I believe my 4 brothers and I had one of the wisest, most amazing mothers around. To this day I marvel at the lessons she taught us - by example, not by preaching - and the values and beliefs she instilled in us as a result.
One thing she always, always emphasized was the importance of flexibility. Whenever one of us kids would become too rigid or dogmatic about something, it was like a giant red flag for her. She would quietly remind us that a tree that does not bend inevitably snaps in the wind. Although that could be annoying in the heat of those moments past, the lesson stuck with most of us. The result has been a marvelous resiliency and an ability to remain open to new ideas. We grew up un-ensnared by rigid dogma, but with a healthy sense of curiosity. And our desire to learn was never stunted. Somehow this approach only served to make us more committed to our beliefs because we arrived at them not at the end of a belt, but by exploring, questioning, pondering and sometimes agonizing, but ultimately believing in whatever issue it was we were grappling with because we arrived at it the hard way.
Now she was not advocating mushiness or never taking a strong stand on something we truly believed in, she simply was telling us that we should always allow for another point of view since issues are rarely black and white. By taking this approach, she gave us permission to change our minds on something and even to admit when we were wrong.
I think this may be one of the reasons I detest the Dobson, Robertson, Falwell crowd so much. They in essence teach their firebrand version of religion at the end of a belt (figuratively speaking). For them everything is black and white. And the result is that many of their followers (not all) are so in-your-face and I’m-right-you’re wrong”, that I immediately recoil and look for an escape route. It is also why I have found their growing influence with this administration so frightening.
I have comforted myself through these past 5 ½ years with the knowledge I learned from the lessons my mother taught us. I keep telling myself that eventually something is going to snap. Black and white does not work in a world of grays. These people are too rigid and eventually they will snap like the tree my mother always told us about.
All of this leads me to Mel Gibson, Religious Right hero and rigid dogmatic Catholic who seems to be proving my mother’s point as we speak:
A blitzed Mel Gibson launched into an obscenity-laced tirade when he was busted on suspicion of drunken driving early yesterday, threatening an officer and making anti-Semitic and sexually abusive remarks, according to a police report.
The article goes on to say:
According to the incident report obtained by TMZ.com, the Road Warrior embarked on a belligerent, anti-Semitic outburst when he realized he had been busted.
"F-----g Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," Mee's report quotes him as saying.
"Are you a Jew?" Gibson asked the deputy, according to the report.
The actor also berated the deputy, threatening, "You motherf----r. I'm going to f--- you," according to Mee's report.
The actor also told the cop he "owns
" and would spend all his money "to get even with me," Mee said in his report. Malibu
Read the whole article. This sounds like a man who has snapped. And then remind me again why I should believe the Dobsons, Robertsons, and Falwells when they tell me my son is evil.
Hat tip to Andrew