy topic. And then wait for the outcry.

This is sad to me, but even sadder is the fact that the great majority of people I know refuse to speak up unless they're in the company of like-minded people. The truly vocal folks are the ones who holler "intolerance" as soon as an unpopular opinion is expressed. The silent ones put me in mind of this quote:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me. – Martin Niemoller. 
Think about it. And may God grant us the courage to speak up - not with "intolerance", but with honesty.

Meanwhile, let me state this plainly:

When I disagree with you, it doesn't mean I hate you. I don't accept the notion that it is impossible to love and respect those I disagree with. I'm not that shallow, and most folks I know aren't either.

When I think an action is wrong, it is the action I'm judging... not the person who's doing the action. I believe I have the capacity to recognize that even good people do bad things from time to time.

And when I see certain behaviors as immoral, it doesn't mean I'm being unchristian. It may well mean that I'm standing strong in my faith. You may not believe as I do, and I'm fine with that. But I refuse to compromise my own beliefs to satisfy someone else.

And when I believe certain behaviors are wrong, it doesn't mean I'm placing myself on a pedestal. I've done lots of things I'm not proud of, and quite a few that I'm ashamed of. I'm no more "perfect" than the next guy, and no less a sinner than anyone else.

I believe we have the capacity to disagree without being disagreeable. And while I agree that you have every right to express your opinion, I expect you to respect my right to voice my opinion as well.

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12 comments:

  1. This was a great post. I personally think many are letting the talking heads do their thinking for them. They are advocating their personal responsibility to think and consider for themselves and letting the media and our 'leaders' think for them. It is sad.

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  2. I was just reading the Martin Niemoller quote a couple days ago. I've had in my notes for years and years. It is so true. And, yes, we are either too quiet or we are fussing and fighting. My problem is that even if I don't SPEAK, my eyes and facial expressions always give me away. My opinion: We are headed for read trouble. As Ruth Graham said to Billy a few years ago: "If God doesn't soon bring judgment upon America, He'll have to go back and apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!"

    I agree with that. So often in the past number of cultural changes, I've thought that the world is just like S. and G. and how can we possibly be "safe" with all of that falling around the world. Heavy sigh.

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  3. My husband and I were talking about this tonight. The amazing thing about 'us' is that we are individuals. Meaning we are not all the same, we don't believe all the same things. That is what makes us all unique. I have never been one to 'go along with the crowd' just because everyone else did. I have my own beliefs and opinions and I am sticking to them. I respect every-ones opinion and I expect to be respected with mine. Good post!

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  4. I feel like you we have not spoken out enough. I have been divorced and forgiven and lead to a wonderful husband to spend the rest of me life in calm household instead hell. We have allowed all this to happen we do not take Jesus into the voting both, until we do we will have these thing happen.

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  5. I consider myself liberal and I agree with you. I believe in tolerance, and therefore, I must understand that not everyone needs to share the same views as me! I wish more people would understand that!

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  6. Thank you for sharing this. I completely agree! I also love the quote you shared from WW2.

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  7. You said it well! The quotes you listed are so true. And it is sad when we are afraid to speak up. I'm happy to have a blog where I can voice my opinion on things. :)

    Stopping by from Hear It on Sunday Use It on Monday. :)

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  8. Well said - everyone should have the right to express their opinion without being criticized.

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  9. "The capacity to disagree without being disagreeable". Here. Here. Beautifully said! Thank you for sharing on NOBH!

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