Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Spiritual Series: Part V

Fear and Hatred

How does it play into your life and your value system?

I have been really really struggling with this issue the past few months, and I need to get some of it out.  I hope you'll bear with me through my thoughts and then I welcome yours as well.  I genuinely mean no offense, I just want to discuss this. 

Everyone knows I'm a progressive.  I listen to progressive and liberal talk show hosts.  I believe their set of opinions are not the only valid ones, but I maintain that they more loving.  There are so many talk show hosts in this country who speak of hatred.  And fear.  Who are vile and angry, and who, in my opinion, incite actual violence. 

I was going to post the quotes here, but I can't.  I urge you to read them for yourselves.  And then, I ask you, how do your political values and whether or not you agree with these viewpoints align with your spirituality and/or religion?

Rush Limbaugh

Glenn Beck

I found them because they are the most widely-listened to talk show hosts.  They have millions of followers who believe everything they say.  Oh, but the fear!   

Are we not called upon to be unafraid?  To love everyone? 

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

I Peter 3: 8-16

I guess this is my lesson.  This is what I have to remind myself of: I can't convince anyone else, and I have to learn that it's okay if I don't.  I need to learn to keep praying for those who don't have peace.  I must love them too...

I am an idealist*, and I like to envision a world without hatred.  What would that look like?  Heaven, I assume!  Some days I get lost in that daydream.  And sometimes, I just try to make sense of the world we have...

*another post for another day!


elizabeth said...

Sometimes, I like to read Law of Attraction stuff. I don't always buy it (I have a funny story about it - unrelated so I won't post it here) but one of the theories in it that makes a lot of sense to me - and it really isn't specific to LoA - is the idea of attracting what you focus on. At its most basic - which is why it's not specific to LoA - it's just a noticing of what you focus on. When you focus on fear and anger and hatred, you notice more and more examples that support your views, and the cycle continues. The whole noticing thing is pretty self-evident. I see a Honda Element and decide it's my dream car. I start noticing them everywhere. Someone mentions fire men. I start noticing fire trucks everywhere. And if you're focusing on fear and hatred and worry, you're inclined to fight against things - which clearly doesn't work - and are not really in the common ground/solutions/.. space.

I don't listen to talk radio much anymore, but I do occasionally listen to my afternoon radio show which is "99.9% hate free". :) Come to think of it, I don't even know which way they lean.

I am reminded that I have a funny story about Rush too. :)

Leanne said...

So, in LoA theory, I should put all of this behind me too. Forget about them. It doesn't affect me. (But it does, because I have a lot of friends who are followers of theirs and share those opinions with me.) It's a balance I must figure out. And I will.

Firemen. Hehe.

elizabeth said...

The answer would be yes. Sort of. You wouldn't forget about it, you would look for things that you want to see. Talk show hosts that focus on love .. etc.

LoA would say that because you care about it so very much and want the focus on fear/hatred to end, there's no way you cannot experience it. Who knows ..

Anyway .. that is not my advice .. I wouldn't offer advice - you'll figure out what to do - and I am a skeptical person about LoA stuff anyway .. just further explanation. :)

~ Junkyard Jennifer said...

I don't listen to either of them because I rarely listen to the radio. But I have heard Rush when I've been out garage sailing with my kids in the past, and I have changed the station due to some of the things he's said--because although I believe in the same ideas and things that he 'represents' as a Republican, I don't agree with a vindictive and hateful attitude and I don't want my kids listening to that. I don't believe that sort of attitude gets anyone anywhere.

All republicans and conservatives shouldn't be lumped into the same category as over-the-top talk show hosts who deliberately cause drama and say over-the-top things in order to gain some sort of popularity and to get attention. (And, it works. They definitely get plenty of attention!) But we're not all with a vindictive and hateful attitude in our beliefs... :)

{That being said, I do agree with many of the things I've heard him talk about.}

I think there is a danger for anyone to get too obsessed and 'into' any one person whether it is a politician or a talk show host. Giving someone that much power takes away from our ability to follow our own hearts and minds...

I believe we ought to try to follow our own hearts, our own minds, and our own guts when it comes to right and wrong. And, I imagine you'd agree! :)

~ Jennifer

~ Junkyard Jennifer said...

