Fight the good fight: A continuation of Part 1 depicting the anti-Christian agenda prevalent at college.
At the end of the class, the instructors were saying that we must not merely tolerate the beliefs and “identities” of others, but we must accept them.
“Tolerate is like something you do for a crying baby on a plane. You don’t like it, but you put up with it because you have too,” defined Ms. Smith. She was saying that tolerance isn’t very nice, and we should go beyond that, accepting others’ beliefs. In other words, we have to like their beliefs, and we have to agree that their identities are morally equal to what we believe is right.
The wrongness of this pressed down on me so much that I again felt I had to speak.
“So then…you are saying that there are no wrong beliefs? That no identity is better than another one?” I asked.
Ms. Smith affirmed this.
“So you don’t think there is any ultimate right or wrong? You don’t think that there are some beliefs or practices that are always wrong no matter who you are? There aren’t things we can say are alwayswrong?” I further questioned.
“No, I couldn’t say some things are always wrong. Some things may go against what I believe, or my personal identities, but I couldn’t say that they are wrong.” Ms. Smith explained.
“So…” I paused, wondering if I really wanted to go down this road. “Say I am sexually oriented toward children. Would you say Pedophilia isn’t wrong?”
The room was shocked again. The other students must have thought my hypothetical statement was actually a true description of myself. The pan sexual girl scoffed and rolled her eyes, then asked Ms. Johnson if she could leave (I don’t know why she felt she had to ask permission), but permission was granted and she left. I think she must have been the only one who understood where I was going with my hypothetical statement, and that offended her.
I continued to watch Ms. Smith; however, as I could tell she was trying to choose her words carefully. I expected her to say I would be wrong for such a behavior, but anticipated that she would still find some way to also affirm that right and wrong are relative.
“That would be against my identity. I wouldn’t do that, it would be wrong for me, but I couldn’t say you are wrong for being that way,” she finally said.
Now I was shocked, and I felt myself starting to get angry even. I did not believe she would actually deny that I was wrong. “Please tell me I’m wrong!” I thought to myself. I found it hard to keep my voice steady as leaned forward in my seat and spoke again.
“See…I would say it’s always, ALWAYS, wrong for someone to force themself on a child like that. That is always wrong.” I was almost shaking as I said those words. I still couldn’t believe she would actually say such a thing.
Now it was Ms. Johnson’s turn to speak up, an annoyed look on her face. “But Pedophilia is illegal. You can’t have an identity that is illegal and that still be okay.”
I leaned back, trying to collect myself. “But laws change over time,” I replied. “Laws don’t make something ultimately right or wrong.” Then I had the idea to play a card from their own hand. “For example, in some countries, homosexuality is illegal. Does that mean homosexually is wrong?”
That seemed to stump the instructors. Ms. Smith started to speak, but then paused and turned to the class. “Well…what do you guys think?” she asked, trying to get input from my peers. The non-practicing Catholic spoke up, a confused look on his face.
“I don’t see what this has to do with the topic.” Several others agreed with him. I wanted to laugh. Could they really not connect the dots? Or was I just doing that bad of a job at explaining myself?
“I’m just saying that I don’t think we have to accept everyone’s beliefs or identities. I think it’s possible to believe that someone is wrong, and still love them.”
I immediately regretted using the word “love” since that is Christianese and they likely wouldn’t understand what I exactly meant, but no one seemed to pay attention to what I said anyway.
“But who are you to say someone is wrong?” Ms. Smith said. I mentally thought to myself, “Oh, boy,” as I realized now we were on the cusp of debating the existence of God, and I knew that was a road I didn’t want to go down with this crowd, or no one would take me seriously. Belief in God had been reduced to a personal identity that makes me happy, not truth. Besides, I didn’t want to try to make a case for that. I realized then the importance of picking your battles, and moral relativism seemed like an easier battle to win.
“So you really don’t think it’s wrong to sexually abuse children?” I said. More debate ensued, and Ms. Smith and I continued to go back and forth. She kept making vague aversions to my questions, but eventually I got her to say: “Well…okay, maybe not ALL identities are acceptable, but pedophilia isn’t really relevant. It’s illegal.”
“Yes, but laws can change,” I had to say again. “What if pedophilia were made legal, then would it be okay?” We were starting to go in a circle. Then I made the mistake of saying that the APA (American Psychological Association) had changed pedophilia from a disorder to a sexual orientation, and Ms. Johnson adamantly told me I was wrong, and that got us off track for a bit.
Ms. Smith was really having a hard time deciding what to say, and once again she turned to the class for help. “What do you all think?”
Again, the non-Catholic came to her aid.
“I still don’t understand what this has to do with what we were talking about,” he said, turning around in his seat to give me a look that said, “Who are you, weirdo, and why would you talk about this kind of stuff?” I sympathized with him. A voice in my own head was thinking the same thing. My own words were making me feel very uncomfortable. I was also annoyed I was doing such a poor job of helping people understand the consequences of what the class was teaching.
