On Respect and Ignorance

I was watching one of my favorite shows, World News with Diane Sawyer, and there was a segment about a protest group from a church that was going around doing their protest dance.  Apparently, the group had been to military funerals and other places where they chanted and held picket signs that said things like “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “God Hates Obama,” and “The Anti-Christ” with a picture of Obama’s big lovely face on it.  You can read about the jolly group here.
Before I dive directly into my feelings about the happenings, let me give you a little background on my encounters with Sir Bearer of the Best News, Death.  When I was 10 years old, my grandmother died and she had always been an essential presence in my life.  There probably was some favoritism in our relationship because I was her first grandchild, but still.  She made me feel like I could do no wrong and I was the most important person in her life.  That was the first time I’d personally experienced the grief of a death and when I tell you that dealing with the situation over the years has been harder than you could ever imagine, please understand.  In summary, I am very sensitive about the topic of death…as I am about many things.
When someone dies, especially when you don’t know the person, I feel that you have to be extremely thoughtful and sensitive when dealing with the topic.  Whether you are comforting a friend or simply walking past a funeral, you just have to be most considerate.  You don’t know how meaningful that person’s life was even in relation to your own, and life itself is precious.  If you didn’t believe so, you wouldn’t allow yourself to live to read this right now.  How people can protest at such a special commemoration is far beyond me.  What gives you the right to chant your beliefs and completely disrespect a final gathering in honor of a complete stranger’s life?  The first amendment is likely to be a part of the group’s defense, but they could always fall back on their immeasurable stock of arrogance.  If we are idolizing Christ and trying to be Christ-like here, shouldn’t we be selfless and most understanding?  Why are we instead demeaning someone’s life and what she or he chose to dedicate her or his life to?  And even to live somewhat harmoniously in our world, shouldn’t we spend more time accommodating and less time attacking foreign beliefs and something as precious as life?  And who made this group and all of their comrades in accordance the committee of declaring who is Christ-like?  I was in utter shock when I watched the segment.  I felt like it was a ridiculous thing to show on the news, but I realized that the real ridiculous thing is the occurrence itself.
I feel that being this ignorant and close-minded is comparable to walking through life blindfolded and wearing sound-proof headphones.  And if this particular incident seems irrelevant, we must all remember that intelligence will only take us so far.  The global problems of today’s world stem from ignorance and we are all at risk of becoming ignorant in some way because we all have opinions.  It is important to recognize right from wrong, but possibly even more important to be familiar with other views and learn to settle into a common ground that will satisfy us all.



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