In case that last bit doesn't make sense, I was just addressing where you'd said 'millions of followers believe everything they say'.

And, it is unfortunate.

I, for one, don't believe very much of anything any politician says--and that goes for talk radio hosts! ;)

~ Jennifer

Amy I. said...

Interesting post. I think there are some topics out there that really push my buttons, and the Catholic Church and its' latest scandal is one of them. Sometimes it's hard not to be pessimistic in the face of horrors like that. And I want to be informed, so tuning out isn't an option.

I think my frustration with conservatives (and their pundits and leaders) lies in their tendency to oppose just about any type of change and reform in recent years. For example, health care reform, gay marriage, tackling global warming, the unchecked power of corporations.. It doesn't seem like I can find much common ground with some of them.

I don't think that if you ignore the problems of the world they'll go away. I think it's important to find solutions and raise awareness on issues that are important to us. I don't know if I feel much more informed or clued in than the next person, though.

Leanne said...

Jennifer - yes, thank you for making that point. I do *not* intend to lump every conservative into that group. Especially not every one of *my* conservative friends. But "millions of followers who believe everything they say" isn't inaccurate. At all. (Wikipedia says he has 13.5 million listeners...not sure if that's pefectly accurate, but it's a snapshot).

Leanne said...

Amy - my theme seems to have been "forward, not back" and "progression, not regression" for the past couple months. I say it over and over and over.

I agree with your comments. I wonder where I should draw my own personal boundaries. To not be informed isn't an option for me, either, but I also need to make sure I only give the negative the attention it deserves, in order to not take away my happiness, you know? It's a very complicated issue for me...

Amy I. said...

I agree- I like your theme! I used to listen to the BBC all the time- I still thinks it's a good source of news, but I found it's not helpful to get discouraged on a daily basis. Oh- speaking of Rush Limbaugh, I got excited when I saw a headline that stating he was going to leave the country if health care reform passes. Then I read the article and found out that he'd just leave when he needed health care (Costa Rica, which has universal health care, oddly enough.)

I don't want to lump all conservatives into one category either, but a majority of the conservatives that I talk to support Sarah Palin. I'd be interested to talk to the ones who don't.


Julie said...

Brain's a tad foggy at the moment so excuse this comment in advance for not doing justice to your thought provoking post. :)

I do think for many people that their political and spiritual views align. People are so passionate about both but typically define themselves by their core values (which is often, but not always tied to religious beliefs)- it's why the separation of church and state is so challenging. I would say yes, that mine do align. The world isn't black and white and neither are my political standings.

I think people in both parties feel like they're doing the "right thing". Some conservatives that I know are fiscally conservative and others feel they are following Biblical principles by the way they vote. They may not be avid Sarah Palin/Rush followers but on some hot-button issues, they don't agree with the liberal party and for that reason, wouldn't vote Democratic. Likewise, like yourself, there are liberals who feel they are following their values or Biblical principles by voting the way they do and couldn't imagine voting Republican. Are either wrong? I don't know. I maintain we need both. :)

But, we could use a lot less of people preying (bullies) on others insecurites and fears! Rush and Glenn get paid LOADS of money for their "views" and I think people should always remember that.

Leanne said...

Anon - you are welcome to leave your comment again with your name. I'll even respond to it if you do.

Amanda Kay said...

I am a conservative due to my religious views.
I have been mulling this post over all day. I have discussed it with one of my sisters, and had my husband read it as well. I have plenty to say in defense, but I can't bring myself to state it for fear of offending anyone, especially you because you have such a respectful way of saying things!! Thanks for getting my political mind going though!

Leanne said...

Amanda - that's perfectly okay. I can respect that.

It will never cease to baffle me how complicated religion is. We're both Christian women. We both believe that Jesus died for our sins.

And yet...

I am *liberal* because of my religious beliefs. I believe that Jesus was the ultimate liberal, taking care of ALL people, ALL the time. I don't draw a lot of lines in the sand on a lot of issues, because I believe that the world isn't black and white.

This is why people will always facinate me!

Thank you so much for commenting. It means a lot to me, even if we have differing opinions!