Then it occurred to me then that maybe my example wasn’t hitting close enough to home. I needed to use an example that was a current issue, and then explain how that is always wrong, thus disproving their argument that we have to accept all beliefs and identities and or we’re bad people.
The first thing that popped into my head was homosexuality, but that was clearly off the table. So then I thought of religions. Surely there are some religions I can argue against, like radical Islam for example. Radical Islam claims that women are less than men, and they will even execute homosexuals.
“Well, okay,” I relented, “But I think we can say that even some relevant identities are wrong.”
“Like what?” Ms. Johnson asked. The look on her face told me that she was confident I couldn’t give an example, and I was aware of the thin ice I was treading on. I had to watch what I said, or I would be immediately labeled a bigot, or worse, sentenced to sensitivity classes.
“Like some religions,” I answered. This statement caused the biggest shock of all. Ms. Johnson’s eyes just about bugged right out of her face. It was one of the most condemning looks anyone has ever given me. I’ll never forget it. And it was after that look that my plan to use Islam as an example now had to be thrown out the window. I felt the whole room waiting to pounce on me if I said the “wrong” thing. So I quickly switched my example to something people would be more comfortable with.
“Like the Aztec religion, for example. They thought it was okay to kill people as a sacrifice. Don’t you think we can say religions that don’t kill people are superior to those that do?”
The tension drained out of the room, and Ms. Smith was again forced to consent that killing people isn’t right. Ms. Johnson still thought I was being silly though.
“But you can’t just have an identity that involves killing people. That’s illegal.” I internally groaned, and realized I wasn’t getting anywhere. In hindsight, I wish I had said,
“Well it wasn’t illegal for the Aztecs!” But it’s probably just as well I didn’t. The conversation had already made the class go over time, and I wasn’t making much ground anyway.
So instead, I simply reiterated that laws change, but I still think that there are things we can say are always wrong, and that we don’t have to accept any and allbeliefs and identities as morally equal to one another. I could sense the displeasure in the room from the other students who were irritated that the class went longer than it was supposed to. Of course, no one would have stopped them if they left (which gets back to my post about how the school system trains students to be mindlessly compliant. They had become like the elephant tied to a tree by a mere string. There are a lot of analogies involving elephants…)
I really needed to get going myself, so I decided to end the discussion by apologizing, and saying I didn’t mean to make a big deal about it, which was true. I didn’t expect to be debating an entire room by myself when I opened my mouth.
Ms. Smith was quick to say I didn’t need to apologize, and it was good that we could have such a discussion.
“I mean, where else would you have such a discussion?” Ms. Smith asked earnestly and rhetorically.
“On the internet!” I promptly exclaimed, trying to diffuse what was left of the tension in the room. Thankfully, I got the whole class to laugh at that, and the mood in the room was tangibly lighter. Even Ms. Johnson seemed to have let down her guard, and joined Ms. Smith in assuring me that I was accepted. I wanted to smirk and say something sarcastic to their empty pacifying, but I remained silent. The class ended, and I left.
I walked out of the building with the conservative Hindu, and as we stepped out into the cold November air, he swore under his breath.
“That is no place for a conservative,” he said.
“No, it is not,” I said with a chuckle. We bid farewell, and he walked across the street to his dorm, while I headed in a different direction to go study, finding it very sad that he never came to my aid in the discussion. Apparently, the public school system has done such a good job at promoting liberalism and vilifying conservatism, that even when a fellow conservative is arguing for what you believe, you still cannot find the will to also speak up, so great is the negative backlash, and loss of reputation.
College is no place for a conservative, true, but college is definitely a place for the Christian. I shudder to think how much more twisted our society will become if ideas like the ones promoted in that diversity class are left to go unchecked. Hopefully my rather sloppy attempt did some good. Again, the irony hit me that the only beliefs not accepted by the instructors were the beliefs that went contradictory to their own. Apparently everyone is right…except for those who disagree with them.
Later that day, I googled articles on the APA and pedophilia. I remembered reading an article about how the definition had recently been changed, and I was sure I was right. However, in my search I discovered that it had been a mistake, and the APA was changing pedophilia back to a disorder.
I ended up sending an email to both of the ladies who led the group, telling Ms. Johnson that she had been right, and thanking them both for tolerating me. Only Ms. Smith replied, and here is what she said:
Thank you for sending. Our session is one in which we strive to have open discussion with opportunity to engage and learn. It is my hope that we accomplished these goals for all in attendance yesterday. As [Ms. Johnson] said during our discussion, we did not “tolerate” your input, we welcomed it! J
I wish you all the best in your academic and social endeavors at [University State] and beyond.
I’ll let the reader decide if these words coincide with how my beliefs were actually treated during the discussion.