In today’s social media-driven world, there seems to be someone ready to care about just about anything coming down the pike. In my 40 years, I don’t remember a time when people were more polarized about issues that mattered less.
It must have been nice to live in an age when important issues were the main source of concern.
Imagine if there had been Facebook in 79 A.D.
“These idiots in Pompeii will just not listen to my warnings. I’m leaving town before this volcano blows”
“When will this guy stop yacking about Mt. Vesuvius? That mountain has been quiet for ages. Stop all the alarmism”
Actually, thinking about the world at this moment, there is plenty to be alarmed about. A psychotic group of religious extremists is running rampant in the Middle East, executing people left and right. Entire countries are going bankrupt. Mind-altering medications are causing a plague of mass killings in our own country.
There really is a lot to be concerned about. I don’t know that any of it rises to a population-destroying event such as the eruption of Vesuvius, but all of it is valid concern.
Yet, every day I am bombarded with what seem to me to be topics not worthy of serious mental energy. I am almost embarrassed at what have become the “hot-button” issues of the day.
I have identified four topics that are all equally meaningless to me. Hopefully I can find someone to offend or shock with at least one of these.
Where flags can and can’t fly
Let me qualify this one early. I do care when some homeowner’s association won’t let a homeowner fly the American flag (or any flag) in their own yard. I care enough to tell them to make a smarter choice next time they buy a home. Besides that, I am stunned at the attention this flag garbage is getting pretty much everywhere.
Let me start with the Confederate Battle Flag. When I was 18, my car had Confederate flag centerpieces on its bullet-hole rims. It was sharp. I grew up watching the Dukes of Hazzard, listening to Hank Jr, and respecting the “Rebel Flag” as if it was a part of the family.
I also grew up ashamed of bigotry in my family, slavery in my country’s past, and discrimination anywhere I saw it.
I personally don’t think that particular banner has any place flying on government grounds, but not because it is supposedly “racist.” It doesn’t have any place on government grounds because it is no longer affiliated with any active government.
That said, the outright banning of the flag in other places or events is silly. This sudden movement to remove all traces of our past is not only dumb it is also dangerous. People who look to that flag as a reminder of the importance of keeping a strong federal government at bay need to be able to do so. People who see it as a symbol of past repression and are fearful of it need to look to it for the inspiration to make sure they are always in control of their own fate.
Hiding the flag from public view takes away both of those important opportunities. It does not change the past, but it can keep us from learning from our mistakes.
It is not just that flag causing a stir though. A small town near where I live has recently gotten into a row over whether or not the Christian flag should be flown at City Hall.
At City Hall. Really?
I don’t care if your town was founded by the Apostle Paul. Do you realize that flying the flag of a specific religion at a government building is not only an unconstitutional endorsement of religion, it is also a form of exclusion and intimidation that Christianity teaches against?!?
Maybe that is not clear to the people of that town. It wasn’t clear to me until I lived and served with people of many other religious backgrounds. Maybe there are no Jews in your town. But maybe there are. Do you expect them to speak up and identify themselves in a town where police cars park under that flag?
Religious witness is not about flying a flag at City Hall. It is about guiding the lost to your belief, or at least that is what I have been told. I don’t see how a flag at City Hall gets that job done. Handing a small flag to a neighbor while speaking to them about salvation, however, is probably pretty successful.
The craziest part is that most of the people up in arms about this are all-in on the fight against government-by-religion in other countries and are willing to send young men and women to die to put a stop to it.
I wonder how many cities Jesus hung flags in on his way out of town…
Who bakes what cake
So you don’t want to bake a cake for a gay wedding? I don’t care at all. I can choose not to hire you to bake a cake if I am offended. Your decision can make you the most popular bakery in town, or it might cause you to lose all of your business. The market should decide that. The government has no place compelling you to do business with anyone.
Now, if you work in a government office or your business is funded by taxpayers, then your refusal to do business with people for religious reasons is unfortunate and wrong. You need to be fired or lose government funding. That, and you are a douche.
Who marries who
If I could just get one person, even one, to tell me how my sister (who died three days prior to getting married) marrying a woman would have harmed their own personal marriage or life, I would consider it a great enlightening.
I always get a chuckle when I see people expressing how my sister marrying a woman would be such an abomination to a particular religion, but they never mention they are on heterosexual marriage number three.
I don’t care what religion you are. I respect them all. But please, for the love of Pete, don’t pick and choose what is a sin and what is ok. That ain’t your call pal. Most religions see all sin as equal.
So, if you are totally sin free, I welcome you to let me know so that I can listen to your commentary on my precious, late sister’s personal relationships and how it matters in your life. Otherwise, why can’t we all worry about making our own marriage better and stop focusing on what other people are doing?
The price of eggs in China
While we are talking about things that are useless, we might as well include this one. I certainly don’t care. Most likely you don’t either. Why would you?
Who has time to worry over the price of eggs in China when there are much more important topics to get all spun up about?
I guess it is possible that the price goes up one cent for every Rebel flag at a NASCAR race. Maybe it goes up two cents for every gay marriage. It probably doubles every time a “normal” married couple has an affair, but that’s none of my business.
In fact, none of it is any of my business. And that’s just the way I like it.
Comments welcome and appreciated.