Don’t be a bully

bullyingWho has not been bullied in their childhood? We expect many childhood memories and immature actions to be left behind when one enters adulthood, but that is often not the case. Bullying is both an action and attitude that should be!

It is amazing that those who have been hurt often hurt others in the same fashion. It is amazing because one would think the last thing they would do is hurt someone in the same way when they know the deep and lasting pain actions such as infidelity, gossip, physical abuse, alcoholism or bullying inflict.

A first step is to reclaim the traditional definition of tolerance and practice. My opinions, beliefs and practices may differ from yours. We may discuss those differences with passion, but it should be with the understanding you have a right to your viewpoint. It seems the working definition of tolerance today is accepting what someone says is true whether you agree with their definition or not. Otherwise, you are bigoted, intolerant and must be subjugated as well as humiliated. Such an arrogant, quarrelsome, and intimidating attitude is defined as bullying. Examples are plentiful.

Stephen Beale reports that in January, co-owner Aaron Klein had denied a request to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding. “The Bible tells us to flee from sin,” his wife and business namesake, Melissa Klein told a Fox News columnist recently. “I don’t think making a cake for it helps. Protests, boycotts, and a storm of media attention—much of it negative—ensued. The couple received death threats. Then, activists broadened the boycott: any wedding vendor that did business with Sweet Cakes would be targeted.

The final nail in the coffin came in August when the slighted lesbian couple filed an anti-discrimination suit with the state. “The LGBT attacks are the reason we are shutting down the shop. They have killed our business through mob tactics,” Klein said. His wife added: “I guess in my mind I thought we lived in a lot nicer of a world where everybody tolerated everybody.”

70-year-old Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington sold flowers to Rob Ingersoll for nearly a decade and maintained a positive relationship with him. When he asked her to provide flowers for his same-sex wedding, she felt she could not act against her Christian conviction to serve her friend. She referred them to another florist and subsequently was sued, fined, ordered to work gay weddings or risk losing her home and business. She maintains she cannot because to do so would be a betrayal of her faith in Jesus. She, also, risks losing not just her business, but her home.

Last week a local ABC Indiana affiliate reported Memories Pizza proprietor Crystal O’Connor saying that while her restaurant would continue to serve gay customers in light of the law, it would decline to cater a same-sex wedding if asked. After the video went viral, supporters of gay rights overwhelmed the restaurant’s Yelp page with one-star reviews and angry comments.

Bullying may bring victory in the short term. Education, a willingness to understand a different point of view whether you agree with it or not, and conversation instead of a scorched earth policy lead to a better way of living and a broader victory over time.